Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com by James Marcus

By James Marcus

The wonderful tale of the 1st 5 years of Amazon.com, mentioned by way of worker quantity 55.

"Americans with a watch cocked towards the markets have been requested to think that Amazon, a two-year-old bookseller, used to be worthy greater than the mixed values of Sears and US Steel."—from Amazonia

James Marcus used to be employed as a senior editor at Amazon.com in 1996, giving him a ringside seat for the company's explosive upward thrust and dismal wallet-busting swoon. Now—as the e-commerce monstrous makes an fabulous comeback—he tells all. not like the hot crop of dot.com memoirs, this is often no story of a bankrupt and brokenhearted entrepreneur. Marcus got here aboard as a self-described "token humanist," and his tackle the hot financial system juggernaut is predominantly a cultural one. Why, he asks, did Jeff Bezos's brainchild develop into the foremost image of web euphoria? How did the corporate swap because it morphed from a miniscule start-up to an international, multibillion-dollar leviathan? was once the internet breaking extra can provide than it saved? and eventually: What might an editor do to withstand being reworked right into a hyperventilating shill?
In answering those questions, Marcus takes us to conferences, task interviews, alternate indicates, and company retreats. We spend a freezing vacation season on the warehouse, and a significantly hotter afternoon on the company's summer time picnic—where Bezos himself mans the dunk tank. Amazonia is a piece of infrequent wit and razor-sharp statement, and a superlative advisor to America's misplaced international of the nineties.

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Then the thronged book party, with the inevitable people wearing black—it looked like the cheeriest possible wake—and David stood in the hallway near the lavatories, while people with stars in their eyes came to shake his hand, congratulate him, just stand close tilting drinks and look at him—he was pumping out glamour like a reactor. I watched him closely. I couldn’t imagine what he felt. This was more than it would ever have occurred to me to ask the world for. No, this was precisely the request I’d trained myself to stop making.

David thought books existed to stop you from feeling lonely. He’d come by this idea talking to Jonathan Franzen. Franzen said a sad, moving thing to me. He said losing David had been like watching a science fiction movie, when a small figure gets sucked out of the airlock. An abrupt, absolute, quiet disappearance. ” I don’t think the fact that David would be dead twelve years later changes what this meant to me. John Updike—and you’re about to watch or have watched already us argue like crazy about John Updike—once wrote that temporariness, the nature of things being provisional, shouldn’t disqualify them.

Happens to Aerosmith. But maybe not to Abba Eban. Shyness and arrogance often go hand in hand, I think. It’s more just, I can’t stand to look like I’m actively trading on this sexually. Even though of course that’s—I would be happy to do that. Betrayal of your work self to do that? Uhhhh, Let’s see … Did you think this would happen? No, but I had this fantasy. I had all these fantasies about … It’s so weird, ’cause most of the fame stuff dudn’t matter to me. ” Um, yeah. It would be a betrayal of the work self and you’re right.

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