Jeffrey Preston Bezos is a successful American entrepreneur born on the 12th of April 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. He is famously known as Jeff Bezos. He has 4 children – three boys and one girl whom he adopted from China.
Jeff Bezos is playing a massive role in the rise of e-commerce. He had founded Amazon.com, which is now one of the world’s leading online business platforms. Jeff is the largest retailer on the World Wide Web and a famous model for internet sales because of his interest and strong desire to learn new technologies. Moreover, he also founded the Blue Origin Company. Blue Origin is a company that creates affordable space travel packages for ordinary citizens.
Bezos Success Journey
His biggest secret to success is his attention to customers. Jeff always takes the time to read customer feedback despite his busy schedule and always has a keen eye for innovations. He is continuously looking for ways to improve his business and make his customers’ lives easier. His success comes from his ability to turn his wild and creative imaginations into reality. He constantly pushes his employees to work harder. He strongly believes that his extraordinary and unimaginable decisions and the ability to take large risks drive successful innovations.
Jeff Bezos’ Early Life
Ted Jorgenson, Jeff Bezos’ biological father, was a top unicyclist in Albuquerque. He was also part of Unicycle Wranglers, a local troupe where he participated in circuses and fairs. Jacklyn Bezos, Jeff’s mom, married Ted when she was still in her teenage years. Their marriage lasted for around a year, and later they ended up splitting and going their own ways.
Mike Bezos, Jeff’s stepfather, was born in Cuba. He came to the United States of America when he was only 15 years old and worked at the University of Albuquerque. After he wedded Jacklyn Bezos, the family moved to Houston, Texas. Mike Bezos then worked as an engineer for an American oil and Gas Company called Exxon, which thrived from the mid-1940s to around the 1970s.
Jeff Bezos developed a mechanical interest at an early age, and he grew more curious about science. He actually converted his garage into a laboratory for his science projects when he was younger, where he experimented on various projects.
Jeff Bezo’s Early Education
At River Oaks Elementary School in Houston, Jeff Bezos studied from fourth grade to sixth grade. During the summer holidays, he would do ranch work like vaccinating cattle, fixing windmills, laying pipes, and farm work. Lawrence Gise, his grandfather, was his biggest role model as he possessed a wide knowledge of science, and they both shared their interest in ranch works.
The Dream Institute
Did you know that Jeff Bezos’ first business ever started at school? The Dream Institute – Jeff Bezos introduced an educational summer camp for the fourth graders, fifth graders, and sixth graders, which was his first-ever business.
Jeff Bezos ensured that his educational camp participants read books such as Dune novel by Frank Herbert, The once and future king novel by T.H White, The Matchmaker by John B. Keane and Thorton Wilder, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
High school and University
After the Bezos family moved to Florida, Jeff left for Miami Palmetto, where he did his Senior High School. He realized his love for computers in high school. Jeff later participated in several Student Science Training Programs at the University of Florida in 1982. He excelled and won a Silver Knight Award. He was a National Merit Scholar. Thanks to his remarkable results, he managed to secure a spot at Princeton University, where he planned to study physics and later returned to computer studies.
He graduated from Princeton University with two Bachelor of Science Degrees in electrical engineering and computer science.
Jeff Bezos’ Early Career
After graduating, Jeff Bezos went to Wall Street. This is where the demand for computer science was rapidly increasing, and he worked in several firms. His job at Fitel required him to build a network to carry out international trade. Therefore, Jeff Bezos has to fly almost every week between New York and London. Later, he became a vice president at Bankers Trust and later in the investment firm, D.E Shaw. D.E Shaw specialized in applying computer science to the stock market, and they felt that jeff Bezos was the perfect fit for them. MacKenzie, Jeff Bezo’s wife, was also working at D.E Shaw at that time. She is also a Princeton University graduate. In 1990, Jeff Bezos became the youngest vice president in the history of the company.
At D.E Shaw, Jeff discovered a digit that would be life-changing. He found a static that the World Wide Web was rapidly growing by around 2300% per month, and this is when Bezos got the idea of selling products on the online platform. D.E Shaw convinced Bezos to stay in his firm longer, but Jeff took his chances with his e-commerce idea with a leap of faith. He believed that he would rather try and fail than give no try at all.
