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25 AUGUST 2020
Why Jeff Bezos sold $3 billion in Amazon stock

by Jeff Haden: Bestselling non-fiction ghostwriter, speaker and columnist for Inc.com.


According to SEC filings, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sold $3.1 billion worth of Amazon shares last week. So far this year, his cash out totals $7.2 billion.

That's a lot of money, but keep in mind Bezos still owns approximately 54 million shares of Amazon stock and his remaining stake in the company is still worth over $170 billion.

While it sounds like Bezos could be getting out while the getting is good - after all, Amazon stock is up over 70 percent for the year, and the House Antitrust Subcommittee continues to ponder whether behemoths like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are, for want of a better way to put it, too big for our own good - that's unlikely.

For one thing, Bezos's stock sales are part of a 10b5-1 trading plan, a calendar-triggered automated sale. Setting up a 10b5-1 plan means you commit ahead of time to selling a certain number of shares on a certain date, eliminating the possibility of a company insider trading on non-public information.

Since his 10b5-1 plan was set up months ago, Bezos had no way of knowing what Amazon's stock price would be last week. Fortunately, he sold high.

But he could have easily have sold low. The 10b5-1 trading plan controlled the timing, not Bezos.

And why sell at all? Bezos has said that he needs to sell approximately $1 billion Amazon shares a year to fund Blue Origin, his space exploration company. (Richard Branson is doing the opposite, selling hundreds of millions of dollars in Virgin Galactic shares in order to prop up some of his other travel and tourism businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 panic.)

Bezos says the company's goal is to help bring about a future in which millions are living and working in space. According to Bezos, "Blue Origin... is the most important work I'm doing."

Many products stick, at least for a while. Many services flourish, until they don't. Some ventures take off, but eventually flame out. That's why each of us always needs a "next": A new product, a new service, a new customer or connection.

Even if we're Jeff Bezos.

No matter how successful you are today, always have a "next" in your pipeline.

If your current products or services or ventures continue to thrive, great. Spending a little time on your "next" will result in an even bigger line of products and services and ventures. If your career trajectory continues to climb, great. More connections, skills, and perspectives will only add to the value you provide.

The same applies to career pursuits or even personal pursuits; while you don't have to be a serial entrepreneur, you should strive to be a serial achiever.

That's how successful people weather the storm when times are tough, and become even more successful when business is booming.

And it's also how successful people lead rich, varied, constantly-evolving lives. Which is the best reason of all.
Useful resources:

BlackBird Media
Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry from forklift driver to manager of a 250-employee book plant. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon's bestseller list. Visit our InfoCentre or website.

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