30 Mind-Blowing Facts About Jeff Bezos – The Founder of Amazon


E-commerce pioneer, retail entrepreneur, investor, best known as the founder of Amazon, the everything store, Jeff Bezos, was born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 12, 1964. Here are 30 interesting facts about him:

  1. Bezos was adopted by his step-father, his mother’s second husband Miguel Bezos, a Cuban immigrant, when he was 4. His mother, Jacklyn (Gise), was a teenager when married Ted Jorgensen, Bezos’s biological father. That marriage lasted only a couple of years.
  2. As a toddler, Bezos had demonstrated his affiliation toward mechanical things as in, to how things work with the aid of a screwdriver by dismantling his crib and later by rigging an electric alarm.
  3. As a child, he spent his summers working on his maternal grandfather’s ranch in Texas. In 1982, he received a Silver Knight Award at the Student Science Training Program in the University of Florida. He was a National Merit Scholar and graduated high school as a valedictorian.
  4. The 18-year-old Bezos, in a Miami Herald interview, in 1982, after he was named high school class valedictorian, had said “he wanted to build space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million or 3 million people who would be in orbit. 'The whole idea is to preserve the earth'… The goal was to be able to evacuate humans. The planet would become a park."
  5. He was still in high school when he started, The Dream Institute, an educational summer camp for fourth, fifth and sixth graders, his first business venture. He had converted his parent’s garage into a laboratory.
  6. In 1986, he graduated from Princeton University, with highest honors summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a bachelor of science in engineering degree in electrical engineering with computer science. He was the president of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space while in Princeton.
  7. After graduation, Bezos worked several jobs in a variety of firms beginning from the Wall Street, Fitel, an American banking organization the Bankers Trust, and the investment firm D.E. Shaw.
  8. In the year 1990, he became the youngest vice president of the hedge fund management company D.E. Shaw, where he had the exposure to the internet based business opportunities.
  9. He met his wife, Mackenzie, at work in D.E. Shaw and married her in 1993. He is now survived by his wife, an adopted daughter and three sons.
  10. Bezos is a “person of method.” He borrows his methods and frameworks from books. He is bookish by nature. He literally applies these methods even if they are risky.
  11. He follows a “Regret Minimization Framework” principle in life. He believes no person can avoid regret but it can be reduced if the decisions are made with the predilection of life when they are old.
  12. In 1994, Bezos after realizing the growth of Internet, quit his lucrative job in New York and moved to Seattle. The online business plan was drafted during his cross country drive.
  13. He had shortlisted 20 types of items that could be sold online and finally decided on books. He set up his new office in his garage and worked along with his wife and two other programmers.
  14. This new venture was called the Cadabra Inc. Later had to rename it because he felt the name of the company sounded like “cadaver inc.” over the phone. Hence, the new name, a virtual bookstore.
  15. The company picked up successfully. Within 30 days, without any press promotion, had sold books in 45 foreign countries and across the United States. The sales had escalated to $20,000 a week, in two months.
  16. Amazon did not store its books. It bought it only when an order for purchase is placed. Bezos found a hack in the system and used it to deliver his books promptly. He had always taken risk in his endeavors and had to fight with his executives to accomplish it. He had initially invested $250,000 in Google, in 1998
  17. In 1997, became public, in the next two years outdid its competitions, and went on lead the e-commerce sector. The virtual store added CDs, videos, clothing, toys, electronics and many more and in the next two decades has established itself to an become “everything store.”
  18. His fascination and passion for space travel lead him to start a human spaceflight company, Blue Origin, in 2000. The company had been under wraps for years, but by 2006 became a public knowledge when several acres of land for the establishment of its test facility were purchased in Texas. The company aims to enable space travel for willing and paying customers.
  19. Amazon Unbox, renamed as Amazon Instant, which provides video on demand was launched. As an avid reader he gathered more insight and knowledge in various fields. He further inferred that he had to always stay innovative to remain in business.
  20. He believes that the only means to stay innovative is to eliminate the threat, the very thing that will make the present obsolete. He said "Frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out."
  21. In 2007, he found Kindle, a threat to paperback books, a hand held device which enables readers to download, buy, store, and read digital books. A Tablet device, Kindle Fire, and later Kindle Fire HD were also launched.
  22. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post and its other affiliated publications. After a few months lifted its online paywall for its subscribers, enabling the paper to reach areas where printed copies do not reach.
  23. Times magazine, in 1999, named him the “Person of the Year.” Fortune Magazine, in 2012, named him the “Businessperson of the Year.” He was placed 15th in the Forbes list of World Billionaire, in 2015 and was placed 5th in 2016.
  24. Bezos, in 2013, spoke about “Amazon Prime Air,” an experimental initiative, where remote controlled flying machines, the drones, will be used to deliver to customers within 10 mile radius of the distribution center. This experiment is expected to turn into reality in a few years.
  25. The Fire Phone, launched in 2014, was a failure and was shelved the next year. The Amazon Studios developed original content for production. Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent were a huge hit in 2014. The first original feature film produced and released by the company, in 2015, was Spike Lee's Chi-Raq.
  26. His aerospace company, Blue Origin, after a space flight, landed a rocket back on Earth. The company claims to make space travel commercially available to all people at affordable cost. To reduce the space flight cost the plans to use reusable rockets.
  27. Being fascinated by space travel since childhood, Bezos made a cameo appearance in, Star Trek Beyond, in 2016. He is credited in the IMDB cast list as a Starfleet Official in the movie. He joined the San Diego Comic-Con screening along with its cast and crew
  28. He likes to learn what he doesn’t know and suggests the same to his employees too. He is very secretive and does not share his plans with anybody.
  29. For three straight years, he graced the Fortune's list of “Fifty Great Leaders of the World,” gradually making it to the top of the list in 2015.
  30. In 2008, U.S. News & World Report selected Bezos as one of America's best leaders. The same year Carnegie Mellon University awarded him an honorary doctorate in Science and Technology. The Economist, in 2011, awarded Jeff Bezos and Gregg Zehr with an Innovation Award for the Amazon Kindle.

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