The company started out as a business plan, written by Bezos while still at D. E. Shaw, the Wall Street hedge fund. On the back of the plan he raised $300,000 (£191,747) and headed west with MacKenzie to start their new adventure.
“The original Amazon plan was focused exclusively on books, and I expected the company to grow slowly over a large number of years. But it actually grew very quickly right from the beginning.”
Bezos then researched the top twenty mail order businesses to figure out which goods might sell well in an Internet marketplace. Software, music, videos, and clothing were all possibilities, but Bezos methodically whittled the list down to one choice – books.
When Amazon first opened its “virtual” doors in 1994, the company was on the cutting edge of the e-commerce revolution as one of the first in the world to offer goods over the Internet. Focused exclusively on book sales, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw e-commerce’s potential to offer a far wider range of book tides than was possible in the traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore. His business model inspired the company’s name change to Amazon, in reference to the world’s most voluminous river.
Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon.com” or the “Company”) is the leading online retailer of books. Since opening for business as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore” in July 1995, Amazon.com has become one of the most widely known, used and cited commerce sites on the World Wide Web (the “Web”). Amazon.com strives to offer its customers compelling value through innovative use of technology, broad selection, high-quality content, a high level of customer service, competitive pricing and personalized services.
“Our timing was good, our choice of product categories — books — was a very good choice.
And we did a lot of analysis on that to pick that category as the first best category for e-commerce online, but there were no guarantees that that was a good category.”
“He saw an opportunity for a new sphere of business, and immediately began considering the possibilities. In typically methodical fashion, Bezos reviewed the top 20 mail order businesses, and asked himself which could be conducted more efficiently over the Internet than by traditional means. Books were the commodity for which no comprehensive mail order catalogue existed, because any such catalogue would be too big to mail — perfect for the Internet, which could share a vast database with a virtually limitless number of people.”