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“Why Seattle?” I asked Bezos. With all the technology money washing through the city streets, and with all the startups taking form, I still couldn’t think of Seattle as a place where people came to make it big. “Because it is only one shipping day away from the country’s three largest book wholesalers,” Bezos answered, “and because there is a readily available supply of talented software engineers here. A great programmer can differ from a good programmer by a factor of 100.”

After a mere six months in business, Amazon was “growing ahead of our projections” and had already outgrown its space. Bezos and his programmers worked in their little suite while down in the basement of the building, in series of low-ceilinged rooms I had to stoop in order to walk through, legions of employees were frantically filling orders. Bezos already was looking for bigger quarters.

Early Amazon customers loved the site. Coming back to the office, I spent some time navigating through it again, and came upon a page entitled “What our customers are saying about us.” All of the messages there were from exuberant, enthusiastic customers astounded at their unbelievable luck. One comment in particular stood out, largely for its conciseness. “You guys,” it said, “are going to make a billion dollars.”

You just knew the correspondent was right. You could feel the massive good fortune in the offing as soon as you stepped into Amazon’s offices. And it just seemed so weird . A Microsoft, you would think, judging from history, might come along once in the life of a city—and then only if some massive technological shift is under way, like the deployment of electricity or telecommunications or the internal combustion engine, and if by fluke the person born to exploit it first happens to be living there. Now it looked like Seattle, not even 150 years old, was going to have two of them in ten years. The world was full of 1000-year-old cities that had never been through anything like this. Where would it end? How big could it possibly get? What was going to happen? Seattle had been through booms before, but this one was homegrown, and was going to be immeasurable by any normal Seattle scale. I sat there staring at the Amazon interface on the screen, getting what felt like a privileged glimpse into the future. It was a religious experience—I felt at once awestruck and fearstruck, the recipient of Revelation, unable to tell whether the grandeur confronting me was marvelous or horrifying.

I wrote an enthusiastic story about Amazon and its prospects, ending with that billion-dollar quote from that ecstatic customer, and went on with my primitive life at the Weekly . But I found myself returning again and again to that Internet-connected machine and going directly to Amazon’s site. I would sit there clicking directionlessly around on it for what seemed like hours at a time, reading the little descriptions of books, quotes from reviewers, reviews sent in by customers, reading again and again the little introductory essay about “Earth’s biggest bookstore” on Amazon’s home page, and brooding more and more obsessively about my prospects in my flat little world in relation to Amazon’s prospects in its burgeoning booming world of endless eternal instantly acquired prosperity. It was as if Microsoft had set off a chain reaction of nuclear proportions, and everybody that ventured into technology in Seattle now was going to be swept up in a firestorm of wealth.

One day, I saw at the bottom of the Amazon page a link I’d never noticed before: “Jobs at Amazon.com.” I clicked on it and looked dully at the long list that came up of positions for programmers and financial wizards—jobs demanding skills as foreign to me as the skills brain surgeons have. I felt like a logger forced to move from his denuded wilderness into a city, where he finds himself obsolete, unemployable, helpless, adrift, useless, ignored, scorned.

Then, at the bottom of the list, I saw a listing for “editor.” It took me forever to believe it was really there, and when I clicked on it and read the description—they wanted someone to read and write about books, supervise a staff of like-minded and -hearted people, good literature-loving souls every one, and collect a technology-industry salary and stock-options package into the bargain—I fell into a depressing trance. The newsroom noises around me faded to near-inaudibility, the ringing phones, clacking keyboards, conversations, whine of printers, rustle of papers all dissolving into a noisome indistinguishable background sludge while I pictured myself in an office alive with purpose, novelty, a sense of real mission, real possibility. The kind of experience the ad listed matched my own so perfectly that I felt called by it.

I sat and thought, sat and fantasized, sat and pictured myself in a new setting with new responsibilities and new dreams. In the near distance, I saw the day when I was no longer scrambling for money all the time. Then, as if awakening suddenly from deep dreamy sleep, I stood up and went off to talk to my boss.

Questions & Answers

What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
Mueller Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Seattle and the demons of ambition. OpenStax CNX. Oct 26, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10504/1.4
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