Amazon is a well-known established internet based-retailer popularly known for its kindle and as a home for selling and shipping almost anything and everything made under the sun that can be legally bought online.
Amazon’s story as a start-up is one of the inspiring start-ups stories that makes most venture capitalist and silicon valley entrepreneurs think along the line, “Oh yeah, if Amazon did that, we too can do it!”
However, very few people know much about the humble beginnings of this massive online retailer.
Amazon.com generated over 88 billion U.S dollars in 2014 and according to Alexa.com, it ranks #7 in the list of the top 500 most visited websites in the world, right next to giants like Google and Facebook.
Very impressive, right? And because Amazon.com is such a wildly successful company, we’ve put together a list of 14 weird, fun and interesting things that everybody ought to know about amazon.com. You’ll love it!
Table of contents
- Stands By Its Two Pizza Rule
- Troublemaker Do Well
- Has Plenty of Subsidiaries
- Interesting Logo Reference
- Keeps Employees Busy
- Less Than 5 Years
- Hires Temporary Workers
- Bought Kiva Systems
- MTurk Performs Human Tasks
- Fair share of Failures
- Publishes Customer Reviews
- Amazon Prime Is a Huge
- One Hour Delivery
- Self Publishing Options
Starting a business can be an exciting decision that at the same time, can be a very daunting task.
You know why it’s daunting?
Just imagine the countless number of start-ups that have failed, leaving the owners in tatters.
That’s daunting, but there is something more impressive!
Imagine being able to start a business and develop it into world-conquering brand. A brand that then become a household name. Stop imagining. That is the story behind Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com
Although for most people, it’s very daunting to start a business because of the grim reality that most start-ups fail, the fact still remains that some start-ups have grown to become blue chip companies.
Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos in his Seattle, Washington garage
And because Jeff Bezos didn’t want to regret later for not participating sooner in the dot-com goldrush, he left his employment and started Amazon during the time of the Internet business boom.
At first, Amazon didn’t sell everything as a startup. It was only selling books.
Eventually it started to sell everything under the sun.
This was the period of dot-com bubble.
When the dot-com bubble eventually burst, Amazon had already become a public company and surprisingly, it survived while other e-companies were being destroyed by the dot-com bubble burst.
This proves that Amazon’s success is not as a result of being founded at the right time.
Currently, Amazon.com is the largest Internet-based retailer in the U.S.
When it comes to online shopping, Amazon.com is one of the most recognizable names in the business.
Amazon has a brand is recognized by people from all walks of life.
- Key Lesson: Brand names are very important online
No matter how many entrepreneurs have tried to copy Amazon’s business model, most people are distrustful of online stores. Amazon.com has proven that it can provide a safe and bountiful shopping experience for people from all walks and backgrounds around the world.
Presently, Amazon.com has separate websites for the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, China, Australia, India, the Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Italy and Mexico.
Amazon is known for its web hosting, content distribution and online shopping services. In fact, the company is so popular that it brought in over 88 billion in revenue during the year ending 2014.
Amazon.com Is An Intriguing Company
Indeed, there are many different interesting facts about Amazon.com that most people are not aware of.
Did you know that in 1995 the company just had two warehouses with a combined square footage of 400 feet and by 2011, that amount had grown to 25 million square feet?
Today, almost every hardcover and kindle books bought and sold online is from Amazon.com
These are just a few of the things that will intrigue you about Amazon.com. And because we think you love shopping at Amazon.com as much as we do, we’ve scavenged the internet to bring to you 14 interesting and bizarre things you ought to know bout Amazon.com:
1.) Amazon Still Stands By Its Two Pizza Rule
Too much communication is a bad thing according to Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. Teams should not have more members than what two pizzas can feed.
This means that teams should never have any more than five to seven members each. He wants teams to be small enough to interact with one another.
He believes that the larger the group, the more the communication process will decrease. You can’t possibly talk to everyone in a group if new members are constantly being added.
Jeff Bezos does not think that larger teams are supportive. Actually, members start to feel that everyone does not have the same amount of input on a larger team.
Strong leadership is the foundation of a successful business
2.) Troublemaker Employees Do Well At Amazon
He believes that it stunts the growth of creativity whenever no one is willing to think outside of the box and question the norm.
