You Used To Be Able To Order A Negative Quantity Of Books On Amazon And Get Paid Real Money


Noah Davis | Oct. 17, 2011, 5:17 PM

superman bezos

Image: Dylan Love

Jeff Bezos did not build Amazon into the giant it is today by moving slowly or being cautious.

He relied on speed, speed, speed.

Sometimes, however, that quickness led to mistakes.

For example, when Amazon launched, it wasn’t quit finished.

Predictably, something went wrong.

“We found that customers could order a negative quantity of books! And we would credit their credit card with the price and, I assume, wait around for them to ship the books,” Bezos tells Richard Brandt, who adapted his book “One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com” for a great Wall Street Journal profile.

The problem was quickly rectified.

There are some other excellent nuggets in the story as well.

In the beginning, they did not buy tables, so workers were packing boxes on their knees. Amazon was inundated with customer service requests, so Bezos held a two-day contest to see who could answer the most emails.

Slowly, inevitably, Amazon grew.

Lesson learned: Just ship and worry about the rest later.

[Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/when-amazon-launched-a-bug-allowed-users-to-get-paid-by-the-company-2011-10]

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