Jeff Bezos: Platforms, the Net Economy, and the Future of Reading

Jeff Bezos
We have two buckets of competitors: online world competitors and physical world competitors. It's very hard not to be inspired when you're looking at the Internet. When I started Amazon fourteen years ago, I was amazed by the speed of change. And I think it has accelerated.

All our new [cloud] services we built five years ago internally. We saw that huge amounts of time was spent on stuff that wasn't contributing to the customer experience. It just had to be done. So we tried to see if we could build a set of APIs between our own storage and networking guys, to improve efficiency.

The simple storage service is so simple, so basic: You send us data, and we send you an identifier. You send us an identifier, and we send you the data. And we thought, there should be a lot of companies that should like a service like that. And they did. And we thought, why not build this into a real business? And I think that no one really knows how big a business this could be.

I was recently in Luxembourg in an old brewery, that had an old electricity generator. They had it on display as a kind of museum thing. Since they couldn't get electricity, they had to learn to manage this instead of making better beer. But as soon as they could get reliable electricity from the power grid, they could concentrate on making beer instead.

About my space business? It is harder to get a sets of API to. It is a very integrated system. Everything is so close to the edge of maximum performance, that is needs close and hard integration. It is a vertical-take-off, vertical-landing rocket. It comes back and lands on its tail. No spaceship has ever done that, coming back to earth. I think it will be a few years before we have a commercial vehicle, that will take real astronauts into space.

Our vision for Kindle is that we'll have every book, ever printed or not printed, in every language, available within sixty seconds. We started to design the Kindle three years ago. The physical book has been in the same basic form in five hundred years. If Gutenberg came here, he would be astonished about printing and paper, but he would still recognize the book. With the Kindle it is something totally different - we have to start inventing. So we've tried to think of other things, that you can't do with a book, but that you can do with a Kindle.

Like looking up words that you don't know. Some of the flaws in the physical books are invisible to us, since we are used to them. Like the possibility to read one-handed. And that it is quieter than a book if you're lying beside a spouse.

What do we think of competition in this space? The reason electric companies are regulated, is that it is very impractical to run several sets of electrical poles in the city. I think that customer demand will drive availability and compatibility

It's really fun to be here. There are so many good things happening in this industry right now, and I'm very excited.

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