From a young age, the Amazon founder had dreamed up unlikely-sounding schemes. And then one took off

In 1994, Jeff Bezos held 60 meetings with family members, friends and potential investors in an attempt to persuade them to invest $50,000 (£35,000) in his revolutionary idea to create an online bookshop. He failed to convince 38 of them, and 24 years later some of them still cannot bring themselves to talk about what life might have been like if they had taken a punt on Bezos and this “Amazon thing” that the then 30-year-old hedge fund manager wouldn’t shut up about.

“I’m in touch with a few of them now,” Bezos revealed in an on-stage interview at a charity dinner in Washington DC last year. “It’s kind of a study in human nature … Some of them take it in their stride, and they recognise that they actually have ridiculously happy lives. [But] others of them just cannot talk about it – it’s too painful.”

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