The wealthiest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, and the owner of ‘The Washington Post’ and Blue Origin. Jeff Bezos’s current net worth is $166 billion, and his company, Amazon.com stands at $1 Trillion.
Bezos took one step at a time, to get where he is today, all with a lot of determination, hard work, and an undying zeal to make it big in the internet world. Out of the many other failure stories of successful people, this story is about taking the challenges in life, adapting to them, making amendments, and reaching the heights.
Jeff Bezos is an extraordinary man, with unmatchable and unparalleled ambitions. He is pushing every boundary to reach the heights he also wished to achieve. Here’s is his story, how he became what he is today.
Early Life and Education:
Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen (Jeff Bezos) was born to Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen (a then teenage mother) and Ted Jorgensen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on 12th January 1964. The marriage of his biological parents didn’t last more than a year.
When Jeff was 4, his mother re-married Mike Bezos, who was a Cuban immigrant. Soon after the wedding, Jeff Bezos’s family moved to Houston, Texas, where Mike started to work as an engineer to Exxon Mobil.
Jeff attended the River Oaks Elementary School from fourth to sixth grade. From his early childhood, Jeff always showed a keen interest in scientific and technological aspects. While in school, he started his first business, the Dream Institute, which was a summer camp for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Jeff graduated as a valedictorian from his high school.
Later, Jeff joined the Princeton University to study Physics. He later changed his stream to computers, when he realized that Physics wouldn’t help him make it big in the competitive world. He graduated with two Bachelor of Science degrees in computer science and electrical engineering.
The Beginning of His Career
Jeff started his career by joining a start-up company named Fitel, in 1986. Later in 1990, he joined the investment banking firm D. E. Shaw and Co, in Wall Street New York.
He also met his wife, Mackenzie, in the same company and got married in 1993. Jeff Bezos’s wife was also a graduate from Princeton. Soon after, Jeff became the youngest Senior Vice President at D. E. Shaw and Co.
It was while working at D. E. Shaw that the idea of internet marketing caught Jeff’s interest. He came across a statistic that internet usage across the globe was increasing at a phenomenal rate of 2300% every single month.
Albeit he had a promising career in finance, Jeff decided to quit his job at D. E. Shaw in 1994, to give his new idea of internet marketing a try.
The Idea of Internet Marketing
Jeff had already figured out the potential internet marketing possessed. He started with writing down a list of possible products that he could sell online like electricals, books, and others, and books became his product of choice.
Seattle was chosen as the right place to start his new business, and they soon packed their bags and shifted. On the way to Seattle, while his wife drove the car, Jeff figured out the business plan, spoke to investors who would be interested, and soon, they had raised $1 million from friends and family to start the business.
The office was set up in the garage of Jeff Bezos’s house. On 5th July 1995, the company ‘Cadabra’ came into existence. After a year, and many other names, the company was renamed to Amazon.com, which established a resemblance between the world’s longest river and the most extensive online bookstore.
The Initial Years of Amazon.Com
‘What started with 300 employees and revenue of $15.7 million, soon grew up to become a company with 3000 employees and sales value of $610 million in three years.’
Jeff was strong-minded about taking Amazon public with IPO, and on 15th May 1997, this happened. The company became a public undertaking, and this was a blockbuster year for them. The company had witnessed a 900% rise in annual revenue. Also, along with books, Amazon added many other products to their product line, and changed the tagline to “Books, Music, and More.”
The family members who invested in Amazon initially, became multimillionaires after the company went public, and in 1999, Jeff Bezos was named the Time’s Person of the Year.
However, although Amazon was making huge revenue, the company wasn’t yet profitable. Jeff always wanted Amazon to be a customer-centric company and running after profits would not make that possible. The company’s major revenue portions were being used to improve brand recognition through marketing and promotions.
In 2002, Amazon added clothing to their products line, by bringing on board hundreds of retailers. Soon after, Amazon introduced an online sporting goods store, with over 3000 different brand offerings. Amazon was expanding at a massive scale, and Jeff didn’t want to stop experimenting.
Another big step that took Amazon a step ahead from its competitors was introducing Amazon Prime, which soon became a hit in the US. It was then launched in many different countries. Prime offered free two-day deliveries to its customers with an annual subscription fee.
In 2007, Amazon launched The Amazon Kindle. Kindle marked the beginning of the establishment of an online book market.
To compete with Apple’s iPad 10, and to lead the market, Jeff further brought down the prices of Kindle adding new features.
Later, Amazon also gave Apple’s iPad tough competition by launching their tablet, The KindleFire, the best tablet at any price.
Talking About the Revenues and Profits of Amazon.com
From $48.08 billion in 2011 to $107.01 billion in 2015, Amazon grew at lighting fast speed. However, the net income wasn’t stable. It faced the highs and lows. For instance, in 2014, the net income of Amazon dropped by $241 million and reached $596 million in 2015.
And, talking about the shared values, $18 from 1997 had now become $549.42 in 2016.
Jeff Bezos launched a set of online services portal, the Amazon Web Services, which now boasts a range of subsidiaries like Junglee.com, Digital Photography Review, Alexa Internet, a2z, Twitch, etc.
Jeff Bezos was named the ‘Business Person of the Year’ in 2012, by Fortune Magazine.
Blue Origin and The Washington Post
Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos, in 2004. The company aimed at establishing a human presence in the outer space by developing the latest technology for spaceflight. Blue Origin successfully launched a rocket into outer space on 24th November 2015 and landed it back safely on the landing pad.
The Washington Post was purchased by Jeff Bezos on 5th August 2013, for $250 million in cash. This marked an end to the legacy of the Graham Family, who were the owners of the Washington Post for more than 140 years.
Bezos Expeditions is Jeff Bezos’s venture capital company, through which he makes personal investments. He started out with investing $250,000 in Google in 1998. Some other significant investments include investing in companies like Airbnb, Business Insider, Aviary, Rethink Robotics, General Fusion, Glassybaby, etc.
Awards and Recognitions:
- In 2008, Carnegie Mellon University awarded Jeff Bezos with an honorary doctorate in Science and Technology.
- U.S. News and World Report selected Jeff Bezos as one of the best leaders in America.
- In 2011, Jeff Bezos and Gregg Zehr received the Innovation Award from The Economist for the innovation of the Amazon Kindle.
- In 2012, Jeff was named the ‘Business Person of the Year’ by Fortune.
- In 2012, Amazon was named the top retailer of the year by the National Retail Federation, and for that, Jeff was awarded a Gold Medal for distinguished service to the industry.
At present, Jeff Bezos’s age is 54 years, has been married to Mackenzie for 25 years, and has four children. He is settled in Seattle with his family.
Famous Quotes by Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos believes in staying active and always looking for innovation. Jeff is supposed to have a double-personality trait, which turns him from a kind-hearted person to a strict and rough executive in no time.
Jeff Bezos’s story is an inspiration to those who fear to give their ideas a try. There is no point in thinking of innovation when your ideas and thoughts are not going to experiment. Jeff had one idea, and he put his life and soul, and all his determination to make it work.
Jeff never feared failure in life for the fact that he knew failures makes success possible and enjoyable. According to him, what indeed leads to innovation is the ability to break from the pack, and do something so different, that it will make you stand out.