CNET 25: A young Jeff Bezos on the future of Amazon
I was out jogging recently and the back of local mail truck was open as the mail carrier was bringing in mail and the entire back of the truck was a wall of amazon.com box. Did you ever envision that it would get to this point? No. I'm the most. Surprised person on the planet so I, four years ago if anybody had predicted what would happen, they would have needed to have been immediately institutionalized. So it is surprised. You know in the last two years we've gone from having a million customers to over 10 million back now it's over 12 million customers. And we definitely didn't predict it. We're very grateful for it. The big question that I have coming to your beautiful building here and meeting some of your very organized and very polite staff members, is how do you keep it all organized? Don't you have some of that 4200 employees in only four years. Yeah, we do have over 4000 employees and has grown very quickly, but We have the hardest working most talented, most passionate, most customer focused group of people that certainly, I've ever had the pleasure of working with and I think that might exist anywhere. And that is that is I think how it all Works. It's always about the quality of the people. And I heard you once say that you told your staff members to be afraid of the customers. Right. What does that mean? Well I asked everybody around here to wake up terrified every morning, their sheets drenched in sweat, but to be very precise about what it is they're afraid of and they shouldn't be afraid of our competitors. They should be afraid of our customers. Because it's the customers those are the folks we have a relationship with. Those are the folks who send us money. And I believe that our customers are loyal to us right up until the second that somebody else offers some better service. So to better qualify that fear, it's like a fear of abandonment. [LAUGH] You don't want them to abandon you. I think that's right. You got to do a good job and you have to To you have to earn the loyalty of customers every day. If you ever rest on the path to rest on your laurels, it may take a little while but the whole thing will go away. Let's talk about the recent announcement. You knew you were going to get bigger than the Amazon and take over the earth. [LAUGH] Which direction we didn't actually. Which direction did you decide to go first and why? Well, we picked books as the first best product to sell online because we thought in that category, especially four years ago, we can create the most value for customers. Cuz one of the things customers value is selection. And books is an unusual category cuz there's more selection in that category than are in the others. So that was why that started. But now as the technology has matured as the audience has grown, it's possible to in other categories like toys we have a complete toy store now we have a complete electronic store now, even TVs Selling 60 inch televisions. I didn't think people would buy them online but they do. Can I have a prediction from you? Where do you think we'll be in 10 years? Well, it's it's very hard to give concrete predictions. But what I do know is that we are at the very beginning, not just amazon.com, but the entire industry of e commerce and online shopping. And this is the Kitty Hawk era. 10 years from now. We will know 50 times as much if we know today, it's incredibly exciting. How does it make you feel to think that some day kids in school will read about your name like we read about Alexander Graham Bell? [LAUGH] Well, I like to think that Amazon.com still has the opportunity to be a foot note. In the history of e-commerce, as far as we've come, we can by not focusing obsessively on the customer, we can still lose our whole opportunity to make that little bit of history. But I think it's very useful to keep focused on the fact that we haven't built an important and lasting company yet. We're on our way. And if we don't, it'll be shame on us. Because in the position we're in, we should be able to do that.>> Thank you so much for meeting us here. Thank you. It was pleasure. Thank you.