Jeff Bezos's email address
My leaf blower, Jeff's email address, the connection, and 7 other things worth your time.
A few years ago, when we moved out to the suburbs, I bought a lawn mower.
Our yard isn’t huge, so I went with an electric one. But, when I went to use it for the first time, the battery was a dud.
Thus began a customer service oddyssey.
Eventually I gave up and sent an email directly to the company CEO. To my slight surprise, I got a call a day later from a top executive apologizing, offering to replace the battery, and throwing in the additional product of my choice as a way of making it up.
I went with a leaf blower. They assured me that as a first time suburban homeowner, I would find it useful.
Warning: Apparent nonsequitor coming up, but it will hopefully make sense in a minute.
I’ve written a lot of articles about Jeff Bezos over the years: more than 150 according to Google. And when I do so now, I try to remember to email him directly beforehand.
At first, I did this to try to short-circuit Amazon PR, and ask for comments. Since I never got a reply, and yet the emails also never bounced back, I kept it up.
I started to find the whole thing funny. I liked imagining Bezos out there somewhere, running a meeting or counting his billions, when his phone buzzes and he looks down to see yet another email from that Murphy guy.
OK, so how did I get his email address in the first place, you might ask?
Actually, it’s kind of an open secret. I am sure he has multiple other addresses, but I’d always read that you can reach him at “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
In fact, it’s been said (actually, I reported on it myself) that Bezos sometimes has a habit of reading customer service emails and forwarding them to different departments or leaders at Amazon with a single character added: “?”
Getting a question mark email is "a ticking bomb” for people within Amazon, according to Brad Stone’s book, “The Everything Store.” It "elicits waves of panic," as Amazon employees scramble to explain what went wrong--and make it right.
This is what I had in mind when I emailed the CEO of the lawn mower company. I wondered if I could craft an email that would prompt some version of a Bezos-style “question mark.”
I don’t think I realized it at the time, but it turned out this CEO had previously been an executive at Amazon, so maybe that’s why it worked.
Anyway, I thought of it all again for two main reasons.
First, I stood in our driveway yesterday, noticing all the leaves that had fallen around the pool. Ah yes, I thought, the leaf blower.
(I really don’t get as much use out of it as the lawn mower company insisted I would, but the price was right.)
Second, I recently wrote yet another story about Bezos for Inc.com.
This one was based on an anecdote that a former employee shared, about the time Bezos stopped a meeting and demonstrated a “5 whys” analysis, as they investigaged how a minor injury happened at an Amazon fulfilment center.
I think it’s a legitimate and interesting story, but when I emailed Bezos (as always), this was not the story I thought would prompt my first ever reply.
Lo and behold, it did — not from Bezos himself, but from an assistant:
“I really appreciate you thinking of Jeff and offering the opportunity to interview him.
I’m afraid Jeff’s schedule is busy enough these days that he’s unable to participate in as many events as he would otherwise like to and I’ll have to respectfully decline.
We do appreciate the opportunity, though, and wish you all the best.”
So, finally: proof that email@example.com still works.
Bezos’s net worth increased by an unbelievable $13 billion yesterday, which is the single largest amount of money anyone has ever made during the eight year history of the Bloomberg billionaires index, which tracks the net worth of the mega wealthy.
Me, I got a free leaf blower. But more important, a story.
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