"I came across the fact that Web usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year," Bezos said in a 2010 address at his alma mater. "I'd never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast, and the idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles — something that simply couldn't exist in the physical world — was very exciting to me."
At the 2017 Summit LA conference, Bezos recalled that, when he told his boss about his Internet bookstore idea, his boss said, "I think this is a good idea, but I think this would be an even better idea for somebody that didn't already have a good job."
That's when Bezos considered what his 80-year-old self would say if he did or didn't seize this opportunity.
"In most cases, our biggest regrets turn out to be acts of omission. It's paths not taken and they haunt us. We wonder what would have happened," Bezos said at Summit LA. "I knew that when I'm 80, I would never regret trying this thing that I was super excited about and it failing. If it failed, fine. I would be very proud of the fact when I'm 80 that I tried. I also knew that it would always haunt me if I didn't try."
After "a lot of soul-searching," Bezos quit his job to start his dream company in 1994 and the decision paid off: Amazon went public three years later.
Today, Amazon is valued at over $767 billion and those who invested in the company early on are reaping the benefits. Even Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett regrets not investing in Amazon when he had the chance.
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