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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

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
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.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit 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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