Jeff Bezos has managed to transform the face of worldwide eCommerce significantly. He is among the biggest contributors to the growth of eCommerce and shows no signs of stopping despite becoming the richest man worldwide.
However, despite his incredible success and fame, not much is known about Jeff Bezos and his journey. The world knows him as the foundation and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, but very few know what he did before Amazon was launched. Below, we chart some of his professional journey and how he became the owner of the largest online retailer.
How It All Started For Jeff Bezos
Most kids wait until graduating to try their hands at new ventures. But not Jeff Bezos! He showed signs of leadership and business acumen from the very beginning.
When he was in high school, Bezos developed The Dream Institute. This center was designed to promote creative thinking in young students.
Bezos graduated from Princeton University with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science in 1986. He took a series of jobs after that. His major professional breakthrough came when he joined the New York investment bank D.E. Shaw & Co. in 1990. Soon enough, he became the senior vice president, the youngest in the firm to have reached the position.
During this time, he was responsible for keeping tabs on investment opportunities on the internet. It’s here he stumbled upon the incredible potential of web usage and his entrepreneurial imagination was triggered.
Wasting no time, he quit his job in 1994 and moved to Seattle, where he opened his virtual bookstore. Initially, he worked out of his garage with a handful of employees. He started working on the software for a website and launched Amazon shortly afterward. The online store sold its first book in July 1995.
A Deeper Look at the Journey of Jeff Bezos
It’s not every day that someone manages to carve a new path for himself, especially in a field no one had tried before.
Naturally, Bezos was gifted. He showed signs of the same from an early age.
Interestingly, Jeff Bezos took apart his crib with a screwdriver when he was a toddler. The reason? He wanted to sleep in a real bed. Obviously, he knew what he had to do to achieve his goals even at that age! His grandparents owned a ranch in Texas where he repaired windmills and castrated bulls throughout his childhood.
Bezos had a keen interest in outer space, even as a kid. He expressed his desire to explore outer space and become a space entrepreneur at various instances throughout his academic life. It’s not really surprising that he now owns a space-exploration company called Blue Origin.
As a teenager, he worked at McDonald’s for one summer. He hated it. At that time, he decided to look for other opportunities and, in partnership with his girlfriend, launched The Dream Institute, a 10-day summer camp that charges $600 for each child. He managed to sign up six students. Once again, he showed a knack for recognizing opportunities at the right time.
An Interest In Startups
Following graduation, Intel and Bell Labs offered him jobs. However, he turned both down. In its place, he joined a startup called Fitel. This was once again an unconventional choice but characteristic of Bezos.
After quitting Fitel, Bezos thought about partnering with Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET. Instead, he joined D.E. Shaw. His skills got him the senior vice president position within just four years.
During his job, he discovered that web growth had reached up to 2300% annually. He was astounded, intrigued, and excited. He wanted to leverage this growth and make the most of the opportunity.
But first, he had to decide the products he wanted to sell online. He made a list comprising 20 possible products and zeroed in on books.
The Beginning of Amazon
As we have seen throughout his journey, no one can stop Jeff Bezos once he has made up his mind. He was determined to step into the eCommerce world.
Hence he decided to leave his great job at D.E. Shaw. His boss tried to persuade him to stay but was unsuccessful. Bezos was relentless. He wanted to start his own company, and now was the time to do so.
That’s how Amazon was born. With his wife, Bezos flew to Texas, borrowed a car from his father, and made his way to Seattle. Throughout the journey, he continued to make revenue projections in the passenger seat.
He started Amazon.com in a garage and the meetings were held in the neighborhood Barnes & Noble. Before they knew it, the customers started pouring in. Within a month of its launch, Amazon had sold books to people in 50 states and 45 different companies. The growth continued, and the company eventually went public in 1997.
Interestingly, during the dot-com crash, everyone anticipated Amazon would crash and burn. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, Amazon became one of the few startups to have survived the bust.
Amazon has come a long way since then. It’s no longer an online bookstore but offers everything you can imagine. From clothing to computing services and appliances, everything is available on Amazon.
The Inspiring Journey of Jeff Bezos
The journey of Bezos can provide lessons for all.
Throughout his life, he has shown incredible passion and commitment. He has managed to reach this position due to the relentless pursuit of his goals. He did not shy away from taking risks.
Once he recognized an opportunity, he didn’t wait to act on it. Entrepreneurs worldwide can learn a lot from his journey.
And the best part is, despite his incredible success, he has no intentions of slowing down. From breaking apart his crib to the job at a bank and Amazon, Bezos has undoubtedly come a long way.