Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has written an annual letter to shareholders in which he had mentioned a couple who had bought two shares of Amazon in 1997 and got a huge growth in value in 24 years but they have no plans to use the proceeds to buy a house.
Bezos in the annual letter said, ”Along the way, we’ve created $1.6 trillion of wealth for shareowners. Who are they? Your Chair is one, and my Amazon shares have made me wealthy. But more than 7/8ths of the shares, representing $1.4 trillion of wealth creation, is owned by others. Who are they? They’re pension funds, universities, and 401(k)s, and they’re Mary and Larry, who sent me this note out of the blue just as I was sitting down to write this shareholder letter”.
Full text of the letter that the couple shared:
Dear Mr. Bezos,
Thanks for making Amazon a great company! We thought you would like to know how it has benefitted our family.
Back in 1997 when you made Amazon public, our son, Ryan, was 12 years old and a voracious reader. For his birthday, 1997, we bought two shares of your new book selling company, which was all we could afford at the time. Within a year or so, the shares split 2 for 1, then 3 for 1, then 2 for 2 again, giving him 24 shares. The shares were in our name because of his age. We meant to put it in custody for him but we never got around to it but he knew they were for him.
Several times over the years, Ryan would want to cash in the stock but we always said we would ‘buy’ it from him and then eventually turn around and give it back to him as a ‘gift’. It was kind of a running joke in the family.
Due to the exponential growth in value, we decided to split the stock between ourselves and both of our children, Ryan and Katy.
This year Ryan is buying a house and would like to sell some shares. After searching for the original certificates, we needed to convert the paper shares into digital before selling them. We noticed that the first share certificate was a very low number. I can’t image how many more shares have been issued since that date!
Included is a copy of the certificate of Amazon on 1997 – 24 years ago. These two shares have had a wonderful influence on our family. We all enjoyed watching Amazon value grow year after year and it’s a story we love to tell others.
Congratulations on a great career as CEO of Amazon. We cant even imagine how hard you and your team have worked to make Amazon the most successful and inventive company on the planet. Now may you have the time to relax and catch up on things you want to do, like space exploration!
We cannot wait to see where Amazon delivers next! Next day to Mars!
Mary and Larry
P.S. We wished we had bought 10 shares!