A new book documenting the history of Amazon’s birth and growth was released earlier this month, and it’s given us a bunch of new information about Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of the company.
Entitled “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” the book touches upon both Bezos’ life and the rise of the online retail giant. While Brad Stone, the book’s author, wasn’t able to conduct extensive interviews with Bezos himself, he had direct access to many of his friends, family, and coworkers.
The resulting book gives numerous anecdotes and stories of Jeff Bezos’ intelligence, drive, and focus on the customer. We’ve heard many of them in one form or another elsewhere, but some were new even to those of us who’ve been following him for some time.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
Bezos' biological father was, at one point, a circus performer. Bezo's mother told him to stay out of their lives when he was four. When Brad Stone interviewed his father, the man had no idea who his son had become.
Bezos has always been a space nerd. In his high-school valedictorian speech, he described 'his dream of saving humanity by creating permanent colonies in orbiting space stations while turning the planet into an enormous nature preserve.'
Right before launching Amazon Web Services, the platform Netflix relies on to distribute video to millions of American homes around the clock, Bezos decided to cut the prices Amazon would charge companies to use its servers. When told that would cause the company to take a loss for a long time, he responded by saying that profits would only attract competition.
Interested in working for Amazon? Work on your writing, not your slide decks -- Bezos has banned PowerPoint presentations and requires his staff to turn in six-page papers on their proposals to encourage critical thinking over simplistic bullet points.
Bezos takes customer service so seriously that he lets customers email him directly. If he finds a truly pressing issue, he'll forward it to relevant Amazon employees with a single note: '?' Recipients of these emails know to fix the problem and immediately explain why it was a problem in the first place.
Sometimes, his desire to please the customer can go too far: back in 2010, Bezos nearly shut down Amazon's email marketing -- which drives millions in sales -- because customers were embarrassed by receiving emails related to personal lubricants after viewing them on Amazon.com.
That $US9.99 you're used to paying for books for the Kindle? That was as much a surprise for book publishers as it was for us. Somehow, Bezos managed to never let on his pricing plan throughout the negotiation process and shocked everyone involved at the Kindle's introduction.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.