bezos3Jeff Bezos eats octopus like he acquires companies.

At least that’s what’s apparent from a tidbit in D Magazine’s profile of Matt Rutledge and his former company Woot.com, which Amazon acquired back in 2010.

The entire story is interesting, but there’s one part that is particularly funny — or scary, depending on how you interpret it — when Rutledge recounts a breakfast he had with Bezos at Tom Douglas’ Lola restaurant in Seattle shortly after Amazon decided to purchase Woot for $110 million.

Rutledge asked Bezos a simple question: Why did you buy Woot?

After an awkward delay, Bezos offered a not-so-simple answer. From the story:

He looked down at his plate. Bezos had ordered a dish called Tom’s Big Breakfast, a preparation of Mediterranean octopus that includes potatoes, bacon, green garlic yogurt, and a poached egg. “You’re the octopus that I’m having for breakfast,” Rutledge remembers Bezos saying. “When I look at the menu, you’re the thing I don’t understand, the thing I’ve never had. I must have the breakfast octopus.”

Not until Rutledge had returned to Dallas and related the story to his anxious employees—now Amazon’s employees—did he realize just how absurd that explanation sounded. Before it can be eaten, generally, the breakfast octopus must be killed.

What could that mean? One possible explanation: Bezos thinks smaller companies he wants to acquire are like octopus. He might not totally understand what they do, but he wants it. First, though, he must kill — er, acquire — the company before bringing it under Amazon’s watch.

Speaking of Woot, let’s enjoy what’s still one of the greatest acquisition announcements we’ve seen:

Comments

  • Adam

    It’s a choice on the menu that you just don’t understand. Amazon came of age in a not-so-social social Web, as new models pop up for commerce, what better way to understand it than acquire it and put it under the microscope? Learn, adapt, or die.

  • tsupasat

    That acquisition video is the best ever. Article was worth the time, but the video? … priceless.

  • Geeker1986

    Interesting to read the D article where Rutledge blames Amazon for ruining Woot by making it expand. Woot’s own Wiki article shows that the expansion happened prior to Amazon’s acquisition with Woot running multi-item events and adding several new sites. Basically makes the D story sound like but sour grapes from Rutledge (poor guy only got $110 million in the bank) and a shameless attempt to re-write history while getting attention for his new site. It should make one doubt the Bezos story too. It would be interesting if someone would talk to Bezos to confirm the story. Journalists used to do stuff like that….

  • butch

    Are you sure he wasn’t referring to the Standard Oil Octopus?

  • Benji

    Jeebus. It took the guy a whole plane ride home, a night of sleep, and employees asking him the next morning before realizing that he’d killed his company by selling it to Amazon? I feel for the guy but damn is he dense.

Job Listings on GeekWork