- In a 1998, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sat down for an interview with writer Steve Homer. At the time, Bezos was promoting the launch of Amazon’s UK website.
- Now, it’s the 20th anniversary of the UK website’s launch, and the interview provides some early insight into the CEO who would eventually become the richest man in the world.
- Bezos discussed why most startups have to move out of the garage – and it isn’t because of space. Rather, the pure amount of electricity that’s needed to run a business becomes too much for a home, he said.
- Startups, Amazon included, have “so many computers in the garage that circuit breakers [keep] flipping.”
Before Jeff Bezos was the richest man in modern history, he was operating Amazon.com out of his garage.
It’s a scene that’s probably familiar to a lot of startups, but in a 1998 interview, Bezos said the reason most startups need to relocate out of the garage isn’t because of space – but instead, power.
While visiting the UK in 1998 to promote the launch of Amazon.co.uk, Bezos sat down with writer Steve Homer to discuss Amazon’s inception and timeline. While reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Amazon.co.uk’s launch recently, Homer released a transcript of the 20-year-old interview.
During the 1998 discussion, Bezos spoke about his time operating Amazon.com out of his garage. Working in a garage is almost synonymous with startup culture at this point, but at some point it becomes unsustainable. While it might seem like a lack of space becomes the motivating factor to invest in some office space, Bezos said it’s something else entirely.
“I know why people move out of garages,” Bezos said in the interview. “It’s not because they ran out of room. It’s because they ran out of electric power. There have so many computers in the garage that circuit breakers kept flipping. We had to siphon power from all the other rooms in the house with big orange electric cords, extension cables, and so then we couldn’t plug in a vacuum cleaner, or a hair dryer anymore in the house. At a certain point, we had to get a real office, which we did.”
The interview provides a striking contrast between the CEO in 1998, who just years prior had been working out of a garage and siphoning electricity, and who he is now: the richest person in modern history, valued at about $US140 billion
To read and listen to the full 1998 interview with Bezos,click here.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.