Hours before Amazon's second-quarter earnings call came word that Jeff Bezos had surpassed Bill Gates as the richest person in the world. On Thursday Amazon's stock slipped, in response to the company's second-quarter earnings miss, and Bezos lost his top spot.
Don't feel bad. The Amazon CEO remains fantastically wealthy, of course, and continues to marshal a business that is remaking the world with its operational prowess.
It's tempting to clown on Bezos, but short-term fluctuations in his net worth hardly matter. As long as Amazon continues to be, well, Amazon, Bezos will get his billions back. The day-to-day vagaries of share price are mostly irrelevant to Amazon's long-term success or failure -- as Bezos knows better than anyone.
The surprisingly jacked CEO famously doesn't care what Wall Street thinks, or at least acts like he doesn't. For example, Bezos never joins the earnings calls. It serves as a symbol of his determined customer-first attitude. CFO Brian Olsavsky deals with the beancounters.
However, a statement from Bezos was included the company's press release:
In the last few months, we launched Echo Show (our newest Echo device with a video screen), introduced calling and messaging via Alexa on all Echo devices, debuted Inside Edge on Prime Video (the first of 18 Indian Original Series), introduced Amazon Channels in both the U.K. and Germany, launched four new Fire tablets, expanded Amazon Fresh to Germany, launched Prime Now in Singapore, launched our 25th airplane with Prime Air, hired more than 30,000 new employees, opened three new Amazon Books stores, launched more than 400 significant AWS features and services, migrated more than 7,000 databases using AWS Database Migration Service, and held our third annual Prime Day -- signing up more Prime members than ever before. It's energizing to invent on behalf of customers, and we continue to see many high-quality opportunities to invest.
Some of those initiatives are new, but the philosophy isn't. Amazon's defining modus operandi has always been to re-invest heavily, eschewing paper profits in favor of rapacious growth. Anyone who owns Amazon stock and expects a dividend is in for disappointment.
It's not like the company is struggling to perform -- Pension Partners director of research Charlie Bilello noted that Thursday marked Amazon's eighth straight quarter of revenue growth exceeding 20 percent.
In other words, watch out, Bill Gates. Bezos is playing the long game.