- Jeff Bezos is an entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Amazon.
- Jeff’s grandfather, Lawrence Gise, significantly influenced him. He was his role model and he learned basic science from him.
- Bezos graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering.
- He founded the spacelift company Blue Origin in 2000 with the intention of developing human life in space.
- As of May 2023, Bezos is ranked as the third richest person in the world with a net worth of $126.9 billion.
Whether it’s his role as the founder of Amazon, or his position on the list of the richest people in the world, there is always something to talk about when it comes to Jeff Bezos. As well as these two things, Bezos is known for his drive to succeed and his passion for space exploration. But who is he really? Who is the man behind Amazon? Let’s take a look at Jeff Bezos’ personal life, from his early years to the man he is now!
Who Is Jeff Bezos?
Jeff Bezos is a renowned entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com and Blue Origin Aerospace company. His birthplace is Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the United States, and he was born on January 12, 1964. He was born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen. His father is Theodore “Ted” Jorgensen who was an unicycle hockey player and president of the very first unicycle hockey club.
- Full Name
- Jeffrey Preston Bezos
- January 12, 1964
- Net Worth
- $191.7 Billion
- James Smithson Medal
- Axel Springer Award
- Place of Birth
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Fields of Expertise
- Amazon, Blue Origin
Bezos’s net worth keeps changing daily. As of May 2023, Jeff Bezos’ net worth is $126.9 billion. He is currently ranked #3 on the Forbes list, behind only Bernard Arnault and Elon Musk. Between 2017 and 2021 he was the richest person in the world, overtaking Bill Gates on October 27, 2017.
Bezos grew up in Miami and Houston. He schooled at River Oaks Elementary school from grade four to grade six. Amazingly, Bezos started being explorative at a tender age. For instance, during his holidays, he would spend time at the ranch fixing windmills, laying pipes, vaccinating cattle, and engaging in any other ranch-related activity available at a particular time. Jeff’s grandfather, Lawrence Gise, significantly influenced him. Bezos looked up to his grandfather as his role model, and from him, he learned basic science.
Bezos established the Dream Institute as an educational summer holiday camp for grade four to grade six pupils. This became Bezos’ first business. Additionally, he required his participants to read particular books while at the camp.
Some of these include; The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien, The Dune by Frank Herbert, and The Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Later, when Bezos’ family moved to Florida, Jeff transferred to Palmetto Senior High School. Here, like at his former school, Bezos performed excellently and gradually developed a passion for computers.
After senior school, Bezos joined Princeton University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering in 1986. At the same time, Bezos’ early life is a little confusing.
Born to teenage parents, Bezos had quite a rough childhood as his parents raised him while struggling to manage education and parenthood. Bezos’ parents divorced at some point, and his mother remarried. His mother’s new partner, Miguel Bezos, soon adopted Bezos at age four and changed Bezos’ surname from Jorgensen to Bezos.
While still a senior school student, Bezos worked as a short-order line chef at McDonald’s, where he prepared breakfast. Bezos also attended a science training program designed for students at the University of Florida. During the training, Bezos was a high school valedictorian.
Bezos also became a National Merit Scholar, and in 1982, he won the Silver Knight Award. While giving a graduation speech, Bezos hinted to the audience that he intended to colonize space. His cooking career allowed him to join the Quadrangle Club, an eating club at Princeton.
Simultaneously, he joined Phi Beta Kappa, the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space president at Princeton. Bezos later in 1990 joined the New York investment bank D.E. Shaw & Co. His excellence earned him the position of the senior vice president despite his young age.
While at this firm, Bezos examined the possible internet investments. At the time, internet usage grew by over 2,000 annually, which aroused his entrepreneurial interests the most. In 1994, Bezos quit working for the firm and relocated to Seattle, Washington, where he opened a virtual bookstore, and he constantly invented newer things from then on.
Bezos, in 1994, set up Caldara from his garage. He would later convert it into Amazon.com, which sold its first book in 1995. Fascinated by his innovativeness, his parents injected $300,000 into Amazon.
As a leading e-commerce store, Amazon.com was so user-friendly and allowed browsers to review books, sellers to offer discounts, and let readers search for out-of-print books virtually. Interestingly, by the end of 1998, Amazon had grown from selling books online to selling other products like videos and CDs.
