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Why Did Jeff Bezos Send Me His Favorite Childhood Book?

All we know is that if Amazon is indeed releasing a smartphone, as a latecomer, it better have something freaking awesome.

Why Did Jeff Bezos Send Me His Favorite Childhood Book?
[Image: Flickr user Zhao !]

On Wednesday, Amazon is hosting a launch event at its headquarters for an undisclosed product. The tech press seemed so certain it would be the Amazon phone we’ve been hearing about for years, but CEO Jeff Bezos thoroughly confused reporters heading to Seattle next week by sending them a cryptic package Friday morning. Inside was his favorite childhood book: Mr. Pine’s Purple House.

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For those not familiar with the riveting plot, the book tells the story of a man named Mr. Pine who lived on a street with 50 white houses. He attempts to make his house stand out by planting a pine tree, but all his neighbors–thinking it a lovely addition–copy him, making his house as indistinguishable as before. He then plants a bush, but again, they follow suit. Eventually, he decides to try something more drastic: to paint his house purple. The neighbors thought it looked great, but it inspired them to paint their homes different colors–and like that, Mr. Pine got his house to stand out and inspired his neighbors to break the mold.

So, what does this all mean? A purple phone? Smart homes? More products geared toward children? Reviewing the teaser video it released earlier this month, it’s apparent it’s a gadget of some sort, maybe one with a 3-D screen. But for now, we can only speculate. All we know is that if Amazon is indeed releasing a smartphone, as a latecomer, it better have something freaking awesome we’ve never seen before.

Fast Company will be on the ground next week in Seattle, so tune back in to our live blog.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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