11 Interesting Facts About Amazon and Its Off-beat CEO Jeff Bezos That You Probably Never Heard Of!
22 years back, on July 5, Jeff Bezos laid the foundation stone of a small enterprise which he, after a few rigorous trials and pensive thoughts process, named Amazon. An online book selling company in the first place, Amazon steadily went on to become the largest internet-based retailing sector in the world.
Internet For All!
Early 90’s saw a revolution in the way we communicate each other. A computer that was just a calculating and a manipulating device was successfully connected to others computers across the street through a service called World Wide Web (www) or simply Internet.
On 6 August 1991, Internet became publicly available. So you might be thinking where is the Amazon in the picture?
1. Time To Go Online!
Amazon is a result of an insightful prediction of the future of internet connectivity. The company presumed that the number of people getting acquainted with the internet services will rise in near future. It’s where Amazon, in 1994, kick-started its business through an online bookstore called Amazon.com.
Amazon slowly grounded its roots into other internet related services also. In 1998, it acquired the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), and this was just the beginning. On August 5, 1998, Amazon announced its future plans, a vision to go beyond books.
2. Standing Against The Giant!
Amazon’s business gave a tough competition to local booksellers and importantly to Barnes and Noble, the book giants of that time. Rumours are that Amazon even hired mobile billboards that displayed a message asking ‘Can’t find that book you wanted?’ along with Amazon’s website address and deliberately drove it by Barnes & Noble stores.
(Psst: Barnes and Noble sued Amazon for its 1990’s claim of being “Earth’s biggest bookstore”. According to Barnes and Noble, Amazon was never a bookstore at all. It’s just a pure book broker. The Amazon, however, settled the matter out of the court and later on continued to make the same claim)
However intense their rivalries are I believe Amazon still might have a soft corner for Barnes and Noble for a reason that in its initial times, Jeff Bezos and his colleagues held meetings inside local Barnes & Noble store.
3. Renamed And Redirected!
Jeff Bezos initially thought to name the company as “Cadabra”, just like “Abracadabra”. But, on a funny note, the idea was dissolved in a year.
What next? In September 1994, Jeff Bezos bought a URL called Relentless.com and was almost ready to use it. However, on a suggestive disagreement of a friend, he discarded the idea and adopted the name Amazon.com which went online in 1995.
Even today when you open the domain Relentless.com you get redirected to Amazon.com.
4. Magnificent Like A River!
Bezos decision to settle down on the name Amazon was attributed to two main reasons. First, he envisioned his venture as great in scale as like Amazon river, so why not the name Amazon.
Another reason lies in the first letter of the name. He wanted to have a name that begins with letter ‘A’ because that was the time when website listings were in alphabetical order.
5. Apple, Google, Amazon and a Garage!
The first product that was sold from Amazon.com, that came out straightaway from a garage, was a book called Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter in July 1995.
6. Hey, John! You’ve Gone Viral!
Somebody once made an inquiry on Quora about the first product ever sold through Amazon.com. An Amazon employee replied with the name of a book. Interestingly, the picture above was posted on Quora by the purchaser of Book named John Wainwright from California as a proof of purchase. He received a link of Quora from his friend who heard the rumours of Wainwright being the first customer of Amazon. After confirming it, he had forwarded the link to Wainwright.
7. Ringing Bells!
According to Brad stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, There was a bell inside Amazon’s office which somebody would ring every time a purchase was made. But the ritual was stopped within weeks for obvious reasons.
8. An Unconventional Path To Success!
Though the efforts of ascendancy began in 1995, it was only in later half of 2001, almost 6 years later, that Amazon made some real profit. A modest sum of 5 million dollars.
Even though the profit was modest, Bezos unconventional working style proved one thing very clearly, that he is upto something truly great. To honour his innovative business strategies and his efforts in making online shopping a routine thing, Time magazine in 1999 featured him as the Person of the Year.
9. Jeff Bezos, At Your Service!
One of many unusual facts about Amazon is that every Amazon employee works on customer service desk for a period of two days every two years. And to everyone’s astonishment even Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is not an exception to this rule.
10. Time is Money. Period!
One of the critical moments in the history of Amazon was in 2012 when its site went down for an unsettling 49 minutes. During this period Amazon witnessed a groundbreaking loss of almost 5.7 million dollars.
11. “Work Hard, Have Fun and Make History”
Amazon sprouted as a small online bookstore and now is one of the leading e-commerce giants in the world. Bezos entered into the online selling business at a time when the internet usage was uncertain. From founding to making Amazon the most valuable brand in the world, Jeff Bezos has always been an offbeat CEO. It was his dream to make Amazon the biggest online retailer in the world. It was his vision to take Amazon on top of the world. And so it is Jeff Bezos, much like Steve Jobs, the face of Apple, standing tall behind Amazon’s uniqueness.
There are a bunch of online retailers available out there, but it is Amazon that ranks high in terms of customer satisfaction. Amazon’s personalized shopping experience gets better and better over time. It is said that Amazon gets to know what you’re looking for even before you actually begin your search. Amazon has many patents filed for its diversified e-commerce portal.
With over 15 separate retail websites for countries such as USA, UK, Japan etc, Amazon sells and delivers almost everything at your doorstep including their flagship products like Amazon Kindle, Amazon fire and Echo. Amazon is also world’s largest cloud infrastructure service provider and has recently surpassed Wal-Mart as the most valuable retailer in the USA. So undoubtedly, Amazon has created history.