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20 Incredible Things You Never Knew About

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6. According to the new book by author Jeff Stone, in Amazon's early days a bell would ring in the office every time someone made a purchase.

Flickr: andwar / Via Creative Commons

Within a few weeks, sales were happening so frequently that they had to shut it off.

7. There was also a huge programming error in the early days that would let customers trick Amazon into sending them money.

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All you had to do was order a negative quantity of books and Amazon would credit the money to your credit card. That error has long since been fixed.


10. Amazon's practice of hiring so many seasonal workers originated after the insane holiday season of 1998.

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The company was so understaffed at the time that employees were working graveyard shifts and bringing in their family and friends to try to meet orders.


14. In developmental stages the Kindle was named "Fiona" after a character in The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson.

Bantam Spectra/

In the book Fiona possesses a book-like machine that holds all libraries, TV shows, and human knowledge. The development team found the name so appropriate that they lobbied to make it the device's actual name, but Bezos preferred Kindle.

16. Bezos is said to be a very tough boss, one who doesn't shy away from exploding at employees.

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Author Jeff Stone interviewed employees who alleged that Bezos said:

“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”

“I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”

“This document was clearly written by the B team. Can someone get me the A team document? I don’t want to waste my time with the B team document.”

“Why are you wasting my life?”

Damn, Jeff. That's cold, man!


18. Amazon once listed a book about flies for $23,698,655.93. / Via

Amazingly, another Amazon store listed the same book for more than $18 million. The prices spiraled out of control because both stores had set algorithms to ensure that their product was always priced slightly higher than the other's.

20. Despite being the CEO, Bezos only makes $81,840 per year.

Dave McNew / Via Getty Images North America

Before you feel bad for him, though, it should be mentioned that he owns almost 87 million shares in the company valued at about $23.5 billion. That makes him the 20th richest person in the world.

An earlier version was unclear and implied the book in No. 18 was sold, and not just listed. Also, in No. 19, it also said Amazon lost $120,000 per second, instead of minute.