It was 1998. Amazon only sold books. And its CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, was still a relatively young man with some hair left on his head. And Google didn't yet exist. Or rather, it was still in start-up mode, and early investors were buying its stock at pennies per share.
Here's how Bezos recalls his visit to the Google garage that year: "I just fell in love with Larry and Sergey," he tells Ken Auletta in an interview for his new book (excerpted in this week's New Yorker, but not yet online). Ah, sweet love! Sweet, sweet four-cents-a-share love. Bezos fell so in love with Larry Page and Sergey Brin during his Menlo Park visit that he bought a $250,000 stake in their nascent company, as Kara Swisher reports in her advance peek at Auletta's forthcoming Googled: The End of the World As We Know It. Yet somehow, by the time of Google's 2004 IPO, says Swisher, Bezos' love had soured. The three-way bromance was over, and he sold his Google stake. Which, per Swisher's report, would be worth $1.6 billion. Not that you can put a price on love. Or a broken heart.
Auletta will talk about his new book, Google, and (we hope) Bezos at Seattle Central Library (1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, spl.org) at 7 p.m., Mon., Nov. 9.