Many years ago, shortly after the development of a quirky little thing called the internet, many of us heard friends talking about a company that was selling books on—of all things—the computer! Obviously, it was just some college kid trying out a wacky idea.
Fifty billion dollars of personal wealth later, Jeff Bezos can rest comfortably in the knowledge that he proved tens of thousands of us wrong. His company Amazon has forever changed the face of retail, not just in the U.S. but around the world.
Last week, news came out that Mr. Bezos (not Amazon) had paid four times more than current market value for the Washington Post, one of the most well-known and influential newspapers in the world. Of course, there are a few who say he bought a pig in a poke, that he just threw two hundred and fifty million dollars at a company well on its way to being swamped by a dying industry.
But then there are the rest of us, those who remember just how WRONG we were about that in-the-computer niche business that went on to become a worldwide marketing phenomenon. And, so, all eyes are glued to the staid old news company that could become…well, no one knows.
What we do know is that the Washington Post transaction will not officially close for another few weeks. While we wait, the journalistic world is holding its universal breath, one simple question on every mind.
Will a likely Jeff Bezos success be replicable, or will history replay itself and see all his competitors washed away?
If you'd like to learn more about The Washington Post sale, click here: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/08/why-jeff-bezos-and-i-the-washington-post-i-could-be-good-for-each-other/278622/