Bezos: Pimp My Segway
By Zachary Ozer
Jeff Bezos is a busy man. As founder of Amazon.com, he has seen the company’s product line grow from books to music, video, clothing, and even high-end jewelry. At the MIT Technology Review Emerging Technologies Conference last month, Mr. Bezos spoke on the company’s move into the realm of web services and the company’s choice to sell access to Amazon’s computational resources. After his address, The Tech got a moment of Mr. Bezos’s time during his walk to President Hockfield’s office.
The Tech: Jeff, before this meeting, I tried to look you up on Facebook, but I couldn’t see you. Do you look people up on Facebook before you meet them?
Jeff Bezos: No, I don’t use it.
TT: Really? So you’re not a Facebook stalker?
TT: Hmm … Well what about Wikipedia? Have you ever read your own article?
JB: I read it once a long time ago, but I’ve never edited it.
TT: I wish I had a Wikipedia article. I’ve also always wanted to wander down the aisles of one of your warehouses and just grab stuff. Have you ever done that? Ever wanted to?
JB: No. But I always wanted to drive a forklift. I used to do a lot of the packing and shipping myself. One day, I was at one of our sites and I asked the guys who worked there if I could drive the forklift. They had to think about it for a while because of all of the safety issues — destroying inventory, hurting people … They said, “Well …” Then, they took it outside and I got to drive the forklift.
TT: Speaking of driving, besides jewelry, one of the most expensive items on Amazon I could find is a $20,000 JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank. Do you have one?
JB: No, but I did see that there’s a diamond encrusted MP3 player (TrekStor i.Beat organix Gold MP3 Player) for $20,000. We’ve sold 3!
TT: Any 1-Clicks?
JB: (Laughs) I don’t know, I’ll have to check.
TT: But seriously, about the tank, is it for real? Because the name, Badonkadonk…
JB: I don’t know.
TT: Ok, so you don’t have a tank, but I’ve heard you have a Segway.
JB: I do. I have one at work.
TT: Have you ever wished Xzibit would pimp your Segway?
JB: (Looks puzzled)
TT: You know, the MTV show with the rapper … Well, anyways, would you consider sending it off to get spinners put on on it?
JB: (Thinks) Maybe. Segway personalization … There might be a market for that.
TT: I’d 1-click a Jeff Bezos Special Edition diamond encrusted Segway with 24’s on the feet.
TT: We’re running out of time, so let me skip to a serious question. If you were in charge of computer science curricula for the entire United States, what’s the one class you’d make mandatory and why? Mind you, this doesn’t have to be a CS class, it could be history or something.
JB: That’s a good question … I need to think about that for a second. (Thinks) I’d say that freshly-minted CS’s should know something about designing large scale databases, ones with millions of transactions. It’d be a fun class to teach.
TT: Jeff, thanks so much for your time.