Jeff Bezos predictions from 20 years ago that were right on the money
Paige LeskinMar 17, 2019, 20:45 IST
AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser
Amazon has grown from an online bookseller to a domineering tech giant since it was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994.
Even when Amazon was young, Bezos had an extraordinary vision for the future of his company.
Here are some of the most accurate predictions Jeff Bezos made twenty years ago in 1999.
Twenty years ago, in 1999, Amazon was a five-year-old kindergartner startup navigating the early e-commerce market.
That didn't stop CEO Jeff Bezos from dreaming big, however. At the time, Amazon had just started to expand its offerings beyond books. But Bezos was already painting then-outlandish visions of his customer-first website becoming the one-stop marketplace for everything.
"We want to try and build a place where people can come to find and discover anything that they might want to buy online," Bezos said in an appearance on Charlie Rose's talk show.
"Strip malls are history."
Bezos predicted that physical storefronts would only survive if they could provide at least one of two core features: "entertainment value" or "immediate convenience."
"I'm a big believer in this notion of sort of appliances, that there'll be lots of little things that are connected to the Internet ... there'll be a whole bunch of things sort of connected to the network."
In 1999, Amazon and Barnes & Nobles were seen as direct competitors in the book-selling business. "I bet you a year from now they will not consider us direct competitors," Bezos told Wired. "Clearly they do today, but we're on different paths ... we're trying to invent the future of ecommerce, and they're just defending their turf."
"Advertising is also a very valid model on the 'net. They're going to be able to make their ads more meaningful to customers by better targeting your ads, something that's hard to do in broadcast."
"There's nothing more frustrating than having to wait two minutes for your computer to boot up ... by the time I've waited the two minutes, I've forgotten what I was going to do. So that's, I think, a very important technology. And people are working on it. That one's going to happen some time."
Wired's 1999 profile outlined the Amazon CEO's vision for 2020: "The vast bulk of store-bought goods — food staples, paper products, cleaning supplies, and the like — you will order electronically. "
Not every one of Bezos' predictions have been wholly accurate, though.