Later in 1993, Jeff Bezos got married to MacKenzie. In 1994, Jeff Bezos quit D.E Shaw.
AMAZON.COM is Born
After Jeff quit his job in 1994, he decided to shift to Seattle to make his dream come to life as Seattle was a massive hi-tech pool. He has an idea of opening an online bookstore and list the entire possible product he can sell on his online platform. The list included products such as hardware, books, compact discs (CDs), and software. Since books have a wide range of titles, Jeff settled down to sell books. At that time, the United States Supreme Court ruled that all mail-orders do not have to pay taxes as they do not have a physical presence. This was a huge advantage for Jeff to go ahead with his enormous plan.
$1 million investment was raised from Jeff’s family and friends to set up his business at his home in Seattle.
On July 5th, 1994, Jeff Bezos began the company as “Cadabra.” A year later, he changed the name as his lawyer mistook the name to “cadaver.” Bezos went back to the dictionary and looked through the words that started with A and decided on Amazon as he liked its resonance between the planet’s longest river and his largest bookstore. MacKenzie helped Jeff to register the domain name, and they were set.
Jeff decided to set up his office in his two-bedroom house’s garage, which had three Sun micro stations on tables that Jeff Bezos made from doors that cost him $60. He also made a bell to ring every time there was a sale on Amazon. Jeff’s idea exploded soon, and he began selling books in all 50 states and almost 45 foreign countries.
Jeff Bezos decided to take Amazon public with an IPO and began recruiting so many people after his sales summed up to $20,000 a week by September 1995. He built an extraordinary team that included executives from Barnes & Noble, Microsoft, and DESCO. Jeff Bezos believed that if they get in right, Amazon will be a $1 billion company by the 2000s.
He solidified trust amongst his customers by going public, and by 1996, Amazon sales added more than $10 million.
Amazon’s first CFO, Joy Covey, and Jeff Bezos traveled to Europe and around the United States searching for potential investors in late 1996. Jeff wanted to get some investments from an IPO (Initial Public Offerings), but he did not want his competitors (Barnes & Noble) to catch up with his pace. Therefore he held on to valuable data from potential investors.
The Lawsuit Against AMAZON in 1997
Barnes & Nobles filed a lawsuit against Amazon on May 12, 1997, in federal court for claiming that Amazon is “The Earth’s largest bookstore.” However, the lawsuit turned out to be advantageous for Amazon as it only gave it more attention. Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com fiercely battle for almost a year, after which Amazon went public. Jeff Bezos then expanded his product line and began selling music and more.
Bezos worried that Amazon might lose a significant portion of investment when the stock traded below its IPO price. The stock price was $12 to $14 on May 15th, 1997 and later increased to $14 to $16. After that, Amazon’s bankers settled on the $18 price. $54 million was raised in its IPO, and Amazon’s value reached $438 million. 3 million shares were put on the block. Later in mid-1998, e-bay came into the picture and gave Amazon some competition.
A 900% growth in annual value made Jeff Bezos and his family and friends who initially invested in the business become multimillionaires by 1999. Moreover, Jeff Bezos was named at the Time person of the year during the same year.
Amazon faced a lot of criticism later that year after the 1 click system was trademarked to Amazon. However, some said that the approval by the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office) was only a sign of lazy bureaucracy. Jeff Bezos ignored the negativity and exploited ways to stay at the top of his competition. Exactly 23 days after obtaining the patent, Amazon filed a lawsuit against Barnes & Noble and won the case. In 2000, Amazon licensed the patent to Apple Inc. – a step in an attempt to do away with its competitor, ebay.com.
AMAZON.COM vs. EBAY.COM
In September 1995, eBay started up as AuctionWeb and was rapidly growing and therefore, it became a growing rival for Amazon.com.
By 1997 e-bay made $5.7 million and grew fast to make $47.4 million by 1998 and a massive $224.7 million in 1999. This was a faster growth rate than that of Amazon.com. E-bay’s business model comprised of taking a small commission on a sale made on its platform. E-bay’s products were on auction where the highest bidder gets it. This model was a massive advantage for them due to the “no storage need” advantage that cuts down many costs involving the storage of inventories and warehouses. When eBay filed to go public by issuing IPOs in 1998, Bezos invited eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and its CEO, Meg Whitman, for a meeting in Seattle and discussed ways to work together. Jeff Bezos offered Omidyar and Whitman $600 million to buy eBay, but to Omidyar, it was a bad idea.
