Bezos (2023) - full transcript

Bezos chronicles the true-life story of Jeff Bezos-a humble yet awkward entrepreneur on his mission to create Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce company, and turning himself into the richest man in the world.

Five, four...

Command engine start.

Two, one. Ignition.

Oh, yeah, look at her go!

Mission control has confirmed
New Shepard has cleared

the tower on her way to
space from Launch Site One

in the west Texas desert with
Mannequin Skywalker on board.

I was born into great wealth.

Not monetary wealth,

but the wealth of
a loving family.

A family that
fostered my curiosity

and encouraged me to dream big.

My mom, Jackie, had me
when she was 17 years old.

My dad's name is Miguel. He
adopted me when I was four.

He was 16 when he came
to the United States

from Cuba, shortly
after the Castro Regime.

My dad didn't speak English

and he did not
have an easy path.

What he did have was
grit and determination.

Together, with my grandparents,

these hard-working,

resourceful, and loving
people made me who I am.

I walked away from a
steady job on Wall Street

into a Seattle garage
to pursue my dream,

fully understanding
that it might not work.

It feels just like yesterday
I was driving packages

to the post office myself,

dreaming that one day we
might afford a forklift.

You earn trust
slowly, over time,

doing hard things well.

We offer fast shipping
and everyday low prices.

We make promises
to our customers

that we intend to keep.

We make principled decisions,

however unpopular, and
our approach is working.

Jeff, David just asked
about you, let's go.

- We're late.
- Shit!

Oh, my goodness, how
are you always late?

'Cause I'm always working.

Let's see how well that
excuse works on David.

- Is this a sleeping bag?
- No.

You do know that
that's a poor answer

to tell me that
that's a jump bag

instead of a sleeping bag

when you have a pillow
sticking out of it?

- You believe it.
- Come on, man.

Okay, here we go.

Mr. Bezos, thanks
for joining us.

You mean, I had a choice?

Back to what we
were talking about.

Look, we're not
gonna spend all day

talking about how
great our quarter was.

Our numbers are fine,

but that's not what
we're gonna do.

We wanna talk about
how we're gonna move

the business forward, right?

So, I wanted to spend a
little time going over

an idea that Anton and
his team brought us.

Let's put it up on the
board. Online brokerage.

The idea that we would
actually start transacting

completely online.

Where consumers can go
on and instantaneously

execute a trade.

Now, I think all of you
are kind of wondering

how it's gonna affect
us on the fee side,

and there's gonna be less fee,

but there's also gonna
be less cash going out.

That's a win-win for
everybody, isn't it?

As we move forward, I
wanna see good ideas,

the next big idea.

Does that make sense to you?

And remember one thing:

It's all about the data.

I don't know, I just...

feel like I'm in a rut.

Sometimes like I don't want
to get back into writing.

You should, 100%.

Yeah, but there's
no money in that.

Could be.

You're an amazing
writer, you know that.

You're my husband,
you have to say that.

I'm serious!

Some of the stuff you've written

just makes me want to cry.

- Ugh.
- And I have several times.

Oh, stop.

You're amazingly
talented. You know that.

Thank you.

It's just easier said
than done sometimes.

With the job and all, I just
don't have as much time for it.

And it's not like I
don't love my job,

I'm so grateful for
the opportunity, but...

I never imagined myself
as a glorified secretary.

You're not a secretary.

You're a novelist
trapped in a boring job,

believe me, I know.

Yeah. VP of the
company understands.

Things are good right now,

but I always pictured I'd
start a business or something.

Never thought that I'd just end
up as another hedge fund guy.

Well, what's stopping you?

Just gotta be there.

No, seriously,

what's... what's stopping you
from starting your own company?

A business idea.

There's the logistics,
the supply chain,

I... I don't know
the first thing

about getting a
business off the ground.

Plus, I have a steady job,
why would I risk that?

No, no. Forget that!

You can get another
job if you wanted to.

I mean, with a mind like yours,

you'd get hired
anywhere in an instant.


If you wanna start
your own company,

you should go for it.

You're right. You're right.

No more excuses.

And there is something.

I read an article the other day.

Did you know that the internet
is growing at 2,300% a year?

Holy shit, that's a lot.

Yeah. That's an understatement.
Nothing grows at 2,300%.



I mean, that's the
million-dollar idea, I guess.

It's... It's numbers, really,

but if I could find a way
to capitalize on it...

I mean, imagine if
we started a business

and in its first year did
a million dollars in sales

and grew 2,300%.

That means its second
year would do $23 million,

and then if it
grew another 2,300%

it would do $529 million
in its third year.

- Wow.
- Yeah.

Could be the idea
David's been looking for.

Well, are you gonna
tell him about it?

Not yet. I don't even know
what we're gonna sell.

Whatever it is...

it could be big.

Move! First time in New York?

- Jeff! Jeff!
- One quick minute.

Jeff, he's on a call!

A great opportunity.

I'd... It'd be a real honor.


I agree.

- What is this?
- Tomorrow's best idea.

Okay, Tom, let me
give you a call back,

something just came up, okay?

Hey, thanks so much.

That was a friend
at the White House.

President's asking me
to be on his council

for science and technology.

- Congratulations.
- Well, it's important, right?

But obviously not as
important as this.

Tell me something that grows
at a 2,300% annual growth rate.

Outside of petri
dishes, nothing.

Forget about it, keep
reading. Right there.

That's a month's
work, right there.

Jeff, if you don't
shut the fuck up

it's gonna take me
a month to read it.

Forget about it. Let
me bottom line it.

- Books.
- Books? That's your idea?

It's tomorrow's best idea.

The one you've been looking for.

Jeff, I haven't been
looking for books. In fact,

I don't even know what the
fuck you're talking about.

- Have you gotten any sleep?
- Let me explain it to you.

See, millions of copies of
books are published every year

and... and millions
more internationally,

but a physical store can only
carry several thousand books.

Well, that's true
of any retailer.

Right, take Barnes & Noble.

$1.6 billion a year in sales.

But any physical
Barnes & Noble store

only has thousands of copies.

Now, add several of
Barnes & Noble stores,

and you still have
thousands of copies.

But there's potentially
millions of copies

that could be sold, but
not in a physical store.

