Bezos Unearths 1999 Barron’s Report Saying Amazon Will ‘Bomb’

“Listen and be open, but don’t let anybody tell you who you are,” the Amazon founder says

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Jeff Bezos, who led this year’s Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans, has unearthed an old report on a then-nascent Amazon.

“AMAZON.BOMB,” said the headline of a 1999 edition of Barron’s attached to a tweet from the Amazon and Blue Origin founder, who also owns Whole Foods and The Washington Post.

The 22-year-old front page went on, “The idea that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pioneered a new business paradigm is silly. He’s just another middleman, and the stock market is beginning to catch on to that fact. The real winners on the ‘Net will be firms that sell their own products directly to consumers. Just look at what’s happening at Sony, Dell and Bertelsmann.”

A drawing of Bezos’ head in a large bomb with a lit fuse accompanies the writeup.

“Listen and be open, but don’t let anybody tell you who you are. This was just one of the many stories telling us all the ways we were going to fail. Today, Amazon is one of the world’s most successful companies and has revolutionized two entirely different industries,” wrote Bezos in his tweet.

Old write-ups are often mocked online. A 2003 New York Times review of Beyoncé debut solo album is still panned to this day for declaring “she’s no Ashanti.” Elsewhere in the realm of music reviews, Pitchfork recently rescored a number of its old album ratings, telling readers, “They say that ‘writing is rewriting’ because the careful process of revision is the very thing that makes a story, a novel, or a piece of criticism actually work. Revisions, of course, are usually completed just before a piece is sent to the printing press or published on the internet when there is finally no more futzing and no takes-backsies. And then there it is, forever, a good and righteous piece of criticism.”

Pitchfork’s editors added that “feelings change.”

That’s true for Barron’s, it seems, which covered William Shatner’s impending space launch in a Bezos-backed rocket mere days ago with no suggestion that Bezos’ galactic ambitions are too big.