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A look back on Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com in 1999

December 27, 2017 A look back on Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com in 1999

I’m taking some time off this week to celebrate Christmas and the end of the year with my family. As I write this I just finished watching my favorite version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carole - Scrooged. In Scrooged, it is Bill Murray playing the part of a modern day Mr. Scrooge who is shown the errors of his ways with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

This week, in the spirit of the ghost of Christmas past, I thought it’d be fun to share a 60 Minutes interview from 1999 which features Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com. This interview provides a unique glimpse into what it was like for Amazon.com at that moment in time.

At the time the interview takes place, Amazon.com had a $30 billion market cap, 5 warehouses globally and over $600 million in annual sales. And Jeff Bezos’s personal worth alone was estimated between $9-10 billion.

Despite this success, Jeff Bezos was still driving an older Honda because it is a “perfectly good car”. And his office desk is made out of a door and 4x4s.

A few other other interesting observations:

  • Jeff Bezos had several outfits hanging in his office as if he regularly stayed there
  • Jeff Bezos has an incredible laugh (which is featured prominently in this video)
  • Amazon’s personal recommendations feature is showcased and deemed a form of “computer wizardry”

Here is the video for you to watch:

I hope you enjoy it.

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