Jeff Preston Jorgensen was born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico from humble beginnings. At the time of his birth, his father was only 19 and his mother was 17. His mother attended night school and brought him along to take care of him. When he was just two, his parents divorced. His mother then married Miguel Bezos, a Cuban immigrant. Miguel then adopted Jeff when he was just four, giving him the name of Jeff Bezos.
Miguel would later get his degree at the University of New Mexico and then his family moved to Houston, Texas. They moved as he had gotten a job as an engineer for Exxon. Jeff was intersected in science and technology from an early age, going as far as creating his own alarm system to keep his siblings out of his room. The Bezos Family moved once more, this time to Miami, Florida. There, Bezos was in high school and worked at Mcdonald’s.
Then, after being a high school valedictorian, National Merit Scholar, and Silver Knight Award winner, he went to the University of Florida where he attended the Student Science Training Program.
In his graduation speech, Bezos told the audience that he dreams of the day that man colonizes space. In 1986 he graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University. He scored a 4.2 GPA with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in electrical engineering and computer science.
The Early Days of Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos was offered jobs at various companies including Intel and Bell Labs. Instead, Bezos took on Fitel, a finch telecommunications company. He helped build their network for international trade. He would be promoted and then he went on to the banking industry where he was a product manager from 1988 to 1990.
Later, he joined a new hedge fund with an emphasis on mathematical modeling, D.E. Shaw & Co. After working there for five years, Bezos was the senior vice president at just the age of 30.
Creation of Amazon
In 1993, Jeff Bezos read that the Internet was growing 2300% a year. Because of that, he opened an online bookstore. He and his wife at the time, MacKenzie left their jobs and founded Amazon in a garage in Bellevue, Washington. They wrote a business plan as they went on a drive from New York City to Seattle and on July 5, 1994, Amazon was born.
Originally, Amazon was to be called Cadabra, but Bezos changed it to Amazon after the Amazon River because it started with A, the first letter of the alphabet. He also hoped that naming his store after the largest river in the world would make his company the largest online bookstore. His parents even chipped in a whopping $300,000.
Three years later, Bezos would make Amazon public with an initial public offering (IPO). That means that it is a public offering where the shares are sold to institutional investors.
By October 2013, Amazon was the largest online shopping retailer in the entire world. Bezos also got a $600 million contract with the CIA.
Starting in 2016, Jeff Bezos began selling shares to raise money for other enterprises, especially Blue Origin, his pet project to help colonize space.
On July 27, 2017, Bezos was temporarily the richest man in the world with a net worth of $90 billion. In November of the same year, he was worth $100 billion. He would later be titled the richest man in the world by Forbes, on March 6, 2018, with $112 billion to his name.
However, Bezos began to have issues when many started to find out about the unfair work practices that many workers had to suffer through. Because of this, Bezos would step down as CEO of Amazon in February 2021 and become the Executive Chairman of the Board. Bezos now focuses on his other work:
- Day 1 Fund
- Bezos Earth Fund
- Blue Origin
- The Washington Post
The Empires of Jeff Bezos
Founded in September 2000, Jeff Bezos wanted the company as a beginning for the colonization of space by humans. The company focused on human spaceflight, aerospace manufacturing, and more.
Bezos is interested in building hotels, amusement parks, and colonies in orbit for humans that lived in space. He wanted to do all of this so that Earth could survive humanity and that we would not overwork it from resource depletion.
On July 20, 2021, Bezos, his half-brother Mark, astronaut Wally Funk, and space tourist Oliver Daemen went into sub-orbit with the NS-16 mission. This took place 9 days after fellow billionaire Richard Branson did his own with the Virgin Galactic Unity 22 mission.
For $250 million, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post on August 5, 2013. Since then, Bezos has worked on rebuilding the newspaper with the use of technology. Bezos has been criticized for having a conflict of interest with claims that he controlled what the paper posted. He has denied this. Money started to make on the paper in 2016 for the first time when there was a surge in subscriptions.
This is his personal investment and venture capital vehicle. It has been involved with the healthcare sector. It is also used for philanthropic efforts with a lot of going toward science and the aero industry.
In September 2021, Jeff Bezos co-founded Altos Labs which is a biotech company. The company wants to develop longevity in humans via cellular reprogramming. Prominent scientists have been hired and it started with a capital of $3 billion.
Jeff Bezos continues to awe the world, even after his divorce in 2019 from MacKenzie. But, Bezos was able to keep 75% of their stock while she got a quarter ($35.6 billion).
From his humble beginnings, he built an empire. Now, Bezos is worth around $169.2 billion. Bezos continues to be a powerhouse in America and the world. Yet, many criticize him for his leadership style, business practices, and treatment of workers. Many stay interested to see what Bezos creates next.