Amazon’s chief Jeff Bezos or Jeffrey Preston Bezos is the richest person on earth. His net worth was $151.4 Billion on 17 Jul 2018. From 1995, Amazon went from a relatively obscure book business to a dominant online retailer, cloud service provider, and much, much more. This article is about How Amazon founder Jeff Bezos went from the son of a teen mom to the world’s richest person. It covers How Rich is Jeff Bezoz? What is Jeff Bezoz Life Story? Video of Jeff Bezoz Speech and his family.
How Rich is Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is the richest person in modern history. The Amazon.com founder’s net worth cracked $150 billion in New York on Monday, 16 Jul 2018, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s about $55 billion more than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the world’s second richest person. His net worth has soared by $52 billion this year, which is more than the entire fortune of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma, Asia’s wealthiest person. It also puts Bezos’s personal fortune within spitting distance of the $151.5 billion controlled by the Walton family, the world’s richest dynasty. India’s richest person is Mukesh Ambani with wealth of $43.3 billion.
Jeff Bezos is the riches man as he owns 16% of e-commerce company Amazon, which he founded in a garage in Seattle in 1994. He also has a broad portfolio of investment. Bezos also makes personal investments through venture capital vehicle Bezos Expeditions, which has backed impressive companies across a wide range of industries, such as Twitter, IMDB. In 1998, Bezos became one of Google’s earliest investors with a $1 million investment in the search giant. According to Crunchbase, he has also personally invested in tech companies like Uber, Airbnb and Everfi. The infographic, created by Visual Capitalist, breaks down Bezos’ ever-expanding empire, excerpt of which is shown below.
Jeff Bezos Life Story
- Two high school students Jackie (16) and Ted (18) meet. Jackie becomes pregnant.
- 12 Jan 1964 Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen is born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
- Ted drinks and Jackie leaves him
- When Jeff is 4 years old Jackie marries Cuban immigrant Miguel Bezos who adopts Jeff
- On grandfather’s ranch, Jeff learns to work with hands
- At age 5 watches Apollo 11 moon landing, decides to be an astronaut
- age 8 parents worry he is too bookish, enrol him in football
- Mother persuades the school to take Jeff into the gifted kid’s program early
- Age 10 learns that Miguel is not the biological father
- He becomes Valedictorian in high school. Valedictorian is an academic title of success used in the United States, Canada, Central America, and the Philippines for the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony. The chosen valedictorian is often the student with the highest Grade Point Average, or GPA among their graduating class.
- 1982 goes to Princeton, studies physics but realizes his brain is not wired for physics
- 1986 graduates in computer science and electrical engineering
- Jeff wants to start a company but joins a startup but instead joins Fitel.
- 1988 wants to start a business again but gets another job on Wall Street
- 1989 co-founds a fax newsletter startup in spare time but fails to raise money
- Jeff met his future wife, MacKenzie at the investment management firm D.E. Shaw. MacKenzie was a research associate and Jeff was a vice president. Jeff was the first person to interview MacKenzie,a fellow Princeton grad, at the firm. MacKenzie made the first move and asked Jeff out to lunch. They were engaged within three months, and within six months in 1993, they married. MacKenzie is now a novelist.
- In Feb 1994 Jef realizes that Internet grew 2,300% a year. He comes up with an idea for “the everything store” during brainstorming with boss, David Shaw. Jeff told his wife about his business idea. MacKenzie said that, while she’s not a “business person,” she could hear the passion in her husband’s voice when he spoke.
- Doing commerce over the Internet wass still illegal but that was about to change. He made a list of 20 types of things to sell and picks books.
- His boss reminds him that starting such a company is good for those who don’t have a job. He has a really good job
- Parents advise against quitting
- He quits job and moves to Seattle. Jeff Bezos wasn’t alone when he made his cross-county road trip to Seattle in 1994. And he wasn’t alone when he founded Amazon, the online retail giant some analysts now believe will be the world’s first trillion-dollar company. His wife, MacKenzie, was there for the whole journey. “To me, watching your spouse, somebody that you love, have an adventure — what is better than that?”
- Jeff Bezos incorporated Amazon in July 1994, with the website launching to the public a year later. He wanted to start his company named Cadabra, Inc. (inline with magic words abra ka dabra). He called his lawyer to find about how to incorporate a company. When he told the name of his company, the lawyer said cadaver. A cadaver is a medical term, which means corpse or dead body when intended for dissection by medical students. The new URL was registered on 1 November, 1994.
- Bezos and his wife brainstormed other names – they still own the domain name “Relentless.com.” While looking through the “A” section of the dictionary, Bezos discovered the word “Amazon,” which seemed fitting because it was earth’s largest river and he was building earth’s largest bookstore. Jeff on why Amazon seemed a fitting name for his company: “This is not only the largest river in the world, it’s many times larger than the next biggest river. It blows all other rivers away.”
Both the Nile and the Amazon can claim to be the world’s largest river. The Nile is the longest river in length and the Amazon contains the most water.
- In fall 1994 works in his garage with wife and 2 programmers, puts in his own $10,000
- He takes a 3-day book selling class
- His parents invest $100K (later invest $145K more)
- In July 1995., Amazon.com Sells First Book, “Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought”
- He didn’t physically stock any books buys when he needs. He hacked the system,bulk order is 10, ordering 1 book a customer buys + 9 rare books he knew can’t ship. He packs hundreds of books by hand
Growth of Amazon
Their first diversification and deviation from books was the acquisition of IMDB in April 1998.
