Many Entrepreneurs have a dream of starting a business and reaching a point where they have a good customer base and can make a comfortable living. But I wonder if Jeff Bezos had any idea that the beginnings of his home-based business would lead him to become one of the richest men in the world with an estimated net worth of $80 billion dollars.
Founded on July 5th, 1994 in Bellevue, Washington, Jeff launched the company as Cadabra LLC and registered the website URL Cadabra.com. Bezos’s first Lawyer, Todd Tarbert felt that the name was too obscure and people calling on the phone might mishear the company name as Cadaver. Later that summer, as Jeff was brainstorming other website name ideas, he also registered Awake.com, Browse.com, as well as the Bookmall.com. In September of 1994, he also registered the URL, Relentless.com which is still owned by Amazon today.
Started in a 1,500 sq. ft. rental home, in Bellevue, Washington with his two-car garage being the first warehouse and office. The house is located within a five-minute drive of where Bill and Melinda Gates live on Lake Washington in Medina, Washington.
Jeff initially started with an investment of $10,000 in his company, but need to hire additional employees and programmers to get his business started; he had to ask for extra financial help. In 1995, his parents made an investment of $100,000 in his startup. Jeff told his parents there was the possibility of losing all of their money. He let his parents know what the risks were because he still wanted to come home for Thanksgiving if the company failed. His parents, however, were not betting on the business, but on Jeff.
In Late 1994, Jeff was brainstorming as he grabbed a dictionary, looking for other names that might be a better fit than the placeholder, Cadabra.com. A few days later he walked into his garage where he announced to his partners of the company new website name of Amazon.com and registered it on November 1st, 1994. Being that he wanted Amazon to be the biggest bookstore in the world, naming it after the largest river in the world made sense. (One note, on our tour we had talked about Jeff having to purchase Amazon.com from somebody else. But after further research, we discovered he was the original registrar of the domain)
Eventually, they outgrew the garage and located the business above a Color Tile in Seattle’s SoDo district and quickly outgrew that location and moved a few blocks North, across the Street from the Starbucks world headquarters is located today. This is where Pecos Pit BBQ is located.
Today the Amazon campus is a vibrant area of activity in downtown Seattle with over 30,000 employees and over 4,000 dogs coming to work with their owners every day.
Photo above is the first planting in the biosphere, courtesy of the City of Seattle.
Amazon even has biosphere offices that will house over 400 species of plants and will have a controlled environment similar to that in Costa Rica. The Spheres will have space for about 800 employees with no enclosed offices or conference rooms. Instead, it will be wide open across the five different levels.
Fast forward to today and Amazon now employs over 340,000 people worldwide with revenue of over $130 billion. And to think it all started with a dream and beginning in his two-bedroom rented home.
If you’d like to learn more about Amazon and our great city, take a tour with us on your next visit to Seattle.