Today, it may seem incredible that buying things from home once meant dialing up a customer service representative and laboriously reading product codes and credit card numbers across the phone, or carefully filling out paper forms and mailing them to Sears or Eddie Bauer. Now, not only can you buy anything you need from your iPhone, you can even walk into a store, scan a barcode and then comparison-shop online.
So it’s worth remembering, as Time magazine did this weekend, that Amazon helped change the world of shopping with an idea that at the time seemed completely mad. No one got it, at first. Buying books online seemed counter to the whole spirit and purpose of a bookstore.
But Amazon’s great advantage – the ability to get people anywhere in the country the same products – has made the Bellevue, Washington startup a success. From shipping boxes of books out of a two-car garage in July of 1996, Amazon has fought its way through the ranks to become the world’s largest e-tailer.
Jeff Bezos had a vision of an online bookstore that for a long time seemed completely crazy. But he turned it into web empire with a market capitalization of $52 billion and a share value of over $117.
A lot of young entrepreneurs and a lot of startups fell by the wayside at the turn of the millennium, but Bezos and Amazon proved that, with the right business model and a bit of luck, the entrepreneurial spirit can change the world.