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Updated on October 15, 2011

It was going to be called Cadabra. That is when Jeff Bezos,a VP of a financial firm in 1994, quit his job to pursue an idea about selling on the then new Internet. He and his wife moved from NYC to Seattle to begin over again. Anyone on the Internet then, knew the dominant browser was Netscape and that just a handful of decent websites did exist to buy and sell from. Sending credit card info then was even more notoriously unsafe. Email attachments proved to be a problem.

Jeff rented a small house for $890 with a garage. It had to have a garage, that is where began. It was launched July 16, 1995. Quickly, Jeff realized that more space was needed, so he rented a 1100 sq. ft warehouse. Desks were from doors sitting on wooden horses. Next door was a pawn shop. Amazon was only selling books or book related items and offering 10-30% off the list. In the first few days, Amazon had several dozen orders. Then, the founder of Yahoo asked if Jeff would like to have Yahoo announce and link to his new website, which Yahoo thought was "very cool". Jeff said "sure". Within the next few weeks, it received over $12,000 in orders and taxing the shipping department, which rapidly began to fall behind order fulfillment by 40%. The small amazon staff found itself working until 2-3 a.m trying to fill the orders. By October, Amazon had its first 100 book sales and the first year, there was no advertising except at Barnes & Noble. By 1999, it had over 500 people in its customer service department just answering questions, up until then, Bezos, himself, tried to answer each one. These people were paid $10-13 hr. If you failed to reply to seven inquiries a minute, yo were fired. Many worked 12 hr. daily for 7 days. The most controversial decision was to allow customers post their own reviews on books, whether negative or positive. Most others did not see the benefit. Yet, sales continue to soar.

As they say, the rest is history. Amazon is now a global monster.


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