Jeff Bezos has cities across the United States all but pleading to be the location of Amazon's second headquarters. But a few decades back, Amazon's offices in Seattle were less than desirable, to say the least.
In 1999, five years after Amazon was founded, the company's headquarters was on the same street as a pawn shop, a heroin-needle exchange and a "porno parlor."
That's according to the profile CBS' Bob Simon did of Bezos in 1999 for "60 Minutes." Tech blog GeekWire recently resurfaced the 13-minute profile as Bezos' net worth shot past $100 billion in the wake of a pop in the Amazon stock price on Black Friday.
On the show, Simon navigates to Amazon headquarters, where he meets Bezos for the interview.
"And where are Amazon's headquarters? The public relations people told us to come to 1516 Second Avenue between Pike and Pine in Seattle," says Simon, as he walks down the block.
"But when we passed the pawn shop and the porno parlor, the wig store and the downmarket teriyaki joint, we didn't see anything vaguely cutting-edge. No corporate drives or office towers. Just a heroin-needle exchange and an old building called Columbia, but it had the number 1516 so we walked inside — and there it was."
When Simon got upstairs, he was surprised — yet again — by the banality of the office, including the badly stained carpet and Bezos' desk, made out of a door propped up on two-by-fours.
Even in 1999, Bezos was likely a billionaire several times over. (Simon asked Bezos later in the segment about being worth $9 billion to $10 billion dollars — a figure which Bezos neither confirmed nor denied.) So why the makeshift workspace?