Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest person in the world at the moment. As the founder, Chair and CEO of internet giant Amazon, Bezos is the first person to be worth over $100 billion, and is currently worth a good deal more than that. It is perhaps no wonder that of all the entrepreneurs in the list it is Bezos who’s wealth has skyrocketed as much as it has. Millions of us, myself included, use Amazon daily to buy anything from books and films to garden furniture and health and beauty products. In fact it has become as much a ‘go to’ website for most of us as Google or Facebook. When we want to buy something it is perhaps one of the first sites on our minds. After all, it’s easy to buy from, the service is good (most of the time) and it’s quick as a process.
Bezos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and grew up in Houston, Texas. He studied physics at Princeton but later changed his degree to Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
It was following an eight year career in Wall Street that he founded Amazon, which initially focused on selling books. Like many businesses it started on a small scale in his garage, but Bezos was determined to attract investment, even though he warned investors in the early days that there was a pretty good chance that the venture would fail. The early days of the company were in fact meteoric and within 2 months sales had reached $20,000 every week! Clearly Bezos was on to something (by 2011 this would be $17 billion a year!). The Amazon story is one of swings and roundabouts, with for example 14% of the company workforce being laid off in the early 2000s. However, without doubt it is a powerhouse today.
He is married to MacKenzie Bezos (nee Tuttle) who he first met at the investment firm D.E Shaw where Bezos was a senior vice president, in the years before Amazon was even thought of as an idea. They got married in 1993. His wife has been with him throughout the journey and they now have four children, including an adopted daughter.
Some things you might not know about Bezos and Amazon…
- Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for a cool $250 million.
- The first employee of Amazon was Shel Kaphan in the days when they worked from Bezos’ garage.
- Amazon wasn’t called Amazon from day 1. It was also called Cadabra, or ‘Relentless.com’ at times.
- Bezos was involved in a helicopter accident in 2003.
- In 2000 Bezos started a space company – Blue Origin.
In the next ‘brief introduction to…’ we’ll be taking a look at Microsoft’s Bill Gates.