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The Earliest Adopters: A Look Back at the First Days of e-Commerce

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Today, one can buy anything from fresh rabbit meat to uranium ore on But every company starts somewhere--and for Amazon, that "somewhere" was a book called "Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought" by Douglas Hofstadter.

The year was 1995, and the company was staffing the place like most startups--by offering prospective employees "meaningful equity ownership"...

...which, in this case, actually turned out to be meaningful, as AMZN is currently trading at $183.91.

1995 was also when eBay founder Pierre Omidyar made his first sale on the auction site, when he listed a broken laser pointer to test the system.

There was obviously someone watching, as a bidder emerged, snapping up the device for $14.83.

Omidyar was perplexed. He contacted the "winner" and asked if he was aware that the gadget was broken.

"I'm a collector of broken laser pointers," came the reply.

So that's who outbid me...DAMMIT!
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.