- 1995 tries to raise money predicting $74M in sales by 2000 (actual net sales would be $1.64B )
- He raises $1 M from angel investors and family. Angel investors refer to one who invests his or her money in an entrepreneurial company unlike institutional venture capitalists, who invest other people’s money. Originally a term used to describe investors in Broadway shows
- 1995 raises more money than expected by letting VCs compete- opens the mind to much bigger plans
- 1996 Over dinner Barnes & Noble speaks to a Harvard CEO threatens to crush Amazon
- Early 1997 Speaks to Harvard B-school class – they Amazon advise him to sell Amazon
- May 1997 Barnes and Noble sues (Amazon gets publicity right before IPO)
- May 15. 1997 Announces IPO, Begins Trading on NASDAQ Under “AMZN”
- 1998: Company enters the online music and video business
- 1999: The firm expands into selling toys, electronics, tools, and hardware
- In 1998 Opens DVD/Video Store, Music Store
- 1998 meets two graduate students, Sergey and Larry, who just founded Google and invests in them
- 1998 burns $170M buying Junglee – a price comparison site
- 1999 tries to take down eBay by launching Amazon Auctions but fails
- 1999 gets a patent for 1-click
- In 2000, loses hundreds of millions when his investments go bust (pets.com, gear.com, etc.)
- In Sep 2000, secretly founds Blue Origin – a rocket company
- Top execs meet secretly to make a list of his failures
- Spring 2001 meets Costco CEO and decides to copy his low-price logic
- 2001 insists on free shipping using unused space on trucks (against the whole company)
- 2003 starts building rockets that can land vertically
- Mar 2003 gets injured in a helicopter accident
- 2004 Amazon jewelry doesn’t take off
- 2004 sets up secret lab to make an e-reader based on The Innovator’s Dilemma” book
- 2005 launches Prime delivery program based on intuition (no clear way to break even)
- 2006 AWS computing cloud services take off
- 2007 launches Kindle e-Reader
- 2010 fights against Steve Jobs over e-books
- 2010 e-book sales surpass paper book sales
- Aug 2013 buys The Washington Post for $250 million
- Dec 2013 promises 30 min delivery over the air using drones
- Nov 2015 successfully landed a rocket back from space (100 km up) to launch pad
Video of Jeff Bezos Speech
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos gave the Baccalaureate address to Princeton University’s Class of 2010. Bezos graduated from Princeton in 1986 with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering. He was introduced by Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman
Bezos spoke to the Class of 2010 about the difference between choices and gifts. Cleverness, Bezos pointed out, is a gift, while being kind to others is a choice. One’s character, he suggested, is reflected not in the gifts one is endowed with at birth but rather by the choices one makes over the course of a lifetime. Full transcript here
I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. Thank you and good luck!
Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life — the life you author from scratch on your own — begins.
How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
Jeff Success Mantra
Don’t fall into guilt trips and peer pressure.
When you’re trying to better your health, your business, and your life, people will often (unintentionally) place doubt and guilt in your mind.
With health, it’s subtle comments about passing on foods and drinks you used to say yes to.
With business, it’s staying in on Friday and Saturday nights accompanied with early morning rises to grind away as opposed to painting the town red and sleeping in the next day.
To handle the inevitable guilt and peer pressure from friends and others, it’s essential that you have a concrete vision to keep your focus. This concrete vision allows you to stay the course and not veer off onto the roads that will change your desired destination.
Great feats need time to become a reality. As Bezos states, “If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon.”
Avoid tunnel vision. What gets you to point A won’t take you to point B. As you keep progressing, you need to continually evolve
It’s All About the Long Term
We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term. This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current market leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity, and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital.
- We will continue to focus relentlessly on our customers.
- We will continue to make investment decisions in light of long-term market leadership considerations rather than short-term profitability considerations or short-term Wall Street reactions.
From the beginning, our focus has been on offering our customers compelling value. We realized that the Web was, and still is, the World Wide Wait. Therefore, we set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way, and began serving them with books. We brought them much more selection than was possible in a physical store (our store would now occupy 6 football fields), and presented it in a useful, easy-to-search, and easy-to-browse format in a store open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We maintained a dogged focus on improving the shopping experience, and in 1997 substantially enhanced our store. We now offer customers gift certificates, 1-Click shopping℠, and vastly more reviews, content, browsing options, and recommendation features. We dramatically lowered prices, further increasing customer value. Word of mouth remains the most powerful customer acquisition tool we have, and we are grateful for the trust our customers have placed in us. Repeat purchases and word of mouth have combined to make Amazon.com the market leader in online bookselling.
Jeff Bezos Family
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is married to Macenzie who is also from Princeton like Jeff, worked in the same company as Jeff, in fact Jeff hired her. Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie have four kids and have experimented with many different subjects to educate their children. MacKenzie had written two novels, The Testing of Luther Albright and Traps.
Until 2013, MacKenzie still drove their four kids to school and then dropped Jeff off at work in their Honda. Family friend Danny Hillis told Vogue that the Bezos’ “…are such a normal, close-knit family, it’s almost abnormal.” The family also adheres to a fairly normal routine. The Bezos family reportedly starts off the day with a healthy breakfast. To spend more time with the family, Jeff never schedules early-morning meetings at Amazon.
When it comes to educating their four kids, MacKenzie told Vogue the couple has tried a range of strategies, including, “off-season travel, kitchen-science experiments, chicken incubation, Mandarin lessons, the Singapore math program, and lots of clubs and sports with other neighborhood kids.”
And the Amazon CEO has said he wraps up the day with a chore that his wife appreciates: washing the dishes. “I’m pretty convinced it’s the sexiest thing I do,” he told Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget.
Ref: Business Insider