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From The Everything Store to the everything company: The Amazon story according to Brad Stone – Live at Transparency19

In 2013, when Brad Stone set out to write about the history of Amazon, it was hardly the company we know (and rely on) today. A December 2013 60 Minutes interview revealed that Amazon had 225 million customers worldwide. Just five years later, in December 2018, Amazon reported that Amazon Prime alone boasted an astounding 101+ million customers solely in the United States.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon tracks Amazon’s incredible growth throughout the years, from “fledgling startup to one of the most successful retailers of all time” (Simon & Schuster).

Stone will join us on stage at Transparency19 in Atlanta, Georgia next week as one of our dynamic day two keynote speakers. He spoke with FreightWaves about the retail giant – the organization that “appeared to be a boring tech company to any given outsider, but was actually much more interesting,” Stone stated.

“By 2013, Amazon had gotten into enterprise computing, ebooks and much more,” Stone explained. And according to Stone, it became clear that Amazon was capable of much more than just selling things online.

“I started the book a year before 2013. I’d covered Amazon for The New York Times and Bloomberg, and it occurred to me that people had written books about Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo, but no one had written the Amazon story,” Stone noted.

While writing The Everything Store, it was important for Stone to talk to as many people affiliated with Amazon as he possibly could. “I found myself talking to people who’d spent time with Jeff Bezos as a kid, people who had been at the company since the early years…anyone who could give me some insight. I was fortunate that I had almost 20 years of company history to work with at that point.”  

“I think we take the Amazon we know today for granted. I’m looking forward to telling the Amazon story, introducing Transparency19 attendees to the absolute juggernaut it is today. What seemed like the most boring idea has grown into more than we ever thought possible,” said Stone.

“That company, since the book came out, has grown immensely. It’s invented Alexa, and it’s become a sort of Hollywood business. There’s a lot that’s not in the 2013 book, and that’s why I’m working on the sequel now,” he announced.

Stone told FreightWaves that he anticipates a 2021 release for his sequel. “The rise of Amazon and of its inventive founder, Jeff Bezos, is hands-down the most compelling business story of our time,” said Stone in a press release from Simon & Schuster, which will publish the sequel, Amazon Unbound.

“Over the last few years, I’ve come to realize that my first book explored only the first few chapters of this historic story. Now I want to chronicle how the ‘everything store’ became the ‘everything company,’” Stone concluded.

Stone intends to capture the story of a company that has defied everyone’s expectations, defined the market, and is scaring its competitors, causing regulators to think about the extent to which tech companies are shaping the economy.

For the full Transparency19 lineup, click here. There’s still time to register for the hottest tech event in the industry. We hope to see you May 6-8 in Atlanta!

Brad Stone is a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek and the author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, which provides a definitive account of the e-commerce giant and offers keen insights into the history and remarkable growth of a company widely regarded as uniquely innovative, disruptive and often polarizing.

Since joining Bloomberg from The New York Times in the fall of 2010, Stone has written more than a dozen cover stories on companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Chinese search firm Baidu. He is also the author of Gearheads: The Turbulent Rise of Robotic Sports.

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Maria Baker, Staff Writer

Maria is a staff writer who has covered everything from the environment to sign-on bonuses and women in the industry. She is a recent graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, where she majored in English literature and minored in environmental studies. Maria loves writing about freight almost as much as she loves Emily Dickinson and the self-imposed challenge of finding the best iced mocha in Chattanooga.

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