To expand the company, Bezos took a $2 billion loan from different banks. Against his expectations, Amazon faced severe financial struggles for two years, but in 2002, the company stabilized, earning over $400 million in profit. By 2005, Amazon was selling apparel, hardware, and consumer electronics besides books.
This growth led to the company diversifying to form Amazon Web Services in 2006. This new service has since grown to become the greatest of all time cloud computing service. The company expanded further, and in 2007, Bezos launched Amazon Kindle, which allows readers to read and download books online using a wireless internet connection.
In 2010, Amazon’s Kindle books sales exceeded those of their hardcover books. This encouraged Amazon to start making movies and television shows under the Amazon studios division in the same year. Similarly, in 2013 Bezos company under Amazon web services won a $600 million contract with the CIA.
Bezos, in 2016 sold more than a million shares of his Amazon holdings, which earned him $671 million. In the same year, Bezos sold one more million of his shares for $756 million. Subsequently, in July 2017, Bezos qualified as the world’s richest man with a net worth of over $100 billion.
Amazon made its highest-ever profit from its quarterly earnings of $2 billion in 2018. These new ventures gradually increased the company’s net sales to $233 billion in 2018. In 2020, Amazon’s profits exceeded $100 billion, the highest yield ever since Bezos started it.
While still trying to grow Amazon, Bezos started Blue Origin in 2000. Blue Origin is a human spacelift company that Bezos hopes will fulfill his graduation dream of colonizing space. Another reason Bezos started Blue Origin is to preserve earthly resources and make human beings multi-planetary.
Blue Origin operated behind the scenes until 2006 when it bought a vast tract of land to launch its inventions and test its spaceship machinery. Sadly, in 2011, Blue Origin’s crewless prototype vehicle crashed while flying. This accident did not discourage Bezos, and in 2015, the company once again introduced a new space car that passed all the tests, got to the intended latitude, and returned to the test field at West Texas.
Encouraged by this great success, Bezos declared that the price of a commercial spacelift car would be between $200,000 to $300,000 per head.
The Washington Post
While The Washington Post is not his brainchild, Bezos bought the company in 2013 at $250 million. In 2014, he made a significant change — he lifted the paywall for subscribers of several local newspapers in a bid to significantly increase the traffic to The Washington Post. In 2016, he regenerated the company into a technology and media company. Bezos reworked its mobile platforms, digital media, and expansion strategies, taking the company to its highest glory. By 2018, the company had an incomparable increase in its online readership.
What Jeff Bezos Known For?
Besides his ever-growing net worth, Jeff Bezos is also known for some inventions. Some of these inventions include:
Bezos 10,000-Year Clock
Bezos has invented and is currently building his 10,000-year clock to ascertain time for the next 10,000 years. This clock only ticks once annually and chimes once in a millennium, and will need a big storage house. Bezos presumes that this clock will be 500ft tall and will use thermal cycles to operate.
Bezos Patented Airbag System for Phones
The US Patent and Trademark Office in 2012 awarded Bezos the patent for a smartphone airbag system. This system has an inbuilt accelerometer that is fast at detecting whether your smartphone is failing too fast. Upon realizing that your phone is dying, this system automatically deploys an airbag to prevent further damage.
Jeff Bezos: Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Personal Life
Bezos met his former wife at MacKenzie, at D.E, where they both worked. While Bezos was the company’s vice president, his wife Mackenzie was one of the company’s research associates. Bezos then married his wife in 1993, and the two have been together for the last twenty-five years.
Bezos’ wife has been supportive throughout all his investments and unique inventions like the yacht, and she is glad she has watched Bezos become the world’s second-richest person. She is also a famous novelist. Jeff recalls being the first person to interview his wife for a research associate position at D.E.
The two are alumni of Princeton University. Interestingly, after landing the job, Mackenzie became Bezos’ office neighbor, where he would overhear her laughing. Their love story began here as Jeff recounts falling in love with Mackenzie’s great laughter.
To his surprise, MacKenzie initiated their relationship by asking Bezos out for lunch. After three months, the two engaged and got married six months into their relationship. Mackenzie and Bezos both quit their jobs simultaneously and worked at Amazon, where Mackenzie became the accountant and first employee.
