Jeff Bezos predictions from 20 years ago that were right on the money


jeff bezos 2002

  • 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. 

Flash forward to today and Bezos’ is the richest man in the world, worth more than $141 billion.

Here are 8 predictions Jeff Bezos made in 1999 that are right on the money:

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“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.

Bezos’ vision in 1999 has become a reality. A 2018 poll conducted by NPR and Marist found that online shoppers are most likely to start on Amazon — even before going on a search engine like Google.

“Strip malls are history.”

Malls across the U.S. have been closing due to the “retail apocalypse” that’s seen thousands of storefronts forced to shutter. A 2018 report from Credit Suisse estimated that 20 to 25% of malls would shut down over the next five years, indicating that there’s still more truth to Bezos’ quote from Wired.

Bezos predicted that physical storefronts would only survive if they could provide at least one of two core features: “entertainment value” or “immediate convenience.”

Bezos said “entertainment value”‘ is why places like movie theaters won’t die. “That experience is what you get when you go to movie theaters, and why you don’t always rent movies, right?” Bezos said to Wired.

Like he predicted, many malls and retailers have looked at these two paths to stay relevant. Some have transformed their stores to offer high-tech experiences to get customers into their brick-and-mortar locations.

Meanwhile, Bezos wanted a piece of that “immediate convenience” world for Amazon which spurred him to buy Whole Foods and experiment with other physical retail stores.

“You can take care of the last mile of delivery yourself at any time,” Bezos told Wired in 1999.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider