Right before I started at Amazon in Feb 1997, I managed to catch Amazon's 1996 holiday party.
The party had a backyard feel to it. We were drinking beers in the scruffy Seattle warehouse. A couple kegs sat in a corner. There was a band made up of warehouse employees. It was deeply Seattle, a bit of mellow fun.
I had just joined Amazon after leaving a repugnant Eastside company. This was exactly what I wanted. A little online bookstore, full of promise and excitement. I felt like I was home.
At the time, I had no idea that Amazon would get so big so fast. The growth was remarkable. But, even now, I look back at those first days with a deep fondness.