Later, Jeff Bezos secretly tried to start his own auction project. He had stationed it on the 2nd floor of Columbia Center. He called it the EBS (Earth’s Biggest Selection). In March 1999, he launched amazon Auctions, in which he put a lot of money and energy. He later bought a company to broadcast auctions live on the Web. However, the effort ended up failing. Customers were accustomed to traditional shopping. They had found it hard to get the Amazon auction link through Amazon’s main site.
Jeff Bezos Didn’t Stop There – He Made AMAZON Better!
As the e-commerce platform became more valuable, Bezos decided to expand Amazon’s product line. He had added clothing sales in October 2002. He partnered up with prominent clothing lines such as The Gap, Land’s End, and Nordstrom. By 2003, he added toys, sporting goods, and jewelry with almost 3000 different brands. He also expanded to services.
Aside from expanding Amazon.com, in 2004, he founded an aerospace company called Blue Origin that was made to aim to “endure a human presence in outer space.” He made a private rocket launching facility in West Texas and a 26-acre research campus outside Seattle.
In 2006, Jeff launched the Amazon web services. They included a wide set of global databases, analytics, deployment, storage, and application services. The web services on Amazon were so creative and included Digital photography reviews, Audible.com, Alexa Internet, A9.com, Twitch, Goodreads, and Internet Movie Database.
Jeff Bezos’s Introduction of Kindle
Later in 2007, Jeff Bezos introduced Amazon Kindle for e-readers. The Kindle device successfully secured almost 95% of the United States market until Apple Inc. came into the picture. Apple had given Amazon kindle tough competition with the introduction of the iPad in 2010. In response to this competition, Jeff Bezos decided to lower the prices of kindles. He had also added new features to it in early 2011. The feature included “Whispersync.” This feature allowed readers to easily bookmark where they stopped and continue reading from the same page on any other device.
In 2011 Amazon’s sales revenue was $48.08 billion, and it grew by 122.56% in 2015 to $107.01. Furthermore, Amazon’s net income also reached $596 million by rising to be the number 1 e-commerce player in the market. On May 15th, 1997, Amazon’s share was $18, and by February 25th, 2016, shares were trading for $549.42.
Later in 2012, Jeffery Bezos earned ‘Businessperson of the year” on Fortune magazine.
Employees at Amazon say that they are afraid of making mistakes as Jeff Bezos can turn to a rough executive in seconds when things go wrong and cause him to lash out.
The Rise of Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos, the ultra-driven individual, did not stop there. His determination was to turn Earth into one massive mature reserve by creating Blue Origin in 2004.
Blue Origin had made it big on the 24th of November, 2015. The company had been on every news headline. It made it to history as they successfully launched a rocket to suborbital space and landed safely back. They named it the “New Shepard space vehicle.” This multi-passenger vehicle made traveling to space affordable by decreasing the cost of spaceflight. During this time, Elon Musk took it to Twitter. He had a discussion with Jeff about the difference between suborbital flights and orbital flights.
The Washington Post
Jeff Bezos continuously kept pushing the possibilities and his exploration of technology. He decided to purchase the Washington Post for $250 million in cash on the 5th of August 2013 in an attempt to fix the focus of the public. He also purchased the 10,000-year clock and is popular as the Long Now. In 2018, Jeff officially made it to Forbes Magazine’s “World list of billionaires.”
On the 9th of January 2019, MacKenzie announced that her 25-year marriage has come to an end. She left with 75% Amazon shares and a few on Washington Post and Blue Origin. She received roughly $35 billion in Amazon stock as a result of the divorce, coincidently making her one of the richest women in the world.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entire world. Citizens were afraid of going out and purchasing basic goods. As they were afraid of the spread of the deadly virus, it had forced everyone to stay home. This turned out as a success for Amazon. Almost 90% of the people opted for online shopping due to its safety. The demand for online shopping heightened. Amazon’s share prices had resulted in a skyrocket all over the world due to that.
As of 2021, Jeff Bezos’ 57 has a net worth of almost $200 billion. This is in accordance with the closing of trading on the 8th of February 2021.
Read more on: The Journey of $200 Billion Net Worth in 2021