This section of our site is called “Origins Of Top Businesses.”
It features interesting facts about the early years of well-known businesses.
These facts are given to you for fun and inspiration.
Fun because the way that many top businesses started out is really surprising.
Inspiring because it will help you as a business owner see that if they can do it, so can you.
Today, you’re about to learn a little bit about the history of Amazon.com.
And in the process you’ll learn some little-known facts about the world’s largest retailer.
Fun facts you can amaze your friends with! 🙂
Jeff Bezos Thought It Was Too Late to Succeed Online
Originally. Jeff Bezos thought he had missed out on the opportunity of the early “internet gold rush.”
But he changed his mind when he read a report about the future of internet commerce.
The report projected that the annual growth of internet commerce would be 2,300%, so Jeff decided that there was still a chance for him to find a way to succeed online.
The report inspired him to come up with a list of 20 products that he thought would sell well online.
Out of those 20 products, he decided to start by offering books.
The Name He Was Originally Going to Call His Online Store
It was July 5, 1994 when Jeff Bezos incorporated a company called Cadabra, Inc. He chose that name because it was short for “Abracadabra.”
Some say it was supposed to suggest that he store would “almost magically” contain anything you wanted and others say it was because old website directory listings were alphabetical and this would put his website towards the top.
But a few months later he decided to change the name, because a lawyer misheard it and thought he was calling it “cadaver” (aka dead body).
That sent him back to the drawing board when it came to coming up with a name for his company.
Later in September 1994, he purchased the URL Relentless.com and for a short period of time he considered naming his online store Relentless, but his friends talked him out of it.
Bezos still owns that domain. And guess what? It redirects to the Amazon.com site. (Click the link above and it will open a new window.
He finally settled on the name Amazon, because it was the biggest river in the world (and he wanted his store to be the biggest) and because it again started with the letter “A.”
What It Was Like in the Early Days of Amazon.com
Bezos started Amazon in his garage.
The funny thing about that fact is that the servers the company used needed so much electricity that his house would blow a fuse every time him or his wife ran any additional electronic devices (like a hair dryer or a vacuum).
The choice to start with selling books proved to be a smart move.
Within the first month of starting Amazon, he was able to sell books to people in all 50 states and in 45 different countries.
His first employee was employee that he hired to work at Amazon was a man named Shel Kaphan. (He was responsible for building the technical infrastructure of the online store.) Bezos later hired other people to take over his responsibilities, so Kaplan left.
In the early days, when orders would come in a bell would ring. But so many orders began coming in that that the constant ringing was too annoying, so they stopped it.