Now, imagine a virtual store

that was open 24 hours a
day, seven days a week,

and could carry an
infinite amount of books,

potentially every book
that ever existed.

Jeff, do me a favor.

Go wash up, shave,

and that sleeping
bag that you have?

Go take a little nap.

And I want you to meet me in
the park in an hour, okay?

- You clean up nice.
- Thanks, David.

You know, it's a great
idea with a good plan.

I'm so relieved
you... You liked it.

I mean, with 76...

Take a look at that
guy over there.

Now take a look at that guy.

Which one do you
think's happier?

- The one with the hotdog.
- Why do you say that?

He's living for the moment.

Does that mean that the
other guy's miserable? Right?

Maybe. Yeah.

Let's jump ahead
20 years to 2014.

Who do you think's
gonna be happier,

the guy eating hotdogs that
didn't plan for his future

or the guy who
worked his ass off

to get where he wanted to go?

People always make
the same mistake.

They focus on short-term
goals instead of planning

for the future, instead
of planning for the future

and using a short-term
strategy to execute it.

You're the youngest
vice president

of the fastest growing
hedge fund in America.

You make a six-figure salary.

Your coworkers respect you,

and you want to throw all of
that away to, what, sell books?

I thought you liked
the idea, David.

I do like the idea.

I actually think
it's a great idea,

but it's not for me,

and I definitely don't
think it's for you.

Jeff, you're brilliant
and you're ambitious

and I love that about you,

but, ultimately, you have
to think bigger, okay?

You have a career to grow,
and you have places to go

and you have a family
to take care of

and your wife wants
to move your...

Your whole family forward.

But I don't think that's
gonna happen with your plan.

Okay? Let's head out.

Well, what Alisson
should know...

What is internet, anyway?

Internet is that massive
computer network.

Starting your own business
is one of the most

challenging things you can do.

The risk often
outweighs the rewards,

but I'm telling you, if
you know what you're doing

and you got nothing to lose,

then why not, right?

That's because fear... fear
is what runs the human heart.


But if you got the guts
to face what's ahead...

- When'd you get home?
- A little while ago.

I didn't have two
pennies to rub together.

But I didn't let it slow
me down, you know why?

I'll tell you why.
When I was a kid,

I used to caddy at
this country club.

And every morning...

Brought some take
out. You hungry?

Those biscuits will
ruin your dinner.

- What'd you get?
- Chinese.

So... you gonna tell me why
you left work early today?

No reason.

Oh, come on, I know you
had your pitch with David

and look at you, you're
wallowing in self-pity.

No, I'm not.

Jeff, you're a terrible liar.

He's not interested, okay?

Well, why not?

He said it was a great idea,

just not for the
company or for me.

What the hell's that
supposed to mean?

It means I shouldn't be
taking risks like this.

And he asked me, would I risk
everything for this idea?

And, honestly, I wouldn't.

Well, why wouldn't
you risk it all?

I don't think the risk
is worth the opportunity.

I have a steady career,
we have a family.

What if we wanna
have kids one day?

I can't be living with
this kind of risk.

Whoa, whoa, hold
up there, cowboy.

Listen, if we wanna have kids,

we'll discuss that
in the future.

Later on down the line.

As for your job, you
can get another one.

You're Jeff Bezos,

the youngest VP in the
history of D.E. Shaw.

You really think this
is your only opportunity

for a good job in the future?

Hell no!

Whatever it is you choose to do,

you're going to
be incredible at.

I know it.

And if this is something
that you wanna do,

then I believe in you.

And you need to
believe in yourself,

'cause you're not just someone
who takes unnecessary risks,

you're someone who... who
looks at the possibilities,

runs the numbers,

and then takes the chances
that are worth taking!

You said to think about
the future, right?

Is D.E. Shaw really
what you envision

for the rest of your life?

Regret... minimization.


Regret minimization framework.

I need to minimize
the amount of regrets

that I'm gonna have by age 80.

Okay, that's... That's
one way to look at it.

See, I'm not gonna regret being
a part of this Internet thing,

but I will regret not trying,
and if it fails, who cares?

I'm not living my
life in regret.

So, you're gonna go for it?

Yeah, we're going for it!

All right, Internet man!
So, what's our next move?

We're quitting our jobs.

I'm sorry. We?

Yeah. I'm not doing
this without you.

And we're not starting
a business venture here.

- I need you.
- But... But...

We can do this.

It's gonna be okay.

We have savings, we're
gonna be together.

You can have time to write.

It's gonna work out.

- Okay. Okay, I'm in.
- Okay? Doing it?

- We're doing it.
- We're doing it!

- You're amazing.
- I'm so excited for us.

This is gonna work.

- I'm scared, but I'm excited.
- I'm scared, too!


Hey, it's Jeff Bezos.

Yeah, MacKenzie's great.
I'm starting a new business.

We're gonna sell
on the Internet.

Yeah, Warren, Internet.


Yeah. You have a modem, right?

Yeah, you're gonna
go online and buy.

You know how you said
if I ever had a big idea

to call you and...
and, um... This is it.

We're starting a website.


Yeah, Nancy. Okay.

Hmm. We don't have
a name for it yet.


A million dollars?

Yeah, Bill, the valuation
isn't determined yet.

We don't know what the
profit margins are gonna be.

No. I'm working on
the business plan.

No, I've never started
a business before.

That's the point,
it's called a startup.

How about instead of saying
it's a startup business,

why don't you tell them it's
an investment opportunity?

If you just invest $50,000...

Yeah. Listen, David.
It's going to be big.

We're still working on the plan,

but... but we'd
love to invite you

to be one of the
first investors.

What do you mean I'd
make a terrible CEO?

How much is it?


Can't even start a
business with that.

No, that can't be,

we must've called
over 60 people today.

And half of them said no.

Maybe we can get a loan?

No bank is gonna lend us
money. We're a startup.

What do we do, then?

I don't know.

Let's go.

- You sure about this?
- It's our only option.

But it's up to you.

All right.

There you are! Oh!

- Hey, Mom.
- You made it!

Why didn't you give
us some warning?

I... I would've rolled
out the red carpet.

You know me,
spontaneous to a fault.

