Bezos versus P.T. Barnum
First, I have tremendous respect for Bezos as a game changer and use Amazon reguarly. However, I have tried dozens of ways to figure out how people value this company. I know-company is investing in new technology and market share and can turn a profit whenever it chooses to do so. This is the 11th largest retailer in the world and hasn't made a dime in nearly 2 years. For the five years prior to 2009, it underperformed the S&P500. Since then, the market "found" the company and it has skyrocketed 700% with little to no profits .
Regarding investing in innovation and future techology, Google is no less innovative investing billions in new technology and it is been very profitable. Over ten years, your investment would have done MUCH better in GOOG. Henry Ford was no less a game changer then Bezos but made money. An industrial company, Middleby Corp, has invested in 3-4 aquisitions/yr for a decade and has numberous innovative (but boring) products and has increased earnings regularly (and outperformed both Google and Amazon).
The other issue I have is that Amazon will only tell you what Bezos wants you to know. Know how many Kindle Fires they sell? Apple will tell you how many Ipads they sell, so what's so secret about Kindles? When was the last time Bezos presented at an analysts meeting or was on CNBC? This is a publicly traded company which acts like a privately held company.
P. T Barnum would be proud of the drone story. $50M of free advertising at Christmas-awesome- particularly since Dominoes Pizza came out with exactly the same thing months earlier.
I respect the fact that many very bright investors have made money in Amazon. However, I obviously have a difficult time investing in a secretive company that refuses to make money.