Patrick Byrne: Why did you found Overstock.com?

Patrick Byrne: Interesting. Well there’s two ways to explain it, and the part that’s the most interesting is I knew a guy when I was in high school – a guy named Charlie, a good fellow, Chaluca – and whatever you wanted . . . He was part of sort of the Greek mob I would say that runs a lot of things in the D.C. area. And whatever you wanted, he’d say, “Yeah, yeah. I know a guy in a warehouse. I’ll get it for you real cheap. I know a guy. I’ve got a cousin in the factory,” or something like that. We all wondered if it was hot or something. Well it just turns out that Chaluca knew people, and he did know . . . And it turns out that at the fringes of retail, there’s this world of folks that folks like you and I normally never meet. They’re called “joppers”, and they tend to be “bada-bing, bada-boom, knows-a-guy-that-knows-a-guy” kind of fellows. And I learned about that world originally through him. And then as the idea for Overstock was let’s just . . . For the consumers who don’t have a friend like Charlie, we’ll be a company of Charlies. We’ll be out there wheeling and dealing trying to find these special opportunities, bringing them into a warehouse in Salt Lake, putting them up online. So we’re . . . we’re for the consumer who doesn’t have his own Charlie. They just need to know us. That was sort of . . . That was one way to explain it. I did find that interesting. I didn’t think I was . . . I thought I’d be doing it for about six months until I found someone to replace myself, but that . . . It’s like the God . . . Al Pacino in Godfather III. “Every time I start to get out they suck you back in!”

Recorded on: 10/29/07

 

The origins of overstock.com.

Google Maps apologizes for going rogue in Japan

The navigation tool has placed a school in the sea, among other things.

Strange Maps
  • Google has apologized for the sudden instability of its maps in Japan.
  • Errors may stem from Google's long-time map data provider Zenrin – or from the cancellation of its contract.
  • Speculation on the latter option caused Zenrin shares to drop 16% last Friday.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

A new theory explains Jupiter’s perplexing origin

A new computer model solves a pair of Jovian riddles.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers have wondered how a gas giant like Jupiter could sit in the middle of our solar system's planets.
  • Also unexplained has been the pair of asteroid clusters in front of and behind Jupiter in its orbit.
  • Putting the two questions together revealed the answer to both.
Keep reading Show less