Nerd Power!

Happy Cyber Monday! Did you know today has an official title? Last year Amazon shipped out 306 packages per second on this day, and this year they hope to do even more. It’s pretty mind boggling.

Last night, my husband and I watched this Charlie Rose interview on 60 Minutes of Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. (I love Charlie Rose, and my husband loves Amazon, so it was right up our alley.)

It was really fascinating to see one of their distribution centers up close. And even more exciting was that Jeff Bezos unveiled their plans to use mini-helicopter drones to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less. Amazing! Incredible! The world is changing so quickly! And yet by the time the story was over, I was already used to the idea and ready for it to become a reality.

Technology moves fast, but apparently my wish for convenience moves even faster. (Unfortunately they’re still years away.)

But my favorite part was what happened after the story was over. We started watching other videos on ABC’s site and came upon this old 60 Minutes interview titled “The Jeff Bezos of 1999: Nerd of the Amazon.”

(Unfortunately I can’t embed the video. To watch the interview, go here and look for the link to the video on the right hand side of your screen—currently the fourth video from the top.)

Back in 1999, of course, a lot was different. Amazon was still a big question mark because they hadn’t yet made a profit, and so too therefore was Bezos himself. Was he going to be able to pull this Amazon thing off? Did he deserve the world’s respect?

The interviewer, Bob Simon, seemed to think not. Although he was personable in his interactions with Bezos, there was an undercurrent to his demeanor that made me uncomfortable during the whole story. By the end, Simon’s frequent use of the word “nerd” to describe Bezos—and more significantly, his slight tone of condescension when he did—helped me to realize what I was feeling.

It seemed to me that Simon didn’t think all that much of Bezos. And I really couldn’t tell you why. Many of the characteristics Simon seemed to find unappealing, or at the very least strange (in that nose wrinkled up sort of way)—his frugality, his big idea thinking, his even bigger laugh, his all-around “nerdiness”—are characteristics I really admire.

When the story was over, I suddenly realized I’ve been in conversations with people who were talking to me just as Bob Simon was talking to Jeff Bezos. People who were acting like they liked me and respected me, but really they didn’t. They were going through the motions of having a conversation with me for the sake of convention, but inside they were thinking what a weirdo I was. I could sense their disdain, sort of, but since they were acting nice on the surface, the whole thing just left me confused.

So to me the best part was around 11 minutes into the story, when Simon was interviewing a financial expert about the obviously inflated (in his opinion) Amazon stock values. He could not understand how a company like Amazon could possibly be valued more highly than a company like Sears. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, but still, it gave me a little sense of satisfaction that today it is his incredulity that seems absurd.

Revenge of the nerds, indeed!

Heart Amy

© Amy Daniewicz

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