Did you hear that?

He's about as spontaneous
as a stopwatch.

Oh, you look exhausted.
Well, come on in, come in.

- Oh, Mike, they're here!
- Oh, my God!

That's my boy. Oh, welcome!

So good to see you!
You look great!

So happy you guys
made it, look at this!

- Hey, Dad.
- Welcome.

This is so great
you guys are here!

Feels so good when you're here,

thank you so much, you guys,
for coming. Gonna be great.

Okay, I've gotta ask,

is he still totally unorganized?

- Mom!
- Yes.

You know, when he was a kid,
he used to be just like that.

He had so many inventions,
remember, Mike,

up in his room that we finally
had to turn over the garage

- to make it your workshop!
- Thanks, Mom.

Oh, Mike, would you take the
luggage? Take their luggage.

We're gonna have a good
time, we're so happy.

- Thank you. All right.
- Thank you.


- Oh, my gosh, is that you?
- It's me.

That is such a cute photo.

A lot of memories, eh?

Ah! We're so happy
you guys are here.

- Let's sit, sit, come on.
- Let's go.

So, is it happening? Are
we gonna be grandparents?

- No.
- No.

- Oh!
- Not yet.

This is a great time
for you, you are so busy

and you're doing so many
great things, it's better

to keep working now, have
the kid when you're ready.

How's work?

Actually... we quit our jobs.

- You quit?
- Yeah.

Both of you guys?

- Yep.
- Yep.

Did you have a fight with David?

No, things are fine
with David, you know,

I think he's one of the
smartest people I know,

and somebody that uses
both sides of his brain.

But, um, just, an
opportunity came up

that we just couldn't pass up.

So, you got another offer?

No, Mom, um...

We're actually starting
a business online.

On the Internet.
Selling books.

The Internet?

So, the Internet, it's a
vast network of computers

that communicate with each
other and transfer information,

so why couldn't this network
be used to conduct commerce?

And we've identified
the potential

of selling books through
the Internet as a business.

Well, why would you
want to do that?

Why wouldn't you
just go to the store?

A physical store can
never have every book

that ever existed.

And our virtual store could
potentially have every book

and we'll just ship it to you.


And plus, the internet's
growing at 2,300% a year.

Well, how do you know that?

Well, we've found
several analyst reports

and we've been identifying
other businesses

that... that have seen that
kind of growth and we believe

we can achieve
that selling books.

I don't know, guys, I think
this seems really risky.

Couldn't you, like,
do this on nights

and weekends, and
keep your current job?


Mom, we... we already
quit our jobs.

And... we'll regret not
trying this business.

That's actually why we're here.

We were hoping that you both
would consider investing.

How much do you need?

Couple hundred thousand.

Three hundred would be great.

You each would get a couple
percentage points and ownership

in the business and,
if it's successful,

it could be millions
of dollars for you.

But I have to warn you, there's
a 70% chance it could fail.

I mean, that's the majority

of our retirement fund, honey.

When do you need it by?


Well, I've got an idea.

Dinner's almost ready.

Why don't we have a nice dinner

and we can just talk
about this later?

- You're up early.
- Yeah.

I just wanna tell you,

I don't invest in you and
I hope you understand that.


You know, it's an idea that
you have to understand,

it takes a lot of planning,

a lot of things, and
we don't have a lot.

But I'm not gonna tell you,

you know how much
you represent to me.

And I just want to
tell you something.

We live in a free country.
I believe in America

that every dreams can come true.

And the main thing that
I want you to know...

that I believe in you.

So, I'm going to
give you something.

These are life savings.

Thanks, Dad.

- I love you.
- I love you.

I won't let you down.

I know that.
Absolutely, I know that.

Can I ask you for another favor?

Another favor now?

Can I borrow the truck?

Oh, my God, you gonna kill me.

Your mom is gonna kill me,
too, because you know that...

Go ahead, enjoy yourself.
Today's a big day.

So, where are we heading?

Just keep heading west, babe.


- I'll figure it out soon.
- I mean, take your time.

The movers are
only, I don't know,

18 hours behind us, I don't...

I'm sure they don't
mind driving aimlessly.

It's probably not the
first time they do.

You sure we're at
the right place?

Um, you picked it.

Thank you.

I think I figured out
where we're going.

Oh. I'm really starting to
like the nomad life, though.

Well, normally, an
analysis like this

would take several months,
but since we have 24 hours

to notify the movers,

I've narrowed it
down to one city.

It's a city with a
favorable tax structure,

a reasonable cost of living,
a highly qualified workforce,

and access to ports.


'Cause we'll be getting
so many books from Asia?

You never know. So,
drumroll, please.

We're moving to...
Seattle, Washington.

- Hmm.
- You're not excited.

I mean, the coffee's
good, right?

There's more than just
coffee in Seattle.

I better call the movers.

Yeah, they're gonna
need an actual address.

At least they know where
to point the truck now.

I wanna show you something.

You're about to see
something beautiful.

- It's beautiful.
- Yeah. Cadabra.

- What?
- Cadabra.

That's the name of our company.

Like magic.

So, you're sure he's
gonna do it for a price?


He's a divorce
lawyer, of course!

How exactly is
opening a corporation

like dissolving a marriage?

All right, thank you.

Great, so you'll have a
draft for us by Wednesday.

I'll send you my address in
Seattle once we get there.

Yeah. Cadabra, Inc.

Like Abra Cadabra. Yeah.

No, no. Not a
cadaver. Cadabra.

Yep. No, no, we're not selling
any magic supplies, just books.

Thank you.

Hey, Shel. How are
you? Jeff Bezos.

Yep. Peter Leventhal's friend.

So, we're heading your way,

wanted to see if you're
available tomorrow.

Get some breakfast and
we can talk about a job.

Yep. San Francisco, perfect.

All right. Call
you in the morning.

Okay, here we go, Jeff.

Uh, with your left hand
take the nail like this,

and with your right hand hold
the hammer like that, okay?

Hold it, hold it
with strength, okay?

And then subtly tap on the
nail to seed it in place.

And then when you're ready,
hit it a little harder.

Then take your left hand
away and give it a whack.

- Okay.
- Okay? Try that.

