Instant Connection

Years ago I watched an episode of Oprah featuring Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. He told the story of  the early days – including meeting potential investors at a coffee shop inside a bookstore. The whole interview was delightfully down to Earth. My favorite part was when he was talking about the days shortly after launch when the orders started coming in regularly.

At the beginning, they were packing up all the orders in a corner of their warehouse, right on the bare concrete. They had a staff meeting, all of the handful of employees at that time, to discuss the situation because it was starting to get painful. Jeff Bezos suggested knee pads.

One of his staff members suggested they buy a table. That suggestion got that guy a raise!

The fact that knee pads were the first solution to pop into my mind as well forever endeared him and his company to me.

Wow, I just realized that this is the second time I’ve admired someone for being self depreciating and willing to look the part of a fool.

I guess I am also more than willing to look the fool, only I don’t perceive it that way. I spent my entire cold adventure wearing a giraffe hat.

Tammy wearing a  Giraffe Hat

Some people might have thought it silly. Others (myself included, which counts so much more) thought it was awesome.

Then again, I’m often not afraid to do things that I know will embarrass other people. Did you know that it is not common to take home left overs from restaurants in Europe? That was one local tradition that I intentionally did not follow. I think my frugal nature won out!  Although he has been in this country forever, Kurt still gets embarrassed by my doggy bags. Admittedly, though, that does add to my likelihood to do it!

How much attention do you pay to what “they” think of you? or Have you ever felt a personal connection to a company after learning more about their founder?

4 thoughts on “Instant Connection”

  1. I think I’ve never cared much about what they think. I remember being pretty sassy in high school. I still am. I participated in Socrates Cafe at our local library for a couple years – just a group of people who met once a week for an hour and discussed any number of philosophical topics. We took turns bringing the subject. Once it was power and the conversation went everywhere from political power to individual power and one very elderly woman said, “the older I get the less I care what other people think and when you don’t care what other people think it gives you more power.” She was so right. So you TAKE those doggie bags, Tammy, you take em and carry em proudly!


    1. I’m impressed that you were able to be yourself, even when you were younger. In high school I very much cared what “they” think. Yet, I didn’t have any contact with them after I graduated. I think it was in my 30s that I started to matter more in my head than any “they”. How liberating! Hence why I now gladly carry around doggy bags while wearing a giraffe hat.


  2. Jeff Bezos is an interesting guy. You’re right to admire him; I do too. To think that the first idea was knee pads when a table would work better. Such humble origins for a huge empire.

    You know, I used to mind looking the fool. Now I don’t so much. I don’t know if this is true for you, but the less I care about looking like a fool, the less I actually do. That might be because I actually don’t look like a fool anymore or I just don’t notice doing it as much anymore.

    I’ve never heard that rule about taking leftovers in European restaurants. Without fail, I take some home with me whenever I go out to eat. They just give me so much food and I don’t want to waste any of it. I guess I would risk looking foolish and take some home with me if I was in Europe. That’s just the kind of guy I am.


    1. I think people pay a lot less attention to me than I give them credit. I also think that if you don’t mind being foolish, you don’t look it – confidence is what shines through.

      I was trying really hard to adopt the British social norms when I lived there, so as not to flaunt my foreignness and as a means of fitting into the community. There were were a few exceptions (like the doggy bags), but for the most part I was successful.


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