What they said about Amazon.com in 1999


A documentary from 1999 gives a fascinating insight into Amazon.com and its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

The company which started with Bezos selling books out of his garage has grown into the e-commerce giant it is today.

The footage was unearthed this week by tech site GeekWire as Bezos’ net worth shot passed $100 billion.

The footage was taken five years after Amazon first launched and shows the company’s old HQ in Seattle located next to a “porno-parlour”, heroin needle exchange and pawn shop.

Once inside, the Amazon offices are noted for looking “more like a college dorm than a corporate headquarters”, complete with stained carpets and Bezos’ desk, which is made made out of an old office door.

Commenting on the makeshift desk, Bezos says: “It’s a symbol of spending money on things that matter to customers and not spending money on things that don’t.”

At the time Bezos, who described himself as “socially awkward”, was already a billionaire but in the documentary he can be seen driving a beat up old Honda. “This is a perfectly good car,” he says.

Bezos also explains how after turning his back on a career on Wall Street, he started Amazon because of his “regret minimization framework.”

“I want to have lived my life in such a way that when I’m 80 years old, I’ve minimized the number of regrets that I have,” he says.

“I think actually a lot of people do that — even if they don’t call it something as dorky as regret minimization framework, they behave that way.”

Another interesting part of the documentary shows a Wall Street analyst talking about the “frenzy” of investing in Amazon stock, as well as using other terms such as “gambling” and warns against the “huge risks” in investing in stocks of web based companies, like Amazon.

Today, the 53 year old businessman has a reported net worth of $100 billion, overtaking Bill Gates who has an estimated net worth of $90 billion, Bloomberg reported.

A picture of Bezos recently shared on social media reveals that after 20 years and many many billions of dollars, the Amazon CEO has undergone quite a transformation and is almost unrecognisable to the young Bezos in the documentary.


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