Thinking differently gets the creative juices flowing, and this is what the CEO wants. He wants you to be a strong minded person who is willing to stand up for what you believe, even if others do not see your vision.
Workers who challenge things are the most successful at Amazon.com.
3.) Amazon Has Plenty Subsidiaries
Amazon.com has acquired plenty of companies over time such as Shelfari, AbeBooks, Audible.com, Diapers.com, Goodreads, Alexa.com and Box Office Mojo.
However, one of its most publicized acquisitions was Zappos.com. In 2009, Amazon acquired Zappos for 1.2 billion via an all stock deal. Zappos shareholders traded their equity in Zappos for shares of Amazon stock.
Zappos is one of the most popular online shoe and clothing stores in the world. Even though it is owned by Amazon, the company still operates independently.
The strangest fact about this acquisition is that Zappos had a completely different company environment from Amazon.
It treated its employees very well, which is sometimes not the case with Amazon. Employees of Zappos always came first. The company even paid its employees’ health premiums.
$1,000 Amazon gift card would be enough to upgrade my computer.
I will use the the Amazon gift card to buy a new computer. The joy of getting a high end computer is difficult to describe. I am sure though, that anyone who is into PC building, gaming or simple an hardware enthusiast understands exactly how it feels like.
How about you...
4.) The Amazon Logo Has a Very Interesting Reference
Even though Amazon.com is a very recognizable and popular company, most people do not recognize the reference that is made in the company’s logo.
Look closely at the logo. The arrow stretches and points from “A” to “Z”. Why, point only a to z?
This is pretty clever. Right? This is to suggest that Amazon sells everything from “a” to “z”, and that it is as huge as the Amazon forest.
Back when Amazon first started, websites were put in alphabetical order. Having a company website that began with the letter “a” would have been a very strategic move.
In addition, the name relentless.com was also a favorite pick. As a matter of fact, if you go to the relentless.com page, it will redirect you to Amazon.com.
5.) Amazon Demands Plenty from Its Employees
The company is very fast paced, and it demands plenty of effort from its workers. As of 2014, it has 154,100 employees.
Amazon has a big reputation for keeping its employees extremely busy.
Amazon.com employees are responsible for unpacking, inspecting and putting products into storage. They’re also responsible for loading inventory for shipment, and shipping.
In the very beginning, the company had a small staff, but it still had to fill orders. During 1998, the company experienced its first busy Christmas season.
Unfortunately, there were not enough employees to fill the orders. This meant that workers had to work double shifts and weekends. Employees were known to sleep in their cars because it was so busy.
It has been said that Bezos expected workers to work a minimum of 60 hours a week back during those days. As a matter of fact, one worker was so busy that his car was towed and auctioned off. He failed to read the notices that were placed on his car.
Also, in 2011, the fulfilment warehouse in Upper Macungie Township was often too hot for workers to perform their jobs.
A couple of workers passed out from heat exhaustion, and OSHA had to step in. This resulted in Amazon installing new air conditioners in order to improve working conditions.
6.) Many of Amazon’s First Employees Worked for the Company Less Than 5 Years
Shel Kaphan, the first employee and Vice President of Research and Development, worked for the company for five years.
He left the company when his title was changed. Paul Davis, the main developer for the Amazon.com website worked with the company for two years.
Nicolas Lovejoy, the man who developed the idea for Amazon’s warehouse packing tables only worked with the company for three years.
Lauren Canan, one of the first top operations supervisors only worked with Amazon.com for three years.
Eric Benson, the engineer that created the system that recommends products based upon your previous purchases, was employed with Amazon for five years.
Many of Amazon’s First Employees Worked for the Company Less Than 5 Years
7.) Amazon Generally Hires Just Temporary Workers
Although there are Amazon employment opportunities, the company generally hires temporary workers, which serves two purposes for Amazon.
It allows them to keep up with the ever changing demand of customer orders, which can change seasonally. It also gives them the opportunity to try out new employees before hiring them for permanent positions.
It is also believed that because of Amazon’s work environment, temporary workers won’t complain as much about their work conditions.
This is because temporary workers want to be model workers so that they can be hired on permanently.
8.) Amazon Bought Kiva Systems for Its Robotics Expertise
Before the Kiva acquisition,
Warehouse worker probably had to walk the equivalent of ten miles a day through the warehouse to fulfill orders.
