As the CEO of the super successful Amazon, Jeff Bezos is a name that sparks inspiration and admiration across the nation and well beyond. His net wealth is estimated to be around $84B as of Sept 2017. But just where did this wonder-man come from?
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bezos suffered from a rocky childhood due to his parents’ unstable marriage. But he has since grown to become the world’s second richest person, second only to Bill Gates. And in fact he briefly topped the world’s richest person in June earlier this year!
The Life of Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos’ mom, Jackie, was a teenager when she had him in January 1964. She had recently married Cuban immigrant Mike Bezos, after Jeff’s biological father, a circus performer at the time, was told to stay out of Jeff’s life. Ouch!
Yet despite his early childhood family trouble, Jeff Bezos show incredible signs of intelligence from an early age. For example, if rumors are to be believed, when he was a toddler Jeff took apart his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a real bed!
He was generally seen as a bright kid while growing up and his childhood days hinted at his deep interest in space and space exploration. Apparently when he was younger, Bezos told his school teachers that “the future of mankind is not on this planet.” His teachers may not have known it at the time but this was a huge omen since Jeff Bezos now owns a space-exploration company call Blue Origin! The same company which made history last year by becoming one of the first commercial companies to successfully launch a reusable rocket, by the way.
As a teenager, Bezos had a some-what normal American childhood: he spent summers on his grandparents’ ranch and also spent a miserable summer working as a teenager at McDonalds. These early days lit a fire inside of Bezos and Bezos has said that his grandfather was a huge inspiration for Jeff, encouraging him to pursue his entrepreneurial ventures and teaching the future leader that “it’s harder to be kind than clever.”
After graduating from Princeton in computer science, and after a brief stint at a start-up called Fitel, Bezos went on to get a job at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw. Jeff Bezos certainly impressed everyone at the company there, becoming a VP after just 4 years. He also met a wonderful lady called MacKenzie Tuttle, who was a D.E. Shaw research associate at the time, who he later happily married in 1993.
It was in 1994 that things really turned around for Bezos. He had read that the web had grown 2,300% in one year and Bezos’ entrepreneurial mind knew that he had to take advantage of its rapid growth. So he did some analysis and decided that he would sell books!
And thus Amazon was born. It started out in a garage but was very quick to expand: in the first month of business, Amazon had sold books to people in all 50 states in America and in 45 different countries. Plus, sales didn’t show any signs of slowing down. The company grew from success to success after going public in 1997, surviving the dot-com crash of the 2000s and continues to scale to this very day.
The company has now gone beyond selling books to selling almost everything you could imagine, including appliances, clothing, and even cloud computing services. Its fastest-growing business is Amazon Web Services, which generated almost $8 billion in revenue last year.
And Jeff Bezos didn’t stop there. As well as owning Blue Origin, the space-exploration company, Bezos also bought the Washington Post recently, for $250 million in Aug 2013. It’s just a few of the reasons why Bezos today is worth a whopping $84B!
Jeff Bezos has a truly impressive career history and the world has come to expect nothing less from this truly incredible man! Will he become the world’s richest person again soon? Only time will tell….
Want to learn more? The team over at Adioma created this really cool infographic on the life of Jeff Bezos. Check it out!