The New Economy:
Jeff Bezos was looking for a business—any business—in which he could take advantage of a vast new marketplace that he saw offered by the Internet. In 1995, Bezos hit upon books. His selection was odd, because Bezos was hardly a bibliophile, and not even what one would call an avid reader. He did, however, perceive that books presented an excellent product for Internet sales: They were relatively easy to ship, which meant a minimal labor force was needed, and they were perfect to advertise online. Bezos had identified a market in what would be called the New Economy, defined as being based on “intangible assets, such as people, knowledge, relationships, intellectual property, patents, and prophecies.”1 Value was no longer just based in things and money, but in buyer relationships, organizational assets, and ideas that could be converted into money.
Bezos appreciated the radical nature of what he was attempting to do—make an “end run” around traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores, including giants such as Barnes & Noble. While he ultimately sold books, initially he intended to sell trust: faith in the product support his network would provide. Bezos understood the blinding speed at which the Internet would grow. The number of American households with personal computers had risen from 7 percent in 1984 to 25 percent