What would you do if you discovered that a specific industry is booming? “This is the kind of information I run into everyday,” you might think.
When 30-year-old Jeff Bezos was browsing the Internet, he came across similar information. It was 1994, when the internet was still a baby… growing at a rate of 2,300% a year. For Bezos, this was not a piece of information he could pass on. So, he started looking for ways to take advantage of the boom. He knew he needed to start an online business that would bring huge value to customers, but had no idea what it would be. So he made a list of the top 20 products ordered by mail at the time, thinking of selling them online. Ironically, the initial product he ended up selling online was not even on the list.
During his research, he realized that there were very few mail orders for book catalogs. Any good catalog could have millions of listings, making it too big and too expensive to mail. With the Internet though, Bezos could solve this problem. So, he decided to quit his job as VP of a Wall-Street firm and started learning everything about books. In 1995, Amazon Inc. opened for business as an online bookstore with 1 million books in its catalog.
Today, Bezos is still CEO of Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer of books, electronics, apparel, food, and more. With revenue reaching $136 billion in 2016 and the major acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, Amazon seems unstoppable, and Bezos likely hasn’t shown us all he’s got in store yet *wink*.
- In 1994, Bezos called his parents to tell them he decided to quit his job and sell books on the internet. His dad answered “The Internet? What’s that?”.
- During the first 30 days, Amazon sold books in all 50 states in the US and 45 other countries, without any press.
- “Person of the Year – Jeffrey P. Bezos”. Time. December 27, 1999. Archived from the original on April 8, 2000.
- 2016 revenue numbers: SEC Form 10-K.
- GeekWire, February 2, 2017.
© Story by Tarek Issa.