- Did I do it good!
- Yeah, you did it!

All right, drink up! You
boys need to stay hydrated.

Oh, yeah.

Thanks, Grandma.

Supper's ready in 30 minutes.

Go inside and get cleaned up.

I'm making grandpa's
special dish today.


You know, you always
wanna have great people

in your life, Jeff.

It's the one way to stay happy.

But make sure it has
at least three bedrooms

and an attached garage.

May I ask why?

I want us to be like

all the great American
suburb stories.

Apple. Dell. Disney.

They all started in a garage.

- You serious?
- Yeah.

But no more than 800 a month.

- Seems like kind of a lot.
- Seven hundred.

And we need the keys tomorrow.

I think the movers are
in Nebraska already.


Oh, he's here.

Hi, Shel.

Jeff. My wife, MacKenzie.

MacKenzie. Nice to meet you.

- I'll leave you to it.
- Great.

So, Paul speaks
very highly of you.

Said he doesn't know
anybody that can build

a database as fast as you.

Yeah, I was part of the team
that wrote script decks.

- Oh, impressive stuff.
- It was.

You were also part of the
whole Earth catalogue, correct?

- Indeed.
- Yeah, great.

- You want a coffee?
- Sure.

I'll have a large coffee
and whatever he's having.


I'll pay 'cause we actually
have startup capital.

It's from my parents,
don't be overly impressed.


This is the whole business plan?

Mm, no, just what I
was able to get done

between Fort Worth and now.

Um, I'll have the rest done
by the time we get to Seattle.

- Books, huh? Nothing else?
- That's it.

You got a name yet?

- Cadabra.
- Cadaver? Like a dead body?

No. Cadabra. Like
a magic trick.

That's much better.

Now, based on your

why are you perfect for
this programming job?

I was under the impression
you were pitching me a job.

- Yeah, but...
- I didn't drive all the way up

from Santa Cruz
to be interviewed.

- I kinda thought it'd be both.
- It's not.

You'd be very lucky to have me.

Probably right.

- I am.
- Fine.

The job is yours if you want it.

I commend your good judgement.

Now, I must warn
you, the pay is shit,

you will be working
barbaric hours,

but you will receive
some stock options

and it will be the
most difficult project

you've ever worked on.

You know, most tech
startups never make it.

See, in the book business,

there's a huge disparity
between supply and demand

and it's virtually impossible

for a physical bookstore
to carry millions of books.

So, if you're able to build
us a website that can handle

a product category that
large, we will be successful.

Welcome aboard.

Okay, yeah. Yeah, those
dates are perfect.

Amazing. Yeah, great.

Thank you so much. I'll
call you when we arrive.


- He's in.
- Well, that was easy.

How'd it go on your end?

You're not the only
one having success.

- Oh!
- Our new home.


- Pleasure.
- Thank you.


Maybe we should've seen
it first before renting.

It's perfect.

That's gotta go.

What do you think?

Potential at best.

Everything we need's right here.

Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa!

We came all the way
from New York for this?

Yeah, this is our new offices.

Got it.

Hey, look who's here!

- Hey, Paul!
- Jeff!

Good to see you.
Paul, meet Shel.

Your reputation precedes you.

- Same.
- How was the farewell party?

I'm a bit hungover, honestly.

They threw me quite the sendoff.

Even gave me a lovely gift.

They're a bit skeptical of
Cadabra's chances of success,

so they took up a
collection to tide me over

while I look for work.

- Almost $27.
- Wanna buy some shares?

Mind if I take a peek
at the books first?

Come on, let me show
you your new home.

I just finished setting up
the new computer system.

I went with
high-powered servers.


Only problem is they
draw so much power,

I had to run each one
off a different circuit.

They work great,

so long as you don't
plug anything else in.

Shit. Gimme a second.

- MacKenzie.
- Yes?

- What're you doing?
- Drying my hair!

I told you, don't plug anything
in while we're working.

Well, what am I
supposed to do, then?

Don't plug in any appliances!

Sorry, guys.

All right, guys.
Got some stuff

I want to share with
you. Let me get my notes.

I thought he came from finance?

Is he a programmer, too?

He majored in computer
science at Princeton.

Oh, dear.

So, I've gone ahead and
analyzed every software

in the marketplace
and, unfortunately,

most of 'em were built
for a mail order system.

The customer places the
order, the order's processed,

and then the inventory's updated

with three typical product
availabilities: in stock,

out of stock, and unavailable.

Our website's gonna
have seven of them:

shipped within 24 hours,

shipped within
two to three days,

shipped within one to two weeks,

shipped within
four to six weeks,

not yet published, out of stock,

and, for hard to find titles,
shipped within three months.

So, what does this all mean?


We need to build
our own software.

So, we're going open source?

We don't have a choice.

You see, we don't
have the finances

to hire a bunch of programmers
to build this for us.

So, we're gonna count on
thousands of programmers

around the world to build it
for us and update it for us,

which is gonna allow us to
focus on what really matters.

Selling books. Make sense?

So, if we're gonna build the
world's greatest bookstore,

we're gonna need the
world's greatest website.

Let's get to it.

- Jeff.
- Yeah?

I feel the need to
remind you that,

given all the things
you want the site to do,

no one's ever built anything
even remotely like it before.


While we're attempting
the impossible,

what will you be doing?

Attempting the improbable.

I need to raise
a million dollars

if we're gonna get this
website live by summer.

If you're serious about this
timeline, we'll need help.

Fine. Put an ad out.

Which reminds me...

Never again will we be referred

to as the website that
sells dead bodies. is defunct.

Our new name is... Drumroll...

Nick, it's Jeff. How are you?

You signed the contract,
you said you were sending

the check, and then you put
a stop payment on the check.

Do you understand how
that affects our company?

What do you mean you don't
understand what we're doing?

Yeah, I'm just following
up on that investment

you committed to.

A lot of great companies
have started in a garage.

Apple. Microsoft.

Um, yep.

The company's still going,
but we really need you

to send us the
money, if you can.

It's a virtual Internet store.

There's no physical location.

That's not our business model.

If you're not
interested, just tell me.

We're selling books.

I don't care if you
changed your mind,

if you make commitments,

you gotta follow
through in life.

