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    • So I knew Jeff in the early days and one of the things that always amazed me is what he was willing to do to get attention and customer satisfaction.

      He was so very late to the online bookstore market — having been beaten by well-established startups like and 100 other online bookstores (AT&T was profiling some of them in their TV ads in 1993, three years before Amazon launched). had 250,000 titles, more than the biggest Barnes & Noble superstores (160,000). Essentially, every book in print.

      So what did Jeff do? He put the entire Books In Print CD online even though 75% of them couldn't be had. He was willing to take the order, try to get the book, and then tell the customer he did his best.

      That one move made him Yahoo's Cool Site Of The Day (a big deal back then) 3 days after their launch.

      And they he and a board member managed to raise ungodly amounts of money to survive the crash of 2,000. Amazing.

      Warren Buffett said they were a miracle and he doesn't invest in miracles.

    • So, in my foolish reticence to invest in Amazon, I, at least, did a poorly rendered emulation of Warren Buffett. Well, that's encouraging, then, I would hope😃 Or maybe a demonstration of senescence😟

      Back 25 years ago, I would make a ~180 mile round trip, at least two or three times a month, just to get to a large bookstore, like Barnes&Noble, to see what was new and worth reading. Kinda like when I was 8 years old and took my wagon to the public library once a week. It's an old habit of mine, from way back.

      When Amazon debuted, I was amazed, particularly as the number of very old, used, out of print books I could find. I think I told the story of listening to Robert Ballard speak about his marine explorations at the local university, and mention several books he read when he was a teenager, that contributed to his career in underwater exploration. I was able to find those books easily on Amazon, published in the mid 1950s for a few pennies each. A couple had been sitting in the Kansas City Mo Public Library and sold for lack of public usage.

      I became a sold customer immediately, and cut my driving to bookstores in a major way. For two reasons - one even I, a non trained web user, could find things quickly and easily - and - once ordered, goods reliably, and quickly, showed up on my door step, exactly as described. No bait and switch, no unexplained delays, or failures to deliver as promised. The positive stimulus response arc conditioned me quickly to view Amazon in a favorable light.

      I know of many other vendors that I purchase from, that are not as expeditious, nor as consistent, nor as reliable in the quality of their goods that I am, forced to purchase from, from time to time, but it is always with just a dash more anxiety than when I can get the goods from Amazon. Being your customer's lesser favored vendor is not the best long term viability plan, I would submit.

    • I used to own four bookstores in Silicon Valley, Computer Literacy, one was the biggest computer bookstore in the world with 20,000 titles, academic books no one had.

      Each year a college student from Michigan would fly out to our store in San Jose and spend a couple days shopping for books. He'd rent a U-Haul that he parked in the parking lot and would drive it back to Michigan with his haul of books.

      His father Carl was a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan and a pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence. His mother was a computer science instructor.

      His name was Larry and eventually he moved to our area to attend Stanford and major in computer science. He and a friend there developed some search engine tech that they tried to sell for a million dollar$ to established search engine companies like Excite and Yahoo — big, hot companies. They didn't bite and a friend of mine who worked at Excite told me why: search was not supposed to be great because it wasn't profitable; it was supposed to keep you on their portal where they could display good ads.

      Discouraged, Larry and his friend Sergey tried to start their own search engine company but Yahoo and Excite were right, the business model was tough. A few people, like Jeff Bezos invested in it on the premise that you should invest in what you use. Eventually, Larry and Sergey caved on their founding principles and started to run text-based ads on their search engine and since then they have managed to eke out a living.

      Their new campus near our houzz sure is beautiful.

    • You certainly got to know a lot of very interesting people ( I got the reference).

      I was in Palo Alto in the early 1960s, and just watched a lot of political demonstrations and marches against the bomb. 🥺

      I recognize that Amazon ascent has not been without its adverse effects on many smaller businesses, including retail book vendors, and small towns. I can remember similar statements about Wal-Mart too back in the day.

      I need to wander through my local bookstore this spring if it still exists. I haven't been downtown for amost a year.

      Are we really going to see another version of the roaring 20's before this is all over again?