The Everything Store is the story of Amazon, from its founding by Jeff Bezos as an online bookstore to its rise as a commerce giant. The book also covers a number of Amazon and Bezos’s management techniques.
Unlock the full book summary of The Everything Store by signing up for Shortform .
Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:
Here's a preview of the rest of Shortform's The Everything Store summary:
The Everything Store is the story of Amazon, from its founding as an online bookstore to its rise as a commerce giant.
The book covers the book roughly chronologically, going out of sequence to group themes together into chapters, such as its culture and innovation problems in the early 2000s and its...
1964: Jeff Bezos is born to a circus unicycler (Ted Jorgensen, then 18) and Jacklyn Gise (then 16).
June 1965: Jacklyn Gise files for divorce after Jorgensen is unable to hold a job and is an inattentive father. She soon meets Miguel Bezos, a Cuban emigrant, working at the Bank of New Mexico.
1968: Jackie moves with Jeff and Miguel to Houston, where Miguel has a job as a petroleum engineer at Exxon. They later have two more children, Christina and Mark.
Jeff Bezos is a standout student in a gifted program in elementary school, which receives excess mainframe computer capacity from a local company. They learn how to program.
July 1994: The new company needs a name.
Early 1995: Bezos’s parents invest $100,000 in Amazon. Bezos tells them there is a 70% chance they would lose it all: “I want you to know what the risks are, because I still want to come home for Thanksgiving if this doesn’t work.”
Spring 1995: Amazon has a beta website and sends links to friends and colleagues. The slogan: “One million titles, consistently low prices.”
June 1996: Amazon raises $8 million from Kleiner Perkins and John Doerr at a valuation of $60 million.
"I LOVE Shortform as these are the BEST summaries I’ve ever seen...and I’ve looked at lots of similar sites. The 1-page summary and then the longer, complete version are so useful. I read Shortform nearly every day."
Spring 1999: Amazon’s stock price falls in half from April to May. Investors are questioning Amazon’s widening losses and its ability to ever reach profitability. Typical critical viewpoints are represented by Barron’s “amazon.bomb” article:
March 2001: Amazon considers whether distribution is a commodity or a core competency.
Spring 2001: Bezos meets Costco founder Jim Sinegal, who changes Bezos’s mind on pricing.
This period is marked by continuous innovation by Amazon. Many of Amazon’s biggest businesses and features today were developed during this period.
July 2002: Amazon launches Amazon Web Services, a slim shadow of its current form.
In this period, Amazon’s retail flywheel gains formidable momentum, and its experimental projects start yielding fruit.
August 2005: Bezos meets with Zappos execs (Tony Hsieh, Alfred Lin, Michael Moritz, Nick Swinmurn) and announces the intention of acquiring Zappos.
With Shortform, you can:
Access 1000+ non-fiction book summaries.
Access 1000+ premium article summaries.
Take notes on your
Read on the go with our iOS and Android App.
Download PDF Summaries.
January 2011: Amazon acquires Lovefilm for around $300 million.
2011: Knifemaker Wusthof decides to end its relationship with Amazon after a torturous relationship. (This is a good place to discuss Amazon’s general friction with manufacturers.)
Throughout the historical narrative, the book also discusses company values that Jeff Bezos tirelessly emphasized to his team. We’ve compiled the most important company values here, with representative quotes and anecdotes illustrating the value in action.
Bezos is known for his relentless focus on customer satisfaction.
“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.”
A number of Amazon’s management practices have become well known. Here is a profile of the ones mentioned in the book.
Bezos dislikes Powerpoint for allowing people to “hide between bullet points” and avoiding complete expression of thoughts. Instead, he requires people to write presentations in prose. New product releases require a mock press release, to start with what the customer would see and work backward. Meetings start with everyone reading the document for 15 minutes.
“Each hire should raise the bar for the next hire, so that the overall talent pool is always improving.”
All participants in the hiring process give one of four ratings: strong no hire, inclined not to hire, inclined to hire, strong hire. A senior interviewer, called a “bar raiser” talks to the candidate last and makes a final judgment on the hire. These are employees who have proven themselves to be intuitive recruiters of talent.
Amazon’s 1994 hiring ad: “You must have experience designing and building large and complex systems, and you should be able to do so in about one-third the time that most competent people think possible.”