You can't have two
million products

inside of a bookstore!

You think we're gonna fail?

Well, I think you're gonna fail.

It's still a little
bit too confusing.

What do you mean? It's
a standard landing page.

You need to imagine that all
of our customers have never

used a computer before.

The homepage has to be
very... user-friendly.

I can't work on
this change tonight,

- I'll work on it tomorrow.
- No, no.

Let's get it done now
while the ideas are fresh.

Jeff, with all due respect,

we've been at this
for 12 hours straight.

And there's 24 hours
in the day, Shel.

I'll redraft it. And
burn the midnight oil.


- One second.
- Jeff.

One second, MacKenzie.

Is it important?

- No. It's fine.
- I'll be up in a bit.

What's a bit?

I don't know!

Goodnight, fellas.


- Thank you so much.
- Do you have your receipt?

- Hi, your name?
- Vazquez.

- Hello. How are you?
- Thank you.

- Thank you for attending.
- Of course.

- Hi, your name?
- Hi. Bezos.


- Here.
- Thank you.

Thank you. Hi.

Okay, okay.

Now it's time for
you brave souls

to stand up and tell
us about yourselves.

Who you are, your
hopes and dreams.

Who's gonna go first?

- Okay.
- Okay. Hi.

Hi, I'm Molly Jean Andrews

and I'm from Green
Valley, Arizona,

and I'm opening up a little
shop called Kitchen Bible.

And I have a few cookies.
Do you wanna try one?

All right. Um, you know,

there's gonna be
nothing but cookbooks.

I'm not looking to
get rich or anything,

I just don't wanna
lose my shirt either.

Hello. I'm Charles Allen Morrow
from Highland Park, Illinois.

My shop, Marrow's Antiquaria,
opening in August,

is going to be
specializing in rare books

and autographs in all fields.

Okay, anybody else?

Oh, please!

Hi. How are you?

Um, my name is Jeff, Jeff
Bezos from Seattle, Washington,

and I'm mainly here to learn
more about the book business

because this summer
we'll be launching

the world's largest

A bit overzealous
for a bookstore.

Don't you think?

Well, I can... I can
explain, actually.

The reason why it'll be the
world's largest bookstore

is because its vast library

is gonna exist exclusively
on the Internet.

Okay, well...

Let's move on to the
other topics, then.

Um, excuse me one second.

- Hey. Internet guy.
- Who, me?

- Yes, you.
- Hi, how're you doing, sir?

- Do you know who I am?
- Of course. Mr. Leonard Riggio.

- And you are?
- Jeff. Jeff Bezos.

Care to have a
drink with me, Jeff?

See, since books are
a true commodity,

it seemed like the ideal
first product to sell online,

being that books in
every physical...

- Can I get you anything else?
- We're fine.

Books in all your physical
locations are identical.

So, customers should
be comfortable

purchasing them online.

Hmm. Seems like an interesting
idea you have there.

Well, it's more
than just an idea.

- Is it, though?
- Yeah.

I mean, we have programmers
working on it now,

we'll be live this summer.

But until it actually
comes to fruition,

and more than anything,
actually proves to be viable,

it's... just an idea.

What did you say you're
calling it again?


Huh. Peculiar name.

Doesn't quite fit the book
industry, though, does it?

How so?

"Relentless," I mean,
it's aggressive.

You're trying to
lure bookworms in,

you're not trying to
ready them for battle.

See, I never looked
at it that way.

I always thought our competitors

would see us a certain way,
not... not the consumer.

And that right there is why
Relentless will never be

anything more than just an idea.

But, you see, we're
open to an investment

and maybe a partnership
with Barnes & Noble

where we are your
Internet fulfillment wing.

No, I... I'm sorry, James.

- Uh, Jeff.
- Right. Jeff, uh...

We don't do that.

You see, we're not just gonna be

another independent bookseller.

Okay. Stop right there.

Right. Do you... Do you
know who you're speaking to?

- Of course.
- But do you really?

Because I'm not
just Leonard Riggio.

I am Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Biggest book retailer in the
entire industry, all right?

And we just had an
87% gain in revenue

over the last quarter alone.

I'm well aware of your success.

Oh, well, then you
should also be aware

that we're about to open
100 more stores this year.

And then it's only a
matter of time before

independent booksellers such
as yourself become obsolete.

I have no interest in
investing in anything

other than my own company.

But it's more about the future.

Would you like some advice?

- It's Jeff, right?
- Yeah.

Um, I think you should
go find another business

to look at.

Take whatever money you
have and put it into

the manufacturing
sector or something.

I... It's... You know, they're
having a lot of growth lately.

But you will never find
success in the book industry,

I can guarantee you that.

I'd like to say that it
was good chatting with you,

but, frankly, it
was a waste of time.

That is for the drinks.

And whatever is leftover,
you can consider

it seed money for a
new business venture.

You don't have to be quiet.

I waited up.

How'd it go?

- Terrible.
- Why? What happened?

I don't wanna talk about it.

Oh, come on. I'm just
asking about your day.

MacKenzie, I don't
wanna talk about it.

It was a complete waste of time.

Nobody's interested
in our company.

Is that what you wanna hear?

Is this how it's
gonna be from now on?

Like what?

- Like what?
- Like this!

We barely talk, and when
we do talk, you just yell.

- I'm not yelling.
- Yes, you are!

You're yelling.

No, ever since we got
here I can't talk to you

without you getting upset at
me or telling me to shut up.

In case you haven't
realized, I have a company

that I'm trying to
get off the ground.

So, excuse me if I don't give
you 100% of my attention...

I don't want 100%
of your attention,

I just want a fraction of it.


This is my life, MacKenzie,

and I have everything
in the world invested

in this business
and I will not fail.

I will work 24 hours a day
to make sure that I succeed.

And I'm sorry if I don't
make you a priority.

- We.
- What're you talking about?

We put everything
we had into this.

In case you forgot, I quit my
job and moved here for you!

Give me a break.


You're a really smart guy.

Hell, the smartest
guy I've ever met,

but you've been acting
like a complete dick

since we've gotten here.

How can you not see
how you're acting?

We have a business
that has taken hundreds

of thousands of dollars
of investor funds,

that is days away from
potentially closing.

