5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Amazon

On July 16, 1995, Amazon opened for business as an online bookseller. Amazon eventually morphed into an e-commerce colossus, selling everything from groceries to furniture to live ladybugs, and helping to revolutionize the way people shop. Here are 5 things fascinating you didn't know about Amazon...


The Company Started Out Selling Books When Jeff Bezos first started the company in 1995, it was just a bookstore run out of his home garage. Within just one month, Amazon had shipped books to all 50 US states and to 45 countries.  In 1998, Amazon extended beyond books and began selling CDs and DVDs. In 1999, they added toys and games. In 2000, health and beauty products were added to the marketplace, as well as a service allowing individual sellers and outside merchants to sell their products to Amazon customers.

They Named A Building After Their First Customer Not many people spend $27.95 and get a building named after them.  But John Wainwright is one of those people. The first book Amazon.com ever sold was Douglas Hofstadter's "Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought", ordered by a computed scientist named John Wainwright. You will find a building on Amazon’s corporate campus called the Wainwright Building, named after its very first customer. 


They Were Thrifty In the early days Jeff Bezos and his team needed desks. But the thrifty CEO realized that doors were cheaper than buying desks, so he decided to buy doors and just put legs on them. Their legacy lives on today with thousands of Amazon employees using a modern version of the door desk today. The company also hands out a 'Door Desk Award' to employees who implement thrifty ideas.

They Made Some Costly Mistakes Today Amazon is one of the most successful companies in the world. But at launch there were a few teething problems. In fact, the site wasn't actually finished which resulted in a huge programming error that allowed sneaky customers to trick Amazon into sending them money. By ordering a negative quantity of books Amazon would credit the money to their bank card.  

Amazon.com Was Almost Cadabra.com The company was originally called Cadabra, like the magic term "abracadabra." But Jeff Bezos' lawyer told him that the magic reference was too obscure, and when you say it out loud, "cadabra" could be mistaken for "cadaver." Eventually, they came up with the name Amazon, a reference to the river in South America. The idea was that their selection of books would be vast and wide, just like the world's largest river. They did have many other names in mind and still own one of the domains. If you type in Relentless.com in your browser, you will be redirected to Amazon.com