As Jeff Bezos created a business empire Amazon

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excerpt from the biography of the founder of Amazon ... Author - Richard Brandt, a former correspondent of the magazine BusinessWeek, known as the chronicler of successful internet companies such as Google and Amazon.

Sixteenth July 1995 finally started.Just in time - the Internet has rushed the crowd and the competitors have not been able to create a full-fledged commercial sites.What started at a time when the number of Internet users has grown exponentially and has reached 16 million people, it was even more important to advanced technology and a clear design.Bezos was able to reverse the growth in their favor ahead of the competition.

And Bezos finally managed to take the company out of its former garage.He took office in the industrial area, in the same building as syringe exchange and Lombardy with the eternally shuttered.It has proved Bezos 100 sq.m of office space on the second floor and 40 square meters.m in the basement, where he had built a warehouse.Tables built from the door, pinned to them as legs sawn boards (Bezos ordered them in a carpentry workshop, paying about $ 70 for materials and another $ 60 for the work).One of the rooms were taken for storage of cardboard boxes.Servers and Internet-connected computer are located on the cheap metal shelves.In the basement stood a few racks that accommodate two or three hundred books, a couple of tables with everything needed to prepare a book for sending, scales, and mail sorting machine.The elevators Bezos hung white marker board - there staff could throw their ideas, as another free time they did not have.Value

site run as orders go.However, for the day and accumulates dozens.One of the developers made it so that all corporate computers bell rang as soon as Amazon has received a new order.At first amused, but soon the calls became too much and had to be turned off.Customers at the new site attracts primarily discount.Immediately after the launch Bezos threw a sale.Books from the top twenty list of best-sellers sold at a price 30% below list price - Bezos sold them at a loss, using as bait bestsellers.This was a common practice in large bookstores networks may Bezos learned about it on course to sell books.But the remaining 300,000 books stored in the warehouse distributors, Bezos has established a 10% discount.The team did a daily sample books (there usually fall edition, which knew enough to write a complete profile) and assigning them additional discounts, up to 40%.Thus, buying at Amazon proved more profitable than the big chain stores.It is impossible to overestimate the advantages which the Amazon, has run before the Internet turned out to be the biggest book online.People at that time were for the most part by the very early adopters - the first followers of the new technology, which dreams of every innovative company.They found, decided that it was good and spread the news about him all over the internet.And no bookseller, however wonderful they work, they could not eliminate this handicap.

Three days after the launch of Jeff Bezos received a letter from Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo."Jerry wrote:" It seems you have a cool site, let's we will post a link to it on our website "What is nibble?" - Recalled Bezos.- We thought about it and realized that it would be like to pour myself out of a fire hose.And yet we decided to take the risk. "Yahoo has put the site on the list, and Amazon avalanche of orders.

That week the company sent books only $ 846.Next week, orders came to $ 15,000, but failed to send for $ 7,000.The site at the time of the launch was not ready until the end.Tactics Bezos was to be quickly on the market, ahead of the competition, and then will correct mistakes and solve problems.One of these errors discovered after the start, was that buyers could put a negative number in the basket of books."We found that the website you can order a negative number of books!- Later recalled Bezos.- In this case, the site has sent the money to the buyer's credit card, and they obviously had to send us books. "Another mistake Bezos was that he did not hire anyone to packing and shipping the books come from distributors.In the first week of each company I worked until two or three o'clock in the morning to pack the books, write the address and send to the client.Bezos did not order and tables for packaging, with the result that his staff packed parcel on his knees on the concrete floor.Later, speaking to students at Lake Forest College, Bezos recalled that after many hours spent on all fours for the package, he said one of the employees, Nicholas Lovejoy, that companies should order kneepads.He answered, "looked at me as if I was from Mars," Bezos recalled with a laugh, and offered a more obvious solution: "Buy the tables!" Bezos agreed: "I thought then that it's the best idea I've everhear! "He went to Home Depot and spend at the tables.

companies to save on everything.Printer was not all printouts and copies are made in the copying office nearby.Meetings are held in the nearest coffee shop - for the amusing coincidence, she was inside the bookstore Barnes & amp;Noble.Employees of the companies themselves to buy everything you need, and at the end of the month passed the checks to offset the costs.And all of them, including Bezos himself, were required to respond to emails with questions, complaints and comments.

In October, sales for the first time reached the hundreds of books a day.In less than a year, Amazon sold a hundred books per hour.Thank companies grew, although in the first year she did not spend on advertising, except for one promotions - Bezos hired several people that they went shopping at Barnes & amp;Noble with posters "We could not find the book you're looking for?" And address

But news of the Amazon spread on the Internet.Netscape posted the link to the website in the "What's New", and his example was followed by others.Amazon has always been somewhere in the beginning of the list, which is usually in alphabetical order - that's why Bezos chose for their company name on A. Even The Wall Street Journal published an article about a small company on the front page.On flooded traffic."But it was a real disaster and, as we have led me to our competitors, and there were many, and they were a lot more - recalled Bezos.- First of all, it was then that Barnes & amp;Noble pointed out that we did. "A year later, in May 1996, Barnes & amp;Noble has launched its online store, about a week before the IPO, Bezos was ready to fight.It is constantly adding new features allow to be always one step ahead of the competition - no matter how fast they ran.In the future, almost all user services will be automated, but at first everything was done by hand.Editors daily chose several books about them in detail told, gave excerpts from reviews.If the publishers could not give enough information about the selected book, the editor wrote a review on their own, even if it meant a trip to the nearest bookstore, where abstract and information about the author corresponded with dust covers.Soon, the same editors began to recommend books to customers based on purchases, which they did in the past.For example, they could tell the fans of Cormac McCarthy that favorite author published a new book, or tell those interested in American history that a new "Guide to Civil War battlefields."All these services were previously known only to regular customers of small bookstores sellers-nerdy.