We have the shittiest
fucking name on the planet,,
that doesn't appeal

to any of our customer base.

So, we need to understand

that Jeff may not have
time for MacKenzie.


'Cause we have other priorities.

You're not even listening
to what I'm saying.

I get that you have
a lot going on.

I get that everything
is riding on this idea

and I'm not asking you
to stop focusing on that.

I'm asking you to be present.

Be a little more
human, for God's sake.

You're so absorbed
in the computer,

it's like you're not even here.

Whoa, look at that!

- Lot of smoke.
- Yeah.

Okay. Mm-hmm.

Okay. There's some
little coolant over here,

so why don't you
hand me that, Jeff?

There we go.


All right, do you
wanna turn it on now?

- Hey!
- Whoa, you fixed it!

You should see a
mechanic, though.

- Thank you so much.
- You're welcome.

You're a godsend.

Okay, here we go.

You know, we really, really
did a good job here today.

We helped out... Jeff, hey.

- Listen to me, pay attention.
- Okay.

We helped out today, it's
important to give back,

and it's all about
just being human.

- Right?
- Yes, Grandpa.

So, help me up.



Jeff, are you seriously not
paying attention right now?

- I've gotta go.
- Go where?

I have an idea.

- I need to go to the garage.
- Are you fucking kidding me!

See, this is what I'm talking
about, you're obsessed!

We'll talk tomorrow about this.

No, don't treat me like
I'm one of your employees!


Hey, guys!

- Hey! How was your trip?
- You look like shit.

Well, I haven't slept at all.

But it was worth it. I
figured something out.

First off, is out.

It makes us sound crazy.

We don't want our secret
getting out, now, do we?

See, whatever we call ourselves

has to be something we
never need to change.

Can it start with
the letter "A"?

Search engines have
started ranking

the sites alphabetically,
so being right at the top

would be a huge advantage.

- Interesting.
- I've got it.

With two "A" s.

Short for "aardvark"?

Keep working on it.

You see, I realized, we've
been missing a critical factor.

It doesn't matter if
our product library

is the size of seven New
York City phone books,

there's something
we've been missing.

- Can you guess what it is?
- Wouldn't dare.

What's the easiest way to
build customer loyalty?

Um, coupons?


You see, when you go to
that independent bookstore,

you can take your time.

Browse. No pressure to buy.

You know you're
getting a fair price.

That human touch.

Now, imagine we can create
that human touch virtually.

Putting the customer first
no matter what all the time.


You see, our competitors
are all focused

on what they're all doing.

They're not focused
on the customer.

We will be focused
on the customer.

When they get to our home
page, they're gonna see

our entire product library,
fair prices, fast shipping,

easy returns.

No matter what it costs.

The customer is always first.

Can you make the
homepage do that?

It's complicated.

I know. Do it.

Still angry?

I'm sorry.

Look, I know I've been a
little distracted by work,

but I'm sorry.

I don't need you to apologize
for focusing on the company.

I... I get that
that's important.

I need you to apologize
for being an asshole.

Okay, I get it, you've
been working 18-hour days,

you're losing money, you've
barely eaten or slept

or showered, I get
that. I see it.

But that doesn't give
you a right to treat me

the way you've been treating me.

You're right.

I've lost focus on
what's important

and it will never happen again.

I love you.

I love you, too.

So, how's the site coming along?

Work in progress.

I got the boys working
on something right now.

Yeah? What're they working on?

Something to help improve
customer experience,

give people that
in-store touchy feeling.

You know, the human
touch when shopping.

You came up with
that on your own?

Yeah, last night in the garage.

Still gotta figure out a new
name for the site, though.

Wait. You're a writer.

You should have
hundreds of ideas.


- I don't know.
- Come on.

But I... I struggle
with titles, like, I...

How 'bout...

Little wordy. Great
tagline, though.


Anyways, we have
bigger fish to fry.

- Investors?
- Yup.

I sometimes feel like these
investors are just wasting

my life away, to be honest.

I'm sure you'll
figure something out.

It better happen soon.

We're running out of time.

The plan's to open
97 new superstores

in addition to its already
existing 261 locations.

Will this be the end for
independent booksellers?

Would you mind
turning that TV off?

Up next!

Still don't like it.

Why not?

It's not clever enough.

You said you wanted it simple.

Simple, but it needs to
have a little bit of...

What's that word?

- Charm?
- Exactly.

You see, it needs to be
charming, make customers smile.

What's a smile again?

I think it's the
opposite of that.

We'll tackle it after lunch.

You care to join us?

Not today, boys.

I need to go have
lunch with an investor.

- Jeff.
- Yeah.

Before you go...

There's a couple of things
that we've been meaning

- to talk to you about.
- Sure.

First, any luck
getting us that help?

The ad's out, but, you know,
I haven't got any leads.

You mean this job ad?

"You must have experience
designing and building large

and complex, yet
maintainable systems,

and you should be able to
do so in about one-third

of the time that most competent
people think possible."

- Perfect.
- "You should have a master's

degree or doctorate
from a top university.

World class communication
skills are essential."


You go.

It'll sound nicer in
an English accent.

With all due respect, Jeffrey,

have you lost your bloody mind?

Why on Earth would someone

with those qualifications
want to work here?

You're both working here.

But you're not
describing us at all.

Shel attended UC Santa Cruz.

I got my postdoc in Israel.

We're not the best,
we're merely the most

willing to work like dogs
for ludicrously low pay.

Time is running out,
Jeff, you gotta get off

your high horse and hire
whoever the hell you can get.

So, basically any
capable human being?

All right. I'll put
MacKenzie on it,

but we gotta figure out where
we're gonna put these people.

That brings us to
the second thing

we wanted to talk to you about.

I mean, look around,
Jeff, come on.

We could move
those file cabinets

and squeeze in a couple
of desks over there.

How are we gonna buy
desks? We've got no money.

- Jeff!
- Fine.

We'll figure something
out. All right?

Maybe I'll use a door.

Niko! How are you? It's Jeff.

We're in Seattle working
on a new startup.

You wanna come over?

The pay's shit.

Sure, it probably
pays more than that.

All right. I'll send
you some information.


