Facts you probably didn’t know about Amazon they’re really not all that many people in the world who can say they’ve never ordered something from Amazon when Amazon first launched in 1995 the website it only sold books even from the very beginning though Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos he wanted Amazon to be and everything stored Jeff managed to reach his goals and then some but there are still a few things about this company that most people don’t know here are 15 fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about Amazon.
- In the early days each time somebody made a sale they would ring a bell when they heard that bell rang the employees would gather around the computer to see if they knew the buyer after a few weeks the bell was ringing so often they had to turn it off Amazon first started in Jeff’s garage and the servers took so much power that Jeff and his wife couldn’t use a hairdryer or the vacuum cleaner because it would blow a fuse within the first month of Amazon’s launch they had sold books to customers in all 50 states and 45 different countries all within the first month.
- Amazon wasn’t the original name in the beginning Jeff Bezos didn’t want to call the company Amazon his first idea was to call it Cadabra because it sounded magical you know like Abra Cadabra Amazon’s first lawyer Todd Tarbert convinced him that it sounded too much like cadaver especially on the phone well he wanted to go with that name but while he was talked out of it he liked the fact that the company would be named after the largest river in the world so they went with Amazon by the way they used to be called relentless dot-com but if you go there now you’re just redirected to Amazon the original logo is of the Amazon River though the early days.
- Loophole for retailers to order books the distributors require them to order 10 books Amazon didn’t need that much inventory at first and they didn’t have enough money to do that so they found a loophole while the distributors require Amazon to order 10 books they don’t receive that many they would order one book that they needed and nine copies of an obscure Lichtenberg which was always out of stock that would allow them to get the one book that they actually needed.
- Moving fast Jeff liked always to move fast which often caused extreme chaos and Amazon’s distribution centres in the late 90s and early 2000s the facilities weren’t prepared for the excessive number of orders the facilities would get shut down because of system outages employees would often ignore products because they were so busy and those products would pile up there was no preparation for new product categories when the kitchen category was first introduced knives without protection came hurling down conveyer chutes the speed of Jaffa and the orders coming in made things crazy until the necessary adjustments were made.
- 60 hour work weeks in the beginning the employees were expected to work at least 60 hours per week one employee worked so much during the first eight months he totally forgot that he had parked his blue station wagon near his apartment he was biking to and from work and he didn’t have time to read his mail when he finally did he noticed that there were several parking tickets a notice of an impending toe and a toe notice and a notice that his station wagon had been sold at auction.
- Barnes and Noble in the early days of Amazon Jeff his wife Mackenzie and their third employee shall Capon would have meetings at the local Barnes & Noble in 1996 they met up with the owners of Barnes & Noble for dinner the execs said that they admired Jeff but would soon be launching their own website that would crush Amazon well when their site did launch it didn’t crush Amazon like they thought it would and one of the company’s founders LAN Regio wanted to call it book predator.
- The first crazy Christmas amazon’s first crazy Christmas season was 1998 they were so short-staffed every employee had to take a graveyard shift at the fulfilment centre in order to meet the orders they would bring their friends and family members and with them and sleep in their cars before going to work the next day after that Christmas Jeff vowed he would never go through that again that’s why Amazon hires so many seasonal workers.
- When eBay first gained popularity Amazon tried to build its own auction site to compete unfortunately that idea was a flop Jeff loved the idea and he ended up purchasing a $40,000 skeleton of an ice age cave bear at auction he displayed it in the lobby of the company’s headquarters next to the bear a sign read please don’t feed the bear today the bear and the sign aren’t still there.
- Two pizza teams in 2002 Jeff introduced the concept of two pizza teams which the employees hated he would set up two teams of ten and the team members were expected to work together without speaking he believed that if the employees needed to communicate it was a sign of dysfunction.
- Question mark, the question mark is the most dreaded part of an email coming from Jeff if a customer has an issue they can email Jeff directly and he will forward the email to the appropriate person along with a question mark that’s the equivalent of a ticking time bomb what an employee got a question mark they had only a few hours to solve the issue and it had to go through management Jeff said that this was the best way of making sure that the customers voice was heard through the entire company.
- Block view in 2004 Amazon launched a search engine called a nine.com the team started a project called block view which was a visual Yellow pages on a budget of just a hundred thousand dollars Amazon flew photographers to 20 major cities where they rented cars and took photos of restaurants they dropped block view in 2006 just in time to make room for Google to start Street View in 2007.
- Primal Scream’s Amazon hires seasonal workers but it’s still a very stressful time of the year because of that Jeff Willkie amazon’s operations manager told employees in early 2000 that anybody who accomplished a critical goal to call him and yell into the phone at the top of their lungs Willkie says that those screams nearly blew out his speaker’s.
- Employee rebellion things at the fulfilment centres can get really stressful and at times employees Rebel one employee who was ready to quit rode the conveyor belt through the entire facility in 2006 an employee in Kansas showed up at the beginning of his shift and left at the end but didn’t do anything in between he had tunnelled a den inside a massive pile of empty pallets he used Amazon products to make a bed he used Amazon books to line the walls and he snacked of stolen Amazon food when this was all discovered he was fired.
- Mean boss Jeff was known for his explosive and sarcastic remarks if he was not happy with an employee’s performance to make life easier for his employees Jeff hired a leadership coach to help him tone it down a bit making it a more pleasant environment for his employees.
- Amazon Kindle the original name for the Amazon Kindle was Fiona the name came from a book called the diamond age by Neal Stephenson the team who worked on the Kindles loved the name Fiona and they begged Geoff to keep it but he decided to go with Kindle because it evoked the idea of starting a fire.
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