There is no doubt that Steve Jobs and Apple were/are the face of American Innovation and Entrepreneurship (over the last decade or so). To me, Jeff Bezo’s is the man to enter the vacuum that Jobs’ passing has created.
Bezos and Amazon have been amazing and his vision and execution are on par with anyone (including Jobs) during the past 20 years. From Brandt in the WSJ:
In the summer of 1994, Mr. Bezos quit his job in New York as a vice president at the financial-services firm D.E. Shaw. He and his wife, MacKenzie, moved to Seattle to take advantage of the explosive growth of the Internet and to start Amazon. The company’s original name, Cadabra, was nixed after someone misheard it as “cadaver.”
Their first rental, a three-bedroom house in the suburb of Bellevue, cost $890 a month. Mr. Bezos chose it in part because it had one crucial requirement—a garage, so that he could boast of having a garage start-up like Silicon Valley legends from Hewlett-Packard on. The garage had actually been converted into a recreation room, but Mr. Bezos figured it was close enough.
The site was launched on July 16, 1995—just as masses of people started moving onto the Internet and before many competitors had created strong commercial sites.
Mr. Bezos moved the company to an industrial neighborhood that it shared with a needle-exchange program and a shuttered pawnshop. He had 1,100 square feet of office space on the second floor and 400 square feet in the basement to use as a warehouse. The desks were made from cheap doors, with sawed-off two-by-fours for legs. The warehouse could store just a few hundred books on their way from the distributor to customers.
Thanks to discounts of 10% to 30%, orders started coming in as soon as the site launched. At first, there were a half-dozen orders per day. One of the programmers set up the computers so that a bell would ring every time an order came in. A great novelty at first, it quickly got annoying and had to be turned off.
The article is a great read and I am sharing it with my students. Will likely buy the Kindle Edition on iPad (though I really want a way to print my notes and highlights — am I missing something? Does the Kindle app do this?)
So look for more Jeff Bezos and talk of Amazon. Will be interesting to see how Bezos and Amazon will respond to the attention that I believe is about to come their way. Jobs managed it flawlessly. Will/can Bezo’s or Amazon? Is that their style?