Hello? Arthur!

It's good to hear from you.

How's the business coming?

Yeah. That's what
I like to hear.

So, to what do I owe
the pleasure today?

Yeah, yeah, I've heard of it,
the so-called online bookstore.


Yeah, uh... I... Thanks, Arthur,
I appreciate you telling me.

Oh, you better believe I'm
gonna take care of this.

Yeah, thanks again.
Yeah, we'll talk soon.

This is where the magic happens.

It's a dump.

I know. Come on, that's
your desk right over there.

Is this a door?

It's the best desk
money can buy.

Now, here's the
rest of the team.

Shel, Paul, MacKenzie you know.

Of course. Hey, MacKenzie.

So, you've got your computer,
your full setup there.

- Hey, Jeff.
- Slight problem.

How slight?

One that threatens
our very existence.

British drĂ´lerie there?

No, deadly serious, I'm afraid.

I went to run a
test on the checkout

to see if we could
order an actual book

and, to my horror, the
distributor requires

a 10-book minimum
order on all retailers.


Ten books per order,
no exceptions.

That makes no sense.

I know. I told them that.

But seeing as they're
the largest distributor

with five million
titles and I'm a nobody,

they weren't really
interested in my opinion.

It's just how they've
always done business.

Let's try a different

The only other
distributor that matters

has the identical policy.

I humbled myself, begged
them to let our poor,

fledgling company order
less than a minimum

and they told me
to go fuck myself.

Not in those words
exactly, but pretty close.

So, what's the bottom line?

For every one book we order,

we're gonna have to pay for ten.

We're gonna burn through
our cash reserves

in less than three months.

And then we'll be
swimming in inventory

we don't even need with
no place to put it.

How does the payment work?

Do they charge you when
you order the book?

Or when they ship it?

Or when we actually get it?

- When the books arrive.
- You're sure?


So, if we order ten books,

but only seven arrive...

We're only billed for the seven.

- Niko!
- Yeah.

You were a biology teacher.

- Yeah.
- I need you to find me

the most obscure
science book out there.

Something that is
impossible to find.

Here's a hot title.

The Lichen-Flora of
Chicago and Vicinity

by William Wirt Calkins.

Carver Press. 1896.
Definitely out of print.


Now, what's the name of
the new Grisham book?

The Rainmaker.

Let's go ahead and order
one copy of The Rainmaker,

nine copies of
Niko's science book.

And the distributor
should only charge us

for the one copy
of The Rainmaker.

Yeah. And if any of the
back ordered books arrive,

we'll just return them.

Now what?

We wait, I suppose.

No. Full speed ahead.

Even if it's off a cliff?

We've done worse. Let's go!

Full steam.


Yeah, this is him.

I'm available. Tomorrow?

I'll be there. Thank you.

That was Leonard Riggio
of Barnes & Noble.

What did he want?

He wants to meet tomorrow.

Something about a
business opportunity.

Well, that's good.

Yeah. That's good.

- Jeff?
- Oh. Mr. Riggio.

- Pleasure.
- Good to see you.

What would you
like to talk about?

An old friend gave me
a call the other day.

Told me about you, actually.

Seems you didn't take my advice

and you're still going around
trying to get investments.

Can you blame me?

See, it's not that you're
pursuing this silly little idea

that bothers me, it's
the fact that apparently

you still are referring to it

as the world's
biggest bookstore.

I don't see a problem with it.

You... You don't see
why that offends me?

- No.
- Well, then, I'll tell you.

How old are you
Jeff? What, about 35?


When you were a one-year-old,

I opened a little shop called,
uh, Student Book Exchange.

I was just a kid
at the time at NYU,

but it turned into
be a major retailer.

Coast to coast.

Well, I mean, that's amazing.

You should just listen,
you might learn something.

So, a little bit later,

it was when you were
about seven years old,

I acquired a little shop
called Barnes & Noble,

and I liked its
name, so I used it

after I picked up a
few hundred more shops.

But Wall Street said,
"Well, there's no more room,

my friend, to grow in
the book industry,"

and I said, "Fuck you.
I'm just getting started."

And that's when I
invented the superstore.

So, you don't understand
why you calling yourself

the world's biggest
bookstore offends me?

Well, it's because
it's a goddamn lie.

We hold that title and will
for many more years to come.

And if we ever lose it,

it'll be to Crown or, I
don't know, Kmart or Borders.

Not to some dope who's
working out of a shit hole,

who hasn't sold one single
book in his entire life.

I understand.

Yeah, I'm pretty articulate.

You see, it's not meant
to be taken literally.

It's just a way for our
customers to understand

the vast extent and
potential of the Internet.

See, I don't care what
your intentions are,

just stop saying it.

You don't and I'll sue your ass.

But not right now, no.

Not even after you've actually
sold a few thousand books.

I'm gonna wait for
just the right time,

like the week that
you go public.

And then you'll be
dead in the crib.

Or I can make you a
proposal right now

so we can bury this idea five
feet, under where it belongs.

Barnes & Noble is willing
to acquire this idea

from you for the gracious
sum of $1 million.

I mean, God knows that's
more than what it's worth.

But, you know, it
should be enough for you

to cover and recoup your losses,

pay whoever you owe,

and bother someone
other than myself.

You're naive.

Frankly, insults me to a degree,

but you have ambition that
reminds me of my younger self.

I, too, had dreams
of being a conqueror,

but you would be a fool
not to take this offer.

See, you have one thing wrong.

I'm not a conqueror.

I'm an explorer.

What's the difference?

It pays to explore.

You remember that time
at that bar in Miami?

I was so excited.

I'm meeting Leonard
Riggio, the legend,

CEO of Barnes & Noble,
and inviting him

on this journey with me
to invest in

And when you walked
out on that meeting,

I realized something.

You're the past
and I'm the future.

And one day, your stores
will start to close,

just like all those
independent bookstores

you proudly put out of business.

And your empire will
begin to crumble

the day that my
website goes live.

Jeff? How'd it go?


He offered to buy us out.

- What?
- How much?

A million.


You said yes, right?

I told him to go fuck himself.

Are you bloody mad?

You see, he's willing to
pay us a million dollars

before we're even live.
Doesn't that tell you anything?

