Super Cities №121 - Amazon, Ownership, and B-School Fails

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

Amazon is the giant that is only getting stronger

Profits rose 12-fold from a year earlier, while second-quarter revenue climbed 39 percent to $52.9 billion.

Hart’s Comment

After twenty years, Amazon is on its way to becoming a trillion dollar company. Its story is a lesson in the simple-yet-revolutionary power of ownership.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, owns nearly 79 million shares. This ownership position puts his net worth north of $145 billion.

(The second-largest shareholder, a key executive, owns 88,000 shares.)

More than wealth, though, Bezos’s ownership position allows him to methodically, painstakingly build a long-term company. Ownership enables control.

The wealthiest people in the world are owners. These people own assets — companies, stocks, buildings, homes, etc. — that grow in value over time.

It is nearly impossible to become wealthy without owning valuable assets. Salaries, even large ones, don’t make people wealthy.

Although ownership is profoundly important, business schools don’t really teach it. They have some entrepreneurship courses, sure, but those center around “starting,” not owning, a business.

More broadly, business education exists for salaried managers. These workers generate value for organizations that are owned by other people.

Sustainable capitalism requires ownership. We need more owners to spread that message and reinforce its importance.

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