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30 Interesting Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Amazon

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Amazon.com, Inc, world renowned by the name Amazon, is currently the fourth most valuable public company in the world. It is the largest Internet company by revenue in the world, as well as the eighth largest employer in the United States. Here are some fascinating things to know about the American electronic commerce and cloud computing company:

  1. The most popular e-commerce giant, Amazon, launched on July 16 1995, was initially started in the garage of founder Jeff Bezos’ home in Washington State. By the end of its first week, Amazon had taken in over $12,000-worth orders.
  2. Amazon's CEO Bezos, is said to be currently involved in a project to build a 10,000 year clock. Designed by Danny Hillis, the Clock is designed to run for ten millennia with minimal maintenance and interruption.
  3. Amazon's unique users are said to be 5x more valuable than eBay's, as according to the statistics, an Amazon's average unique user more likely brings in about $189 while eBay's brings in just $39.
  4. In an effort to keep overheads low, during the initial stages, the office desks were made from cheap doors, with sawed-off two-by-fours for legs. Till date, the company reportedly hands out a Door Desk Award to employees who implement thrifty ideas.
  5. Amazon was originally named as "Cadabra," as in the popular magic words "Abracadabra." However, with most people including the CEO's lawyer, mistaking the name to be as "Cadaver," it was scrapped.
  6. In 1997, Barnes & Noble filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that 'Earth’s Largest Bookstore' was a false claim. Both the companies are said to have eventually settled out of court with Amazon continuing to use their slogan.
  7. During their initial stages, their book distributors required them to order a minimum of 10 books at a time. However, they, not being able to afford it, would order the one book they needed, and nine copies of an obscure book on lichens which was always out of stock.
  8. Amazon has bought out several companies, including Audible, Shopbop, Goodreads, Diapers.com, IMDB, Teachstreet and Twitch, The Washington Post, and the popular online shoe retailer Zappos. The company closed the deal with Zappos for a huge $1.2 billion.
  9. Initially, there was a big list of names - MakeItSo.com, Awake.com, Browse.com, Bookmall.com and Relentless.com, in consideration. Still, Relentless.com is being redirected to Amazon.com
  10. In their very early stage, they had a bell installed in their office that would ring every time someone made a purchase. However, within a few weeks, sales were happening so frequently that they had to shut it off.
  11. In 2004, Bezos had his employees build the world's best e-reader, using the codename Fiona, after a character in Neal Stephenson’s "The Diamond Age." Later, the name, "Kindle," was devised by branding consultants Michael Cronan and Karin Hibma, with the meaning to light a fire.
  12. On April 2, 2014, the company unveiled the first generation Amazon Fire TV, which was available for purchase for $99. The next year, the second generation Fire TV was launched with improved processor speed and 4K UHD support.
  13. Bezos is said to have chosen the name "Amazon.com," for two main reasons - one, the name suggests the scale, which fits in with the tagline "Earth's biggest book store," while the second reason is that back then website listings were often alphabetical.
  14. The company is said to have shun the traditional corporate meetings, as it has banned any kind of PowerPoint presentations. All meetings reportedly begin with a silent, 30-minute reading session about the topic at hand, in an emphasis to critical thinking over oversimplified stats.
  15. The company's warehouses reportedly have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens and could hold more water than 10,000 Olympic Pools.
  16. In the year 1998, the company was reportedly under-staffed for the Christmas holiday season rush. It’s said that every employee had to take a graveyard shift in the fulfilment centers in order to meet the demand while many even brought their friends and family in to help. To make sure such a scenario doesn’t happen again, Amazon now hires a record amount of staff over the holiday season.
  17. Three days after the site's launch, Bezos got an email from Jerry Yang, one of the founders of Yahoo, asking if they’d like to be featured on Yahoo's "What's Cool" page. Just as Bezos said yes, the orders reportedly sky rocketed.
  18. The company's CEO Bezos reportedly fields questions from the public at his mail - jeff@amazon.com. When there seems to be any valid complaints, he simply forwards it to the appropriate employees with just a "?" in the body of the message.
  19. In 2005, the company announced the creation of Amazon Prime, a membership offering free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States on all eligible purchases for a flat annual fee of $79, along with discounted one-day shipping rates. In December 2014, Amazon announced Prime Now as a benefit to Prime members to get products delivered to them within one hour for a fee of $7.99, or within two hours for no additional fee.
  20. The first book Amazon.com ever sold was "Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought," from the CEO Bezos' garage.
  21. In their initial stages, Jeff Bezos, his wife MacKenzie and Amazon’s first-ever employee Shel Kaphan reportedly held their meetings inside their local Barnes & Noble Store. And in the first year, Bezos hired mobile billboards to drive by Barnes & Noble stores displaying the question 'Can't find that book you wanted?' along with Amazon's website address.
  22. In June 2017, Amazon announced it would acquire Whole Foods, a high-end supermarket chain with over 400 stores, for $13.4 billion, in an effort to increase Amazon's presence as a physical retailer. On August 23, 2017, Whole Foods shareholders, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, approved the deal.
  23. Amazon's current logo is designed in a unique concept to depict a smile that goes from A to Z, which is said to signify that the company will deliver everything to everyone, anywhere in the world.
  24. When the site was launched, it was not actually finished resulting in a huge programming error. The error is said to have allowed sneaky customers to trick Amazon into crediting them money to their bank card, by ordering a negative quantity of books.
  25. Due to the massive size of some of its centers, Amazon's employees sometimes have to walk 10+ miles a day retrieving items. In an effort to help them, the company now uses robots, made by Kiva Systems. Amazon added Kiva Systems into its portfolio in early 2014, for a sum of $775 million.
  26. Amazon.com employees, including the CEO himself will have to spend two days in every two years, working at the customer service desk, in an effort to help all the employees understand the customer service process better.
  27. Amazon Prime Air, founded in 2016, is a cargo airline that contracts through Air Transport International and Atlas Air, as well as a conceptual drone-based delivery system currently in development by the company.
  28. Amazon's cloud platform, is reportedly big enough to hold around 80 books for every person on earth.
  29. In the year 2013, when the Amazon.com site was down for around 49 minutes, the company reportedly lost $66,240 per minute, amounting to the total loss of $5.7 million.
  30. When it was launched, the website reportedly sold only books. Due to the lack of space, Amazon did not have an inventory, so, when an order came in, they found the book online, shipped it to their office, and then repackaged it to the customer who ordered it.

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30 Interesting Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Amazon

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