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Why did Jeff Bezos come up with the name Amazon for his company, what did it represent?


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Jeff Bezos first named the company as Cadabra, after the magic slogan “Abra-Cadabra”. When he first mentioned this to his lawyer over the phone, his lawyer misheard it as “Cadaver ???” . Bezos knew right then, that the name would not stick.

Bezos had the customer-centric approach to the business, right from the start. So, he had proposed to change the name to “Relentless Inc”, a way of saying that the company would be relentless in its approach to customer satisfaction. In 1994, the company’s then de-facto CTO was Shel Kaphan. He was not very amused by the proposal. So, Bezos continued to look for options for the company name.

In the 1990s, the number of websites were finite, and countable by humans. The websites were sorted alphabetically on the “internet directory” of those days. After a bunch of research, Bezos settled on Amazon Inc for two reasons -

  1. Amazon river has the largest collection of flora and fauna in the world. Amazon Inc will represent the largest collection of retail items on the internet
  2. Amazon-dot-com will appear in the first pages of the internet directory, making it easier to attract users and customers.

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