Bezos on Buffett Skeptical of Internet mania, the founder and CEO of is spreading the gospel according to Buffett.
By Patricia Sellers

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Warren Buffett doesn't mention the Internet on these pages. But he does talk about two other transforming industries that failed to reward investors over time: autos and aviation. Only a fool would ignore his implicit warning: A lot of people will lose a lot of money betting on the Internet. founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was so intrigued by Buffett's talk at Herb Allen's gathering of business leaders in Sun Valley, Idaho, last July that he asked Buffett for his lists of the automakers and aircraft manufacturers that didn't make it. "When new industries become phenomenons, a lot of investors bet on the wrong companies," Bezos says. Referring to Buffett's 70-page catalog of mostly dead car and truck makes, he adds, "I noticed that decades ago, it was de rigueur to use 'Motors' in the name, just as everybody uses 'dot-com' today. I thought, Wow, the parallel is interesting."

Especially interesting to a billionaire like Bezos, who knows something about stock valuations from his previous career as a hedge fund manager. Interesting also to Bezos the history buff, who likes to talk about the Cambrian explosion about 550 million years ago, when multicelled life spawned unprecedented variation of species--and with it, a wave of extinctions. Given this perspective, Bezos says, Buffett's analogies about bankrupt businesses "resonate deeply." Now Bezos is spreading the gospel according to Buffett and urging Amazon employees to run scared every day. "We still have the opportunity to be a footnote in the e-commerce industry," he says.

--Patricia Sellers