Editor's note:（所指的这篇文章） this text, article, etc.；（原文） the main body of a book； letterpress ； text YC marketing director Craig Cannon and Amazon Shel Kaphan, a staff interview in.1994, has been very mature in the work of Bezos hedge fund business idea, first engineer everything except only an engineer.Shel Kaphan that he dug through friends. In the interview, Shel spoke about the Amazon line, how to get to know Bezos, moved to Seattle, early versions of Amazon, how to use Netscape to find the momentum of development, the role of the company's change, after leaving Amazon's life, so that we can understand the early Amazon like, and have a more profound understanding of the difficult business.
Craig: what did you do before Amazon?
Shel: from 1975 onwards I do programmers. The first real programming of my work is in a company split out from MIT, called Information International (or Triple-I).1975 I went there to do summer job. When I was in college, and then second drop out later in the Triple-I for 3 years.1978 years, I decided to complete a bachelor's degree, then returned to the University of Calif Santa Cruz for a period of time, then stay in North Carolina, until moving to Seattle.
Craig: so how did you join Amazon?
Shel:1994 at the beginning of the year, I called Kaleida Labs in a company, this is an apple and IBM joint venture company.1994 in the spring I left the company. One of them got out of college young people give me Mosaic, it was my first time on the new. ARPANET is the predecessor of the Internet, in 1969 or 1970. I feel it's cool, but for some reason that few people are excited. I couldn't imagine it at the end of what will become.
When I saw Mosaic, click later, I finally understand the Internet to open the door to a much larger audience. After missing several waves of technology wave he was not interested in, I think this wave is very interesting, but I also want to do something really. What is the thing I do not know, but just want to participate. At that time there have been some new web enterprise in recruitment, but also got some time hotshots. When Netscape (Netscape Co) has been set up, some people I know have been working there. However, Netscape does not seem to be for me. Although I could have got a job there. I want to go to start-ups, hoping to come into contact with the early stage of business more things.
I was talking with a friend Herb Jellinek Cruz together to discuss some ideas, trying to achieve a business together to attract our ideas
After Herb talked to Bezos, who flew to Santa Cruz to meet with us. We eat breakfast together, Bezos told him the idea of our online bookstore. We even discussed the possibility of a company in Santa Cruz. It was the spring of 1994. Bezos later returned to New York, began to consider the company should be set in the where is the thing. We have to find live office in Santa Cruz, but as Bezos learned more and more about the mail order business, he finally decided to put the company set a little less in a population, or do not accept the business tax, would be better. He finally narrowed the scope of Nevada or Seattle. Basically I am not willing to move to Nevada. When he finally decided to company based in Seattle, he spent a whole summer to persuade me to move in the past, because I have been living in Santa Cruz. Almost 20 years ago, I like it.
But this project is attractive enough for me, I finally decided to move over. But only recently moved to Santa Cruz Herb decided to stay. At first I was a bit hesitant.
At that time I thought:
Craig: how do you judge each other? Does he know about technology? Have you ever worked with a lot of entrepreneurs?
Shel: I really worked in several different start-ups. We will put their information to each other. But I think my choice is largely based on my feelings for him, I feel he is a great person. I have been in several start-ups, they are the lack of adequate business minded people, do not know how to finance, how to carry out marketing, how to develop a business plan, these things are very interesting, are not based on the complex did not, but no one will pay for these things. I love this idea is straightforward. I can explain what customers might be like, they will get what and how companies can be rewarded, I love them.
I met Bezos after love him. He has a very charming personality. I also very excited, in addition to the people involved have other reasons to influence my decision. At that time, network, hypertext, graphical convergence of these trends together, in the web on all of these things are the first time to play a role.
I want to make a super version of the book. This idea even before I met Bezos, I thought it was in the background, but I just wanted to have no action.
I think a perfect hypertext application can solve this problem. There are several other online bookstores coming out, but it doesn't seem to have a real good grasp of the problem,
Craig: what are you going to do at the beginning?
Shel: Uh, began to actually do what, just from NCSA (National Computer Security Association) to get a small library, there are some of the more basic things, you can have a little used to develop the interactive website. First I built some machines, installed a set of database system, and then build a development environment. At that time there was no any cloud service or something similar. Everything depends on your own build and run the.Web tool library or development environment was very scarce. Everything is out but then put all sorts of things together, web is still very static things
The HTTP server provides can be used to run the script hooks, we had to rely on this stuff, because we all the pages to be dynamically generated. Then it will not be any things that can develop stateful applications. In other words, that is what you have to offer something different for different people, you have to track the progress of the man, because they will add things to the shopping basket, and also after a process of order. We have to think of a way to solve this, and learn how to do it.
Craig: how do you debug? I will often use Stack Overflow. when you can not solve the bug do now?
Shel: stay up late.
