Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Why Oliver Daemen told Jeff Bezos he had never bought from Amazon

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Daemen, who became the youngest person to ever reach space with the trip, even told Bezos that he’d never used the website, according to Reuters. “I told Jeff, like, I’ve actually never bought something from Amazon,” Daemen told Reuters in an interview last week after the teen returned to the Netherlands following his historic spaceflight.

“And he was like, ‘Oh, wow, it’s a long time ago I heard someone say that.’” It remains unclear if Daemen will start shopping on Amazon now that he’s shared a space capsule with the company’s billionaire founder. A spokesperson for Daemen told CNBC Make It that the teen is currently on vacation and unavailable for interviews, while Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While Amazon started selling just e-books in the Netherlands in 2014, and Dutch customers have been able to get 24-hour delivery from Amazon through the company’s German website since 2016, Amazon did not fully launch a Dutch-language website (Amazon.nl, which sells 100 million products and includes “thousands” of Dutch retailers) until March 2020. As such, the company still faces steep competition from other Dutch e-commerce sites that have gained a foothold in the country, such as Bol.com and Coolblue. At the very least, it sounds like Daemen and Bezos got along fine, even though the Dutch teen was not an Amazon customer.

However, the fact that Daemen hasn’t shopped with Amazon is less surprising when you take into account that the world’s largest e-commerce company has only recently ramped up its presence in the Netherlands, where Daemen lives, a representative for Daemen points out. Of course, Amazon has done just fine without Daemen’s support. The company that Bezos founded in 1994 pulled in $386 billion in revenue in 2020, is currently valued at $1.8 trillion and ships a few million packages per day.

“You may think that this is a side project for him because he is mainly involved with Amazon, but that is not true,” Daemen said of Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon’s CEO at the beginning of July to focus on Blue Origin as well as initiaties like the Bezos Earth Fund, The Washington Post and the Amazon Day 1 Fund (Bezos remains executive chairman of Amazon’s board). “Jeff Bezos turned out to be super social and nice in real life too,” Daemen said in an interview with Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad a few days after the Blue Origin flight. Daemen added that he found Bezos’ knowledge of Blue Origin’s rockets “really impressive,” and said he felt that space technology is more than just a “side project” for the world’s wealthiest man.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images In the days leading up to the July 20 Blue Origin flight, Daemen said that he trained with the rest of the crew, which included Bezos and his brother, Mark Bezos, as well as 82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk (the oldest person to ever reach space). Blue Origin’s New Shepard crew (L-R) Oliver Daemen, Jeff Bezos, Wally Funk, and Mark Bezos pose for a picture near the booster after flying into space in the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket on July 20, 2021 in Van Horn, Texas. Mr. Bezos and the crew were the first human spaceflight for the company.

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