IN 1988, David Shaw started D. E. Shaw & Co., one of the first global investment management firms that used computers extensively. The company now has 1,100 employees and manages $30 billion.
One of his earliest employees did even better.
Jeff Bezos left the company at age 30 in 1994. The next year, Bezos launched Amazon.com, the online retailing behemoth that now has 97,000 employees and annual revenues of $61 billion.
This Wal-Mart of the Internet sells just about everything.
The company benefits from using warehouses and direct shipping, reducing its overhead both in bricks and mortar as well as the number of employees needed.
Customers can choose between price and convenience but governments in the 46 states that charge a general sales tax exaggerate that difference.
By not having to collect that sales tax, Amazon's price advantage grew by 6 percent in West Virginia over local retailers who must charge the tax.
That is because 21 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot compel retailers to collect this tax if the company does not have a physical presence in that state.