Craig: (laughter) makes sense.
Shel: I don't remember me from the outside get too much help. At that time we decided to make the move from Sun Digital to Sun server. I was more familiar with the machine, so when the replaced Digital machine at the beginning we encountered some performance problems, from UW Bezos (University of Washington) for a professor to help us to carry out this one kernel tuning, I am very unfamiliar.
Everything else is done as usual. In terms of technology, the development of Amazon is indeed a bit simple and crude, although we also have our own bug, but our approach is quite straightforward.
Craig: do you also develop inventory management software?
Shel: after a month I went there and we got a guy, his name is Paul Davis, the former UW computer science department staff, is a great hacker. He and I worked together very well. I mainly focus on the website and client oriented business. He focused on delivery. Receiving, inventory, credit card fees and other things. But the encoding aspects we are involved. He only spent about 1 years and around 1 quarters. After he left the company for several months, I was alone, until I got new. When everything is on me one person finished. I remember 3 months every day I have to work, not as early as nine to five of that. We then recruited several people, each responsible for certain aspects of the program.
Craig: do you remember how many orders were there at that time?
Shel: I don't remember the exact figures, but by today's standards is very small. Although this is the case, but a quarter of our business has doubled every 6 consecutive quarter, are like this. Before we start to get the Digital server, our entire business is in Taiwan small Sun desktop machine. Those are all running on it. We don't have much hardware budget. We are really all the ability that a few sets of small machines are drained. Our configuration always lags behind the necessary hardware requirements.
Craig: is there any pain in this situation for you guys?
Shel: Yes, of course. We are always facing a hardware limitation. For one reason or another, there is a problem I had never been able to convince Bezos to solve the allocation of resources, that is to sort out the problem of architecture, in a more elegant way to expand. There are always too many customers to the function of waiting we develop.
So sometimes there will be some hardware problems caused by the rest of the database is damaged, and some of the backup can not work.
Craig: did you run some analytical applications?
Shel: No. The beginning is not this thing. I think it should be by the summer of 1997. It is time to first person is special to do this. In the beginning, we just save the server logs, think it could be very interesting, but the analysis is not immediately to do things.
Craig: when there is plenty of time and money.
Shel: Yes, maybe when we have thousands of programmers or other resources.
Craig: exactly. So did you do the product with Bezos? How did you manage it?
Shel: at that time we just a bookstore, so in my opinion and not too many things to grasp the direction. That being said, but I may have some Bezos have been doing things I don't know. Now in retrospect, I even can't understand what he actually doing. He didn't do any technical aspects of things. As far as I know we've never even wrote a business plan.
Craig: (laughs) is he doing things that he is doing?
Shel: he didn't do that. Well, at first before we move to deal with the publisher did, at the beginning we basically only with distributors to deal with. But we want to catalogue bigger, so we had to follow, no channels represent publishers dealing directly. So we can say there are millions of works, which at the time but very large number.
Craig: How did you find out?
Shel: Well, it was not possible for Google. to have other ideas, but first, there were not many interesting sites. Then, as the results showed, there was a pair of working on Netscape
Craig: did you ship to all 50 states at first?
Shel: Yes, there are several foreign countries. We already have a lot of international orders for a long time.
Craig: when did you realize
Shel: I think that is probably the next 2 years or so. Gradually remote doing family affairs has become very annoying, even rent to me is your friend. I have to be responsible for the house. I still think that, if I move back, maybe I won't live in the house. The house is not very good. I don't think the last house can make my life easier.
And then we also began to expand into different product areas. We started to open the site in several countries. Germany and England is the first of the two. We have also started to make acquisitions. I think it's time in the spring of 97 years after IPO.
Craig: Wow! I didn't think of that early.3 years?
Shel: Yes. About 2 and a half years.
Craig:IPO what role do you do?
Shel: my role has always been technology, some technical and management. At that time I was responsible for the development of the VP, responsible for writing the software and keep the system running. I had the role of recruit for one month before IPO is 1,2. In the same year in September and came in a man. Earlier, the small team of guys are working for me, I was mainly responsible for a large number of programming work, but the system management, network configuration and other things also. With the hard disk, Ethernet cabling and so on building the things I do.
Craig: this entrepreneurial life seems not as glamorous as some people think.
Shel: Yes. These days is still the first priority seemingly scenery start-ups. If you are in business, not a business life is very bright. You have to work very hard, but your efforts may be useful, perhaps not.
Craig: do you have any traces of your previous work, Amazon?
Shel: until recently, maybe a few years ago, I could have made a positive response, but now I can't see any traces.
Craig: even the design pattern has changed, for example, the working mechanism of the shopping cart.
