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How an email I sent to 1,000 turned Amazon into ‘the everything store’

With Amazon’s massive success today, it’s hard to imagine that Jeff Bezos started it in 1994 as an online bookseller — in a small garage where employees’ desks were made out of doors from Home Depot.

Now, there’s almost nothing you can’t buy on Amazon, which begs the question: How did it become “the everything store”?

‘We can sell anything’

In 1997, after Amazon made enormous strides into selling CDs and DVDs, Bezos wanted to see how else he could expand his online storefront.

“I emailed 1,000 randomly selected customers and asked them, ‘Besides the things we sell today, what would you like to see us sell?'” Bezos said in a 2018 interview at the Economic Club of Washington. The responses were all pretty lengthy, “but the way they answered the question was whatever they were looking for at that moment.”

The self-made billionaire recalled one person writing back, “windshield

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