One must have an undying passion for something new to build before quitting a good high-paying job. A man who left a lucrative finance job to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. If you’ve ever made an online purchase, you’re unlikely to need an introduction to this ferocious founder. In 2020, his company became the world’s fourth tech company to join the $1 trillion club, currently valued at $1.5 trillion.
He was born with an insatiable desire to learn. When he was a toddler, he dismantled his crib. To keep his siblings away, he built an electric alarm. Many people are terrified of his laugh. A legendary entrepreneur is also known for his anger. In Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon”, Jeff Bezos allegedly shouted at his employees, saying “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”, “Are you lazy or just incompetent?”, “If I hear that idea again, I’m gonna have to kill myself.”
Full Name: Jeffrey Preston Bezos
Born: January 12, 1964, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Net Worth: $118.3 Billion (As of January 2023)
- Family: Jeffrey Preston Bezos was born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen. At the time of Jeffrey’s birth, his mother was a 17-year-old high school student and his father was 19 years old. After his parents divorced, his mother married Mike Bezos in April 1968. Shortly after the wedding, Mike adopted four-year-old Jeffrey and legally changed his surname from Jorgensen to Bezos.
- Education: While Bezos was in high school, he worked as cook at McDonald during the breakfast shift. In 1986, he graduated summa cum laude in computer science and electrical engineering from Princeton University.
- Early Career: After graduation, Bezos was offered jobs at Intel, Bell Labs, and Andersen Consulting, among many others. He began his career at Fitel, a fintech telecommunications start-up, where he was tasked with building a network for international trade. Later, he shifted into the banking industry. From 1988 to 1990, he worked as a product manager at Bankers Trust. From 1990 to 1994, Jeff joined D. E. Shaw & Co, a newly founded hedge fund with a major emphasis on mathematical modelling. At the age of 30, Bezos became the fourth senior vice-president of D. E. Shaw.
- Marriage: Jeff Bezos was married to Mackenzie Tuttle in 1993, and they have four children. However, On January 9, 2019, Bezos and MacKenzie announced their separation on Twitter. On April 4, 2019, their divorced was finalized, with Bezos keeping 75% of the couple’s Amazon stock along with voting control of her shares and MacKenzie getting the remaining 25% ($35.6 billion) in Amazon stock.
- Amazon: Bezos left his lucrative job at D. E. Shaw and on July 5, 1994, he founded Amazon, an online book selling company, in his garage. He named his company “Amazon” after the world’s largest river with the hopes of becoming the world’s largest online bookstore. He received an estimated $300,000 loan from his parents and put it into Amazon. He forewarned several early investors that there was a 70% chance that Amazon would fail or go bankrupt. Interesingly, in just three years after launch, Amazon became a publicly traded company.
- In September 2000, Bezos founded Blue Origin, a human spaceflight startup. In July 2002, Bezos launched Amazon Web Services, which offers on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to consumers, businesses, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis. In November 2007, Bezos launched the Amazon Kindle. In 2012, Jeff launched Amazon Studios for the development of TV shows and feature films. In September 2021, Jeff Bezos co-founded Altos Labs with Mail.ru founder Yuri Milner. Altos Labs is a well-funded biotechnology startup focused on using cellular reprogramming to develop longevity therapeutics.
- Bigger isn’t always better: Jeff Bezos believes in a ‘Two Pizza‘ philosophy, which states that a team should be small enough to feed with only two pizzas and the team should be limited to five to seven members only.
- Resign from Amazon: In July 2021, Jeff Bezos officially stepped down as Amazon Chief Executive Officer, and transitioned into the role of Executive Chair.
- Jeff Became Billionaire: In 1997, Jeff Bezos became a self-made millionaire at the age of 33 after raising $54 million through Amazon’s initial public offering (IPO). In just two years, he achieved billionaire status at the age of 35; was listed on Forbes World’s Billionaires list in 1999 with a net worth of $10.1 billion.
- Jeff Became World’s Richest Person: Jeff Bezos has overtaken Bill Gates and become the richest person in the world, with a fortune topping $90 billion for the first time ever in 2017.
- Awards and Recognition: In 1999, Jeff Bezos received his first major award when Time magazine named him ‘Person of the Year‘. In 2008, Bezos was awarded an honorary doctorate in science and technology from Carnegie Mellon University. Between 2014–2018, he was recognized ‘The Best-Performing CEO in the World‘ by Harvard Business Review. In 2015, Jeff Bezos topped the Fortune list of ‘The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’. In 2018, Forbes ranked him #5 as the world’s Powerful People 2018. He is also the first person to top $100 billion on the Forbes list of the ‘World’s Billionaires 2018‘. In 2021, Forbes ranked him #1 on the list of ‘The Richest People In America’. Currently, Jeff Bezos is the world’s second richest person as per the World’s Billionaires list.
The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators, or renewed leaders who moved the industry with their exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.