Shel: I don't remember this is not to learn from other sites. But as long as you think about this question seems to be self-evident. You certainly don't want to pick something every time after you have to run over the transaction process. You have to let you to browse the site again, the interested chosen somewhere this can be a one-time purchase and delivery. I remember being on the site of the flow of a large number of frame design. We will prompt the user to say, as long as later changed his mind, can always put things out of the shopping cart. So people will feel relieved many.
No one was used to become the online customers. You must be very careful, make sure that you feel comfortable, let them know that their actions can be revoked. If I am responsible for the technical aspects of things, many words early when the site looks and above is what I do. I carefully make sure what can be accepted by the users of the Internet culture.
Craig: This is crazy. Your design is aimed at a completely different level of cognition. You can assume a lot of things today.
Shel: Yes, absolutely. Back then, do e-commerce on the Internet is just beginning. We are still wrangling over whether to allow online business activities. At least I remember so many people on the Internet. Basically all think so:
This situation is over commercialized by the community unanimously condemned. Some lawyers to sell their green card service is put through a massive spam. This caused a great upset at the time. But now it is a funny thing, because this thing is too common.
Then, as the cookies began to become a web browser, many people began to worry about their privacy problems, so they put off cookies. So we had to think of it, to ensure that no cookie can maintain the operation. It was also run a text browser. In addition they send pictures or dial-up. For these people, what is not a good thing.
Craig: wait a minute, do you mean that early Amazon can be used as a plain text website?
Shel: Yes, we have tested it. It's important for us to make sure things are always important, even if you don't have a high bandwidth or the newest and best computer should be able to use our website.
Craig: how long did you stay in Amazon?
Shel: I've been there for 5 years.
Craig: when did you leave, Amazon was just a bookstore? What was it like then?
Shel: Well, they have been extended to a number of other products in the field. But at that time there was no digital products. The e-book has not come out. They have not developed any hardware products. Their computer service has not yet open to the public. At the time of the Amazon is largely a retail business. Although it has no doubt the tentacles stretched in other product areas and countries.
After IPO and later, the people who are attracted to the company have changed a lot. Come in is the role of MBA and in my opinion, Amazon is a big company.
Craig: you see all these technological changes. Have you ever thought about how you should evaluate the technology when you are ready to start a business?
Shel: I don't know yet. This is a huge proposition. For me, this time I see such, now the technology to do two things, or is connected, or isolated people. I tend to decide what according to the value judgment is worth doing.
As long as you walk down the street, just where to look you will see on the sidewalk all the people are staring at the mobile phone. And then you see everyone mechanically at the mobile phone speech, so that the speech recognizer himself understood. Now they have a mobile phone Chuaizhuo rush to the park, want to catch those the virtual animal (Note: should refer to Pokemon GO). I think these are not necessarily positive progress.
I think it should have a space for one person, but I did not see the technology being put to good use. But our life is very economic. This is very addictive. Even complain about it are still subject to it.
Craig: that's true. What do you think Amazon is doing right now?
Shel: I think a lot of things they do more to isolating this one. Everything is in order to cater to the needs of the convenience, convenience to you even don't have to take care of their daily affairs. For me, this one step too far. As for all the mainstream online business, with we are very early so that customers can review than I do not think how much they do.
Craig: are you still in close contact with Bezos?
Shel: No. After he had left the top of my initial work, I went to the CTO position, I am nominally responsible for architecture, but actually play a role only cover a chapter, and I saw when the project has been completed. 95%, they told me that as long as I wish this work is intended for me. But I can not have any resources in addition to do what they are interested in. So I think the source related to this point to both sides is not too good.
Craig: look back on the past, how do you evaluate Bezos and Amazon?
Shel: he is obviously a super talented businessman. If I like this company to Amazon what will become, I say that there is any clue in the degree of success and business practice, I may start to consider its relationship with a little more carefully. I may determine the I don't want to do something.
Amazon had taught me a little, it is hard to imagine a project or company than you imagine what will become successful. This possibility is very low, but the potential is there. You have to think, if it's going to happen if the environment will become what you want. Consider the people involved will change. When I followed Bezos to set up Amazon in the beginning, I even convince yourself to move past. I work in many start-ups, in my opinion, too many companies consider the success of what happens is not good. This is my mind. My hope is to help the company to obtain appropriate success. If you can earn enough money to let us in a better time to retire. I don't want to consider those beyond the great success of their own imagination. Because you will think, in promoting the company What role did I play in my success? Is that really what I want to do?
However, in all the work I have done them (since I started programming to leave Amazon I did do a lot of work between), in the first few years of the Amazon is indeed a high light moment for me. I really love that time. Because of the large degree and not by technology, but because I had in many small companies, or no progress of these, or is in the wrong time to do the wrong thing. But from the beginning to become a member to attract users, amazing growth for the company, and make a real contribution to their own, there is a great satisfaction for me to review the years and I still take it as their life time really exciting.
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