America's largest international online retailer
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com, Inc. in 1994 and launched it online in 1995. It started as an online bookstore, but soon diversified to product lines of VHS, DVD, music CDs and MP3s, computer software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and so on. Amazon has established separate websites in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, and China. It also provides international shipping to certain countries for some of its products.
On January 15, 2009, a survey published by Verdict Research found that Amazon was the UK's favorite music and video retailer, and came third in overall retail rankings.
There are so many things that can go wrong. When we launched that store in July of 1995, we were shocked at the customer response. Literally in the first 30 days we had orders from all 50 states and 45 different countries, and we were woefully unprepared from an operational point of view to handle that kind of volume.Jeff Bezos
In fact, we quickly expanded. We talked to our landlord and we expanded into a 2000 square foot basement warehouse space that had 6 foot ceilings. One of our ten employees was 6'2, he went around like this the whole time. We were doing our day jobs which might have been computer programming – all the different things that 10 people will do in a tiny start up company. And then we would spend all afternoon into the wee hours of the morning packing up the orders and shipping them out.
I would drive these things to UPS so we could get the last one, and we would wait till the last second. I'd get to UPS and I would sort of bang on the glass door that was closed. They would always take pity on me and sort of open up and let us ship things late. We had so many orders that we weren't ready for, that we had no real organization in our distribution center at all. In fact, we were packing on our hands and knees on a hard concrete floor. I remember, just to show you how stupid I can be – my only defense is that it was late.
We were packing these things, everybody in the company and I had this brainstorm as I said to the person next to me, "This packing is killing me! My back hurts, this is killing my knees on this hard cement floor" and this person said, "Yeah, I know what you mean." And I said, "You know what we need?" my brilliant insight, "We need knee pads!" I was very serious, and this person looked at me like I was the stupidest person they'd ever seen. I'm working for this person? This is great. "What we need is packing tables."
Founder and CEO, Amazon.com
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