A couple of weeks ago, I was a guest at the Sun Valley Resort during the annual Allen & Company Media / Tech boondoggle. 99% of the guests – ranging from moguls, to dogs of moguls, to reporters spying on moguls and dogs of moguls – were there for the conference. I was there for the weather, the pool and the outdoor skating rink.
My morning vacation routine does not usually include standing in line behind Harvey Weinstein and Tom Freston at Starbucks while Rupert Murdoch whizzes by the window on a golf cart. It was morbidly fascinating. And I quickly figured out that chatting with amazingly brilliant tech and media icons is actually very easy, provided you’re someone like me that has no idea what most of these “icons” actually look like.
. . . .
Not 20 minutes passed by before a lovely gentleman – who it later turns out was sitting with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – leaned over to ask what I was reading. We had a nice chat about my book (“The New Republic,” by Lionel Shriver) and he recommended I try “The Age of Miracles”. I tell him that the next time I visit the town bookstore, I’ll be sure to look for it. Immediately this kind man (who I’m sure is also terribly important) gets a twinkle in his eye before shouting to his table mates “Jeff! Guys! You have to meet this girl!”
Jeff Bezos is drawn to my enormous hardcover book like an area 51 fanatic to an alien. “So, is that really a book? Because you know, the color of the book matches your scarf.”
There is laughter all around as I reply sheepishly that yes, it is a book and no, I did not plan on wearing a matching scarf.
He replies, “So you know, I bet you could read that book on a Kindle”.
I say something absurd about how I’m not a big tech person and how I didn’t know that I could find a kindle that matched my scarf.
“Well, maybe not, but you could get a cover for it. And Kindles are really easy to use. Maybe you just need a tutorial? Do you have a Kindle”
“You know, I think I might?” I said, “I feel like someone gave me a Kindle as a gift last year, but it’s probably just sitting in the box somewhere. I don’t know that I even opened it.”
At this point, all fellows at the table are trying to stifle raucous laughter. The original gentleman I was speaking with says, “Ask her where she got the book Jeff!”
So naturally, he asks and I tell him all about the great little bookstore in town, and how the people there are so nice and helpful, and if he wants a book, he really should go.
“What about Amazon?” he said, without any disclosure, “If you ordered the book on Amazon, it could be here tomorrow.”
I thought about this for a second, then said “that’s true, but…at the bookstore in town, they have a cafe connected to it so you can buy your book and get a coffee at the same time. Now if I order a book on Amazon, it doesn’t come with a cup of coffee, does it?”
Not only is everyone now guffawing at Jeff Bezos failing to sell The EMPIRE HE INVENTED, they are also looking at me like “this girl is either dumber than a box of rocks or lives under a rock, because is this really happening?”