He's scared. He's scared
of what we're gonna become.

Jeff, be sensible.

We don't have any cash, we
don't have any investors.

At this rate, we're never
gonna get off the ground.

Why are you challenging
me about this?

I'm not challenging you.

Listen, do I need to
go under this table,

get the certificate
that says I'm the CEO

of this company to
tell you to trust me?


Anyways, after what I told
him, that deal's gone.

But I do have good news.

What good news could you
possibly give us after this?

Our name.

Come on. Get close.

Come on! Drumroll, please.


I like that!!

Named after the
world's largest river!

Actually, five times bigger
than the second largest river.

Bet he tells us what it is.

The Congo, of course. is a name we'll
never need to change.

It tells everybody that we are
the world's biggest bookstore.

And it starts with
an A, just for you.

- Yeah.
- Um, is it

or without and just Amazon?

It's The dot
com is... is to be included

in every instance.

One more question. Um, why?

See, the dot com
tells our customers

that we exist exclusively
on the internet.

That's true of a lot of places.

No one else uses the dot com.

But we will be the first.

All right. Niko, you still
got those friends in New York?

Sure, I know some guys.

Well, we need to
raise some money fast.

Let's get some new investors.

Shel, let's pull
up that homepage.

Come on, let's get to work.

Now, see where it says
"World's Biggest Bookstore?"

Cut it.

Now, scroll all
the way to the top.

Right there. On the top.


Bolder. Perfect.


It worked!

- Whoo!
- Nice.

Oh, wow.

Because it's an online model,

we believe we can have
significant cost advantages

and undercut our competitors.

And what's to stop
them both from opening

their own online stores?

Well, they likely will. Um,
but they're doomed to fail.

Because they're probably
gonna be competing

with themselves in
that scenario, right?

Exactly. Their
physical locations.

And to compete, they're
gonna have to close

those physical locations,

and I doubt they're
gonna do that.

And if they do, it's not
gonna be anytime soon.

By then, Amazon will
have the market share

and it'll be too late.

Exactly. We believe that
we will probably lose money

for up to 20 years.

Uh, but at, we're
focused on the long-term.

Uh, not short-term

Um, because we don't charge
our customers sales tax,

uh, we believe we can
continue to gain market share,

um, without profitability.

You're talking about
monopolizing the market here.

You really want to get
into that, Mr. Bezos?

Monopolizing is... is
a very, uh, harsh word.

Um, it's more survival
of the fittest.

Um, the smaller
companies will fail.

Obviously, in order
for us to succeed,

we need to continuously
be raising capital,

and, um, this company will
require significant amounts

of capital if we're gonna
build the infrastructure

and the system to
have higher revenue

and higher profitability
down the road.

But you have so
many big box stores.

They're not gonna let
you get away with this.

Well, physical
locations are paying up

to $10 a square foot
when we pay pennies

a square foot for our warehouses

that can be located just outside

of big metropolitan areas.

Uh, we only have a small
facility right now in Seattle,

but we believe expanding
those facilities nationwide

will get the product to
our customers quicker

and allow us to maintain
that lower cost structure.

To me, if I'm hearing
you correctly,

you're open 24 hours,

it's faster and
easier to buy books,

it's cheaper 'cause
of sales tax,

and it's cheaper for
you to deliver that

'cause you don't have the
cost of brick and mortar.

Does it end with books,

or would there be an
opportunity to sell

other products and services
to this customer base?

Other categories that we
look to expand into are music

and, um, other vast
library categories.

I mean that was the
greatest performance ever.

- Thanks!
- And it means a lot, like,

when you said full steam
ahead, like this...

But what about small businesses?

- What about 'em?
- They're honest people.

We're a small business,

we should be helping
each other out.

We won't be for long.

If this is gonna work, we
have to continue to scale.

All right, team.

So, as you all know, beta
testing begins today.

We've assembled a list of
several hundred of our friends

and family that will
be receiving a link

to a test site where they
can place test orders.

Of course, they could
place a real order,

but there's a chance that

there'll still be some glitches.

Now, there's a lot
of work to be done

before the whole site goes live
in July, but there's a saying.

You can work long,
you can work hard,

and you can work smart,

but you can only
pick two of them.

At, we need all
three every single day.

If we're gonna make
the world's greatest website,

it begins with all
of our hard work.

So, let's go.


We're live.

I'm going to get
something to eat.

Care to join me?

- I'm gonna hang back.
- All right.

- Niko?
- Yeah, I could eat.

- Jeff?
- I'm good, thank you.

All right.

Jeff, can I talk to
you for a second?


So, I guess because we're
on the home stretch now,

I've been thinking.

I look at everything I've
given to this company

and quite frankly, I put
everything I had into it.

Paul has, too.

I mean, we built the damn site.

The site is everything,
you know that.

You guys are rock stars, I know.

So, I guess what
I'm wondering is,

why aren't we founders along
with you and MacKenzie?

Why aren't we receiving
founder's shares?

'Cause you never asked.

You remember that time we
got together for coffee?

Came up with the terms
of your agreement,

wrote up the contract,
which you signed.

Now, whatever the difference
is from what you did receive

to what you believe you're
due should be a lesson to you.

Know your worth, Shel.

When we had first met
in that coffee shop,

I knew my worth.

I knew my worth so much,
I was willing to follow

this dream of yours to
revolutionize commerce.

I know you wanna
change the world,

Jeff, but what're you
trying to change it to?

Huh. To think I
figured you out.

I just want to make history.

Hey. I'm going to
bed. You should, too.

- I should, too.
- No, but really. You should.

It's the weekend.

The test is running smoothly,
and there's no reason

why you can't get a good
night's sleep with your wife.

While you're at it,

why don't you send Paul
and Shel home, too.

You're right.

Don't sound too excited.

I just feel like watching my
toddler learn how to walk.

If I don't pay attention...

It's gonna crack its head
open on a chrome coffee table?


That's a feeling
I wouldn't trust.

It's just a test.

None of this matters yet,

it's gonna be a few
weeks before any orders

even maybe come in, you know...

Is that what I think it is?

Fluid Concepts and
Creative Analogies.

Paid with a credit card.

We got our first order.