When they married one another in 1993, Bezos and Mackenzie lived in a rented one-bedroom house. By the time they were divorcing, Mackenzie had revealed that they had been living in a separate house for a long time, although each of them currently owns their house.
Despite having a beautiful love story and a close-knit family life, Bezos divorced Mackenzie in 2019. In April this year, when they finalized their divorce case, Bezos gave MacKenzie 19.7 million shares at Amazon. These shares were worth $36billion at the transfer time.
While Bezos’ net worth reduced significantly, Mackenzie’s net worth increased, placing her on the top list of the richest women in the world.
Together with his ex-wife, Bezos has four children; three of them being boys and of the children being a girl. They got their firstborn son in 2000.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife, novelist MacKenzie Scott, share four children – three sons and one daughter. Three of his children are his biological children, while one(the daughter) is adopted. All the same, there is relatively little known information about Mr. Bezos’s children in public except that his firstborn’s name is Preston Bezos, and he is currently studying at Princeton University. Also, the mother and the father have an equal 50/50 custody of the four children.
Jeff Bezos: Awards and Achievements
Bezos is undoubtedly an influential person worldwide. His innovations, particularly Amazon, are known by most people in the world. His companies and their impact have led him to win many awards like:
The Axel Springer Award
Bezos won this award in 2018 for being very entrepreneurial and impacting others positively. The award givers recognized the charity work Bezos and Mackenzie did in 2018 when they donated a $33 million scholarship grant.
Recipients used the grant to purchase immigrants without documents to the United States as children. Besides, the award was also a celebration of Bezos Blue Origin, which intends to make the space more habitable by a more significant number of people.
The James Smithson Medal
The National Air and Space Museum featured Jeff Bezos as a speaker, after which it honored him with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. This organization applauded Bezos for being a featured speaker at John H. Glenn Lecture Space.
Carnegie Mellon University also awarded Bezos an honorary doctorate in technology and Science in 2008. Similarly, The Economist awarded Bezos an award for his Amazon Kindle invention in 2011. Also, in 2012, the National Retail Federation regarded Amazon as the highest retailer of the year, which won Bezos a gold medal award for serving in a distinctively performing industry.
Jeff Bezos Published Works and Books
Jeff Bezos is a great author who inspires people to try to chase their dreams instead of fearing to fail and failing to try. He has authored several books, some of which are available on Google reads. Some of these books include:
Invent and Wander
This book is a collection of Bezos writings and is both interesting and technical. It contains annual letters Bezos sent to Amazon shareholders between 1997 and 2019. At the same time, the book covers various topics like Bezos’s small beginnings, the big hurdles Amazon has successfully overcome, and Bezos’s unquenchable thirst for space explorations.
The book also contains chapters on how people can practically apply machine learning and artificial intelligence. The author dedicates an entire chapter to Bezos’s explanation of buying the Washington Post in the book. Finally, the must-take home lessons from this collection are Bezos’s success hunting character traits.
The author describes Bezos as having a unique childlike sense of wonder, being multidisciplinary, incorporating humanities and sciences into his inventions, being curious and passionate has a philosophy of social liberalism and entrepreneurial capitalism.
- Features a collection of writings by Jeff Bezos, including shareholder letters.
- It offers an insight into the challenges that Amazon has overcome.
- It discusses Bezos' unquenchable thirst for space exploration.
The Man Who Sells Everything
This book talks about the life of Jeff Bezos and how he has continuously quenched his thirst for space exploration and invention. The book has a dedicated chapter on what features entrepreneurs ought to have. Bezos, in this book, reveals that passion drives him and explains how success happens because of timing and luck. He also discusses topics such as American competitiveness and creative disruption. It is available as an audio book and is narrated by Kevin Stillwell.
- Jeff Bezos discusses topics such as American competitiveness and creative disruption.
- It talks about his desire for space exploration.
- It is available as an audio book which is narrated by Kevin Stillwell.
Jeff Bezos Quotes
Bezos is a highly influential individual that inspires the world with his wise quotes. Some of his common quotes are:
- “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos
- “I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.” Jeff Bezos
- Jeff Bezos
- “We see our customers as guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Jeff Bezos
- “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tailwind is now a headwind — you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.” Jeff Bezos
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