The 2009 Creativity 50: Jeff Bezos

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Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
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What began as an online bookstore has now become a monolith, one that's survived under the watchful eye of Jeff Bezos, a leader who discovered a unique way to meld his Wall Street and computer science backgrounds. Having set the template for e-commerce since its launch in 1995, has recently expanded on its ever-growing online superstore through branded product offerings and major acquisitions. The Seattle-based company followed up its November 2007 release of the Wifi-enabled e-book reader Kindle with the subsequent $300 million acquisition of audiobook provider Audible and of popular filmsite and AbeBooks in 2008. (UPDATE: Pre-order for the second generation reader, Kindle 2, was announced today.)

According to the company, Amazon posted 72.9 items sold per second on its site over the 2008 holiday season. Meanwhile, it's been venturing outside the store and making a gradual push as a technology provider as of late. Lighting a little fire under Apple's iTunes, the company launched Amazon MP3, its DRM-free MP3 digital music store early last year. Additionally, Amazon has been building out its Web Services suite, which includes tools such as S3, which allows companies to store data on Amazon's computers, and EC2, which lets companies use Amazon computers to run their own applications. The company did its part for sustainability with the compellingFrustration Free Packaging initiative, which allows customers to avoid the many evils of hard plastic wrapping and instead choose plain cardboard for their online purchases. Bezos also continues to look to the stars and is hoping to launch his Blue Origin commercial space flight program by 2010.

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