The year was 1994 and I was in high school. Bellevue, Washington is a little-known location near Seattle and was Jeff Bezos' home at the time. These days I would imagine that he has many places he calls home.
The internet was not something that very many people had access to and the idea of smartphones hadn't even really occurred to anyone yet because very few people even had mobile phones. It was on July 5th that Jeff Bezos (now one of the richest people in the world) established one of the most successful companies of all time.
While they are a non-issue where I live in Thailand (they will deliver here, but have very little in the way of market penetration) they are EVERYTHING in the United States. Virtually everyone I know back "home" orders via Amazon on a regular basis. One of my friends in Brooklyn gets almost everything in his life (including groceries and booze) delivered to his door by an Amazon.com affiliate of some sort.
When the company first started out they focused primarily on books and later on music. Now they focus on just about anything you can imagine. Although Amazon are extremely clandestine about how they operate, they claim to actually have very little profit levels despite massive amounts of sales. They claim this is because of the massive amount of reinvestment the company puts into their distribution network - which is believable because it seems like every time I read about it a new warehouse is opening somewhere.
Creator and CEO Jeff Bezos certainly can't complain about any of this. His net worth of $131 Billion puts him at the very top of the Forbes "richest people in the world" list, ahead of the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet (how is that guy holding on?), and the devil himself, Mark Zuckerberg.
In 2015, Amazon surpassed Wal-Mart as the number one retailer in the United States and that, definitely, is no easy task since those stores have been well-known to put pretty much everyone out of business when they open in a community. Amazon is also the 2nd largest employer in USA as well as the largest internet company in the world. Amazon Prime (which I know little about but I believe entitles users to "premium" services for an annual fee" has over 100 million subscribers worldwide.
It's funny to me that a very small thing that seemed insignificant in the mid to late 90's would grow to be the powerhouse that it is today. I say this because bookstores such as Barnes and Noble were still the popular place to acquire books for morons who somehow didn't know all these things are free at their local library. I think they must have some great leadership over there at Amazon, because if they hadn't had the foresight to branch out from selling books and music, they almost certainly would have gone bankrupt by now.