In May 1997, Amazon went public with a stock price of $18 per share. Weeks earlier, the fledgling online retailer issued its prospectus detailing its financial performance, which showed sales of $15.8 million and a loss of $5.8 million in 1996, its first full year in business. The company said it planned to offer “attractive discounts” to draw customers, and that its goal was to become “the leading online retailer of information-based products and services.”

Mission accomplished.