But since the acquisition, it has greatly improved and automated the order fulfillment process at Amazon.
Amazon.com buys companies to become more profitable and streamline many of its operations.
Kiva Systems is an example of such company.
Kiva is a robotics company that makes warehouses run more smoothly. Robotic forklifts drive products to workhouse workers.
That way, Amazon workers don’t have to spend too much time walking the length of the warehouse to find products.
The robotic forklifts are tracked by a main computer so that they don’t run into each other on the warehouse floor.
9.) Amazon’s MTurk Performs the Company’s Numerous Human Tasks
Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is an internet marketplace where people and businesses can place work orders for workers to fill. Most of these jobs are small tasks that cannot be computerized.
The site has an artificial intelligence theme.
The jobs are actually known as HITs, which is short for Human Intelligence Tasks.
The people who perform these job tasks are called providers.
The people or businesses that place job orders are called requesters.
Providers must take tests and pass to qualify for jobs that are in the marketplace.
Providers cannot apply for certain jobs within MTurk unless they are qualified for that job. Providers apply for and complete certain jobs, and are paid via an Amazon.com gift card or via a bank account deposit.
Amazon.com gets a 10 percent commission for tasks completed on Amazon Mechanical Turk
10.) Amazon Also Has Experienced a Few Failures
Two of the most notable ones have been Block View and its eBay copycat auction website. Each of these ideas bombed horribly.
Block View was similar to Google’s current Street View. It made it possible for customers to see street views of various restaurants and stores. It first launched in 2004, and it ended as soon as 2006.
11.) Amazon Publishes Positive and Negative Reviews from Customers
When you go through products on Amazon.com, you’ll realize that customers have posted their reviews and also rated them.
The reviews from customers are meant to help new customers to make an informed decision before buying any particular product on Amazon.com.
However, Amazon.com being the largest source of reviews from customers, there are cases where public relations from companies post positive reviews on behalf of customers.
There are also cases where rival competitors use pseudonyms to post negative reviews on the products of their competitor.
Nonetheless, most of the reviews on Amazon.com are genuine and helpful since they’re posted by customers who have bought and used the product.
12.) Amazon Prime Is a Huge Success
Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Are you looking for a good deal to cut down on shipping costs and delivery time on your every day orders fulfilled by Amazon.com? Try Amazon Prime
If you’re a regular Amazon shoppers, frequent online shoppers or love streaming movies and videos online, here is how Amazon Prime may save you money:
You get one full year of unlimited access to eBooks, watch unlimited movies and music and enjoy FREE two-day shipping when you sign up for one month free trial
Amazon Prime launched in 2005.
It allows members to get free two-day shipping on all products if they pay an annual fee (Amazon Prime member fee). Back in 2005, this Amazon Prime membership fee was $79.
Amazon Prime also allows members to get discounts on one-day shipping.
Amazon Prime members also have access to Amazon Instant video/movies, Prime Photos, Prime Music and access to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.
At first this program was only available in the United States, but it is now offered in Italy, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Amazon Prime membership cost has been increased by 25% since the service first launched back in 2005.
One hour delivery service is available on Manhattan Island.
The program is known as Amazon Prime Now.
The regular service is free, and it guarantees delivery within 2 hours. The regular service hours are from 6am to 12am. But if customers want merchandise to be delivered in one hour, it will cost an additional $7.99.
The products available on this program are basic household goods.
14.) Authors Can Use CreateSpace and Kindle for Self Publishing Books
Authors can explore options for self publishing print books via Amazon’s CreateSpace platform.
CreateSpace is Amazon’s self publishing platform that allows writers to create their own print books and videos and make them available to Amazon without having to worry about inventory or shipping books.
Authors get to use free tools to publish their books.
Authors get to choose different editing, design and distribution services..
There are various options for royalty payments for commissions earned once a book is sold.
Authors can also explore options for self publishing eBooks on the Kindle platform. Once the book is written it only takes about five minutes to get the book published.
It can be up and running on the Amazon website and ready to sell to the public within one to two days.
Authors are able to earn as much as 70% commission on eBooks. Books are available for sale in India, Spain, Brazil, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries as well.
You can set your own prices and make changes to books any time that you please. You also have the option to choose royalty payments of either 70 or 35 percent.