But Bezos was important to add features to the site inaccessible - or almost inaccessible - an offline book.Bezos decided to use the possibility of two-way communication on the Internet, and give customers a part of the editorial work, indulging their love for the discussion of new books.Amazon made it possible for readers to post their own reviews and to evaluate them, and asked the authors to answer questions that readers asked the network.The company also provided its customers the right to choose between "visible" and "invisible" mode visit.The "visible" mode, people who were looking for books on related topics, able to communicate with other customers and recommend books to each other.Brilliant publicity stunt Steels invitation of John Updike, who has published on the website beginning of the story "Murder enters the magazine" and suggested that his readers continue.In total, the site was sent 400,000 options.Six consecutive weeks Amazon chose from works received the winner and handed him $ 1,000.Of these six were randomly selected main winner will receive $ 100 000.

first users react to new opportunities with a grain of salt.They were allowed to write negative reviews of books, and competitors do not understand why the bookstore to take that risk.Who would buy a book that someone else is shouting match to the nines?Many small staff wrote the book reviews, advertising books that they liked, but the books that they did not like, they simply did not notice.But it was all part of a plan to build Jeff "the most customer-centric company in the world."A few weeks after the launch of user reviews, he said: "I started getting letters from well-wishers, writing that I supposedly do not understand business.We make money when we sell.So why allow on its website negative reviews?But we believe that we will sell more if we help people to make informed purchasing decisions. "Alternative tactic worked.Reviews and advice to show people what Amazon - an unusual store and he can rely on.Service helps the reader to discard books sulivshie a waste of time and money.This helped to woo customers and a reputation as a leader Bezos, who really cares about their customers.An example clearly shows how Bezos was able to squeeze out all of the possibilities of the Internet.Visitors bookstores usually do not throw each other to the recommendations that they have read."I'm a sociable person but me and would never go to the bookstore and ask a complete stranger to me man, what book he will advise me, - said Bezos.- Poluanonimnost Internet allows people to feel free. "

Then Amazon started to restructure its "showcase" for each customer, laying out books in the genres to which readers showed interest earlier or recommend any publication based on purchase history."In the future, these interactive features will play a huge role - Bezos predicted in 1996.- And you can not play them in the real world.Conventional stores have to start from the simplest needs of the mass audience. "As shown by surveys of customers, convenience sampling proved very important for them.To work even better service, Bezos began to develop a closer relationship with the book distributors.In the summer of 1996, distributors have not yet been concluded written contracts, there was no person engaged in logistics.Department orders consisted of one officer and two computers.There was no one who would be responsible for the return unsold books to distributors, so most of them clutter the shelves.Bezos had to hire people to all debug.At the beginning of its existence, the company ordered a hundred books a day, and six months later the number has risen to five thousand.

reasonable offer would come from, and customers.In July 1996, the company received a request from a woman who led a website about books.She asked permission to give in their reviews links to Amazon, so people can buy the book.Bezos realized that it might be a good idea to spur sales.The company immediately launched an affiliate program, allowing other companies to post links to the book from the database Amazon.Whenever someone walked on the link and buy the book, the website partner receives a commission from 5% to 15%.The program does not just bring a profit, but also great impact on the reputation of the Amazon as a site where people with diverse interests to find a book to taste.Now, for example, the site of the fans of classic Ford Mustang could spread links to books on the topic, and users are increasingly seemed that Amazon for books absolutely everything.In 1998, Bezos described the partnership program as "one of the most innovative things we've ever done."Amazon even patented the idea.

patent disputes arose around, many have argued that the Internet did so before.Sites often laid links to other sites where people could order something, and sometimes receive a commission for it.But Bezos claimed that his approach was fundamentally different.Partner sites inherently have small virtual bookstores, use technology Amazon to sell books.The difference was in the fact that the program was designed to absolutely everyone, anyone could take part in it without prior discussion with the Amazon, even without binding to any of us.A few years later the patent was obtained, but Bezos never pleaded with those who create their own affiliate programs, so that the practice spread everywhere, and controversy died down by themselves.Yet for many companies, this approach remains unacceptable.In 1997, the company owned by Microsoft site Sidewalks, recommends how to spend free time, I began to spread on the pages of links to the site Ticketmaster, where you could buy tickets for the exciting performances and exhibitions.Ticketmaster has rolled out a lawsuit.His leadership wanted the company to Microsoft for the privilege of paying to send buyers to the site, and when Microsoft refused to pay, they were able to conclude a paid contract with a competitor, Citysearch.Ticketmaster Microsoft only allowed to put a link to your homepage, despite the inconvenience to users.Ticketmaster actions were condemned by all Internet experts as counterproductive.Yet two years later, Microsoft gave in and agreed to the request.However, many sites are still resisting the fact that they relied on the Internet, even if these links for them can come prepared to pay clients or people interested in advertising.The most stubborn appeared news sites that do not like the fact that search engines give a brief retelling of the news with reference to the original article - although more than once proved that such references at times to increase traffic and raise the rating of news sites in search engines.Still, companies such as News Corporation Rupert Murdoch threatened lawsuits Google for what he puts in his service Google News links to their articles with a few announcements.Bezos did not simply allow this practice, but also began to pay third-party sites for links, thus demonstrating the difference between the old type of manager reluctantly included in the virtual world, and an entrepreneur, able to squeeze all of the unique features of the Internet.Inspired by the success, Bezos with new force was involved in a race to the heights of the dotcom boom.

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