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Jeff Bezos at the beginning of Amazon: Is this how you look like?

If you find yourself in a low moral moment, if you think that you will never be able to recover and that you only have to fall lower, the technology sector can inspire you to move forward. Not in vain, there are countless stories of companies that literally started from nothing and are now considered the largest in the world.

Many of these stories start in a garage, usually from the house of the founder’s parents. They talk about how a person had a great idea but not the money to make it a reality; and how, despite all these obstacles, he managed to show his worth, meet the right people, and make his product become the most used. From Microsoft to Apple, to Google, these stories show us that you never have to give up.

The photo of the beginnings of Amazon that really is not

Amazon is another of these companies that inspires young startups to continue working. The case of its founder, Jeff Bezos, is especially inspiring, having become the richest man in the history of mankind; and everything, starting from nothing, starting with a simple web page that sold books.

It is common to find this photo every so often, which shows what the office of Jeff Bezos was like in 1999, along with an inspiring message. The photo is really shocking, showing Bezos working on what looks like a hovel, with a simple computer, some folders and some personal touch, like a rubber duck. But above all, what is most striking is the “logo” of the company, created by writing the name with spray paint on a poster.

It really is the living image of a small startup that started from scratch, that had no money to get a professional logo; and that despite that, it became one of the most powerful and influential. Except that it is not like that at all.

The famous photo is actually a screenshot of the 60 Minutes program of American television, dedicated to a company that was then one of the most important on the Internet, and especially, the “dotcom bubble”. When this program was recorded, it had already been five years since Amazon was founded; Although initially, Bezos was not clear what name to put and came to call it “Cadabra Inc.”. Fortunately, his friends convinced him that he sounded too “corpse” and changed it.

How Amazon started

It was in 1994 when Bezos really started with Amazon, and those were difficult beginnings, relatively speaking. Amazon was born simply because Bezos was crushing himself for not having risen to the madness of the Internet at the time; so he decided to enter through a sector with little presence in the network, the bookstores. Thus, although he arrived relatively late in the Internet business, he knew how to take advantage of it with a product with a high demand and little supply.

It seems a rather cold reason centered only on the benefits; but it is necessary to understand that Bezos did not come from just a garage, but had just left his post as vice president of D. E. Shaw & Co., a high-risk investment firm of Wall Street. It was her ambition that led her to leave that position, take her bonus and found an Internet company with her.

Bezos’ intuition was rewarded, and caught all the big bookstore chains by surprise. In just a few years, Amazon went on to become one of the leading booksellers in the US. In 1997 it reached the stock market with great success. And for 1999, when the famous photo is, Jeff Bezos appeared on the cover of Time as the “person of the year 1999”. Let’s say that at that point we can not say that in 1999 Amazon was a small company, nor that its headquarters was “a garage”.

The importance of that photo

But then, why the so decrepit look of that photo? It was a personal decision of Bezos, who despite the success felt that you only had to spend the money on what really mattered. Having modern offices was a luxury that could be saved to focus on the product they offered. But although this photo may have lost some inspiration for you, you may have won another one.

Because that picture was taken before the explosion of the dotcom bubble. The craze for Internet-based business reached a point where it could not be maintained on its own, and Amazon was the banner of this trend. And yet, Amazon not only survived most of the companies then; but ironically it began to give benefits just when the bubble burst.

In fact, until then the company had a very slow growth compared to the rest of similar startups, and in that sense, the famous photo represents their situation well; But it may be that Jeff Bezos’ philosophy was the one that separated Amazon from the rest, and the one that has allowed it to grow to where it is.

Published inStartups

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