Monday, June 23, 2014


Link to article:
At 20 Amazon is bulking up. It is not—yet—slowing down

HIGH-TECH creation myths are expected to start with a garage. Amazon, impatient with ordinary from the outset, began with a road trip. In the summer of 1994 Jeff Bezos quit his job on Wall Street, flew to Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife MacKenzie and hired a car. While MacKenzie drove them towards the Pacific Northwest, Jeff sketched out a plan to set up a catalogue retailing business that would exploit the infant internet. The garage came later, in a suburb of Seattle, where he set up an office furnished with desks made from wooden doors. About a year later, Amazon sold its first book.

The world saw a website selling books and assumed that Amazon was, and always would be, an online bookshop. Mr Bezos, though, had bigger plans. Books were a good way into online retailing: once people learned to buy books online they would buy more and more other stuff, too. The website would be able to capture much more data about what they looked at and thus might want than any normal shop; if they reviewed things, that would enrich the experience for other shoppers. He saw a virtuous circle whereby low prices pulled in customers and merchants, which boosted volumes, which led to ever lower prices—a “flywheel” that would generate growth for as long as the company put the interests of the customers first. Early on, Mr Bezos registered “” as a possible name; if it was a little lacking in touchy-feeliness, it captured the ambition nicely.

Related book: The Everything Store (Kindle, Audio CD)