Jeff Bezos is credited with building a multi-billionaire internet empire that has changed the way we live, shop, and get entertained. Born into a humble family, Jeffrey Bezos, the computer scientist and electrical engineer’s hard work, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit have seen him create the world’s largest business empire.
He has revolutionized logistics, publishing, eCommerce, among many other sectors of the global economy. But all this was not without failures, for along the way, Bezos has sunk millions, if not billions.
Bezos is an innovator, businessman, inventor, and techpreneur whose business interests traverse multiple sectors, enterprises and know no transregional boundaries. Outlined below is a detailed biography of the industrialist investor. Starting us off is his biofacts;
Jeffrey Preston BIO Facts
Full Name: Jeffrey Preston Bezos
Birth Date: 12 January 1964
Birth Place: Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
Nick Name: Jeff
Siblings: Mark Bezos.
Children: 4 Children. 3 Sons and an Adopted Daughter.
Partner / Spouse: Divorced from MacKenzie Scott, Dating Lauren Sanchez
Profession: Internet Entrepreneur, Computer Scientist, Businessman, Investor
Salary: $140,153 per month
Social Media: Twitter: @JeffBezos, Instagram: @jeffbezos
Companies Associated With: Amazon.com, Zappos, Elemental Tech, Souq.com, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, IMDb, Kiva Systems, Alexa, DPReview, Fabric.com, Woot.com, Goodreads, Twitch, Audible.
Last Updated: June 2021.
Jeff Bezos’s Key Facts Summary
- He is the first person ever to accumulate a $200 billion fortune.
- He will step down as the CEO of the global retailer giant in July 2021 and will be replaced by Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy.
- He launched Amazon from a garage in Seattle.
- He wrote Amazon’s business plan on a road trip to Seattle.
- Bezos founded Amazon from within a garage.
- He almost named Amazon Cadabra.
- His biological father performed in the circus.
- He once told the virtual assistant Alexa “Shoot yourself in the head.”
- He holds a B.A in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
- He made his first millions in 1997 and billion in 1999.
Jeff Bezos’s Birthplace and Early Life
Bezos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the USA, on 12 January 1964. His parents could later divorce when he was only four. Her mother remarried a Cuban Immigrant, Bezos’s adoptive father and whose surname Jeff uses, Miguel Bezos.
The family then relocated to Houston, Texas, then to Miami, Florida, where Jeff sat his high school and later joined Princeton University in 1986. Bezos holds two degrees, one in computer science and another in electrical engineering.
After University, he worked on Wall Street across different fields from 1986 to 1994. Notable among them include his first job at a startup communication company Fitel. He later changed careers to work in the banking industry, where he rose to Products Manager’s position at Bankers Trust.
He later jumped ship to join a newly found hedge fund, D. E. Shaw & Co. Here he rose through the ranks to become the company’s fourth Vice president before finally resigning in 1994 after drawing up Amazon’s business plan while on a road trip to Seattle.
Jeff Bezos’s Early Business Success
Amongst his many business ventures, it is Amazon that is credited with growing his fortunes and thrusting him into global fame as the world’s richest man.
Bezos named the retail company Amazon after the famous and beautiful meandering South American river. Before its expansive retail category, Amazon had a pretty basic niche, selling books online.
The idea was a sharp contrast compared to traditional brick-and-mortar libraries spread across different regions. For a start, Amazon started off from a garage, expanded into a two-bedroom house before expanding gradually to its current global presence.
His early success defied many odds, for without advertisement, proper infrastructure, and relying on a handful of friends and a computer science degree, Amazon sold books across the US and 45 foreign countries. Within the first two months, sales shoot to more than $20,000 a week, translating to over $50,000 per month.
Two years after its launch in 1994, Amazon went Public in what most analysts called a bluff that would not last a year. But two years down the line, after it went public, Amazon not only kept growing, but outpaced its competitors, expanded both its operations and shelves, and positioned itself on a profit increase and territory conquering trajectory.
As of the writing of this article, Amazon has a cumulative net value of over $314.9 billion, according to gobankingrates.com. The future is even brighter for the company amidst the global pandemic that has seen more people go online for both services and goods.
The media was rife with headlines of an auction with over 7,600 registered bidders, 159 countries, and starting at $4.8 million but only lasted 7 minutes. The guardian sparingly carried a headline “Sold! Bidder pays $28 million for a spare seat on Space Flight with Jeff Bezos.”
This is but a reflection of the excitement with which space exploration has brought. Owing to the cost of exploration, only a handful of such companies actively and profitably pursue it. One such company is Elon Musk’s Space X which has constantly been contrasted against Blue Origins.
Both billionaires are competing to be the first to manufacture NASA’s lunar lander before 2024.
Blue Origin was founded in September 2000, currently has over 3,500 employees, and still lives by its vision of making access to space cheaper and more reliable through reusable launch vehicles.
The Washington Post
Before its acquisition by Bezos in 2013, The Washington Post had been a family-owned business for 80 straight years. At the time of the purchase, the media outlet was financially struggling, having taken a hit from the preceding financial crisis.
However, three years after the purchase, the paper doubled its web traffic, recorded increased sales, and strategically repositioned to further its profits (here is how Paul Pelosi differs from Bezos). This swift turnaround of a $250 million purchase was impressive at the least.
IMDb is a private subsidiary company that is attached to Amazon. The company that offers a database for TV, celebrity content, and movies was acquired in 1998 after Bezos struck a $55 million deal with Needham and other principal shareholders.
The Internet Movie Database, abbreviated as IMDb, boosts a database with over 7.5 million movies, 83 million registered users, and over 10 million personalities.
Whole Foods is one of the largest natural food store chains and has its presence across Canada, UK, and the US. The company was founded back in the 1980s and publicly traded in the Stock market before its acquisition and subsequent merger in 2017.
Bezos acquired the company for a record $13.8 billion deal which saw the company shareholders paid $42 per share, $12.89 more than it was currently trading. Notable, however, was the decision to retain the CEO, John Mackey. The company has headquarters in Austin, Texas.
The acquisition cost Amazon Web services, a subsidiary of Amazon, $500 million. It ranks as the largest ever acquisition made by AWS. At the time of the acquisition, the company had an approximate yearly revenue of $80 million.
The acquisition was informed by the need, by Amazon, to enhance AWS’s delivery service as well as to cement it as a leader in the industry. Among the services it intends to bolster are television shows, streaming of sports events, and films. Among the big names, Elemental Tech courts include BBC, ABC, and Comcast.
Elemental Tech started in 2006 to provide multiscreen Video solutions. After the purchase by Amazon, the company changed its name to AWS Elemental.
It is commonly referred to as the Amazon of the Middle East and is located within Dubai. The E-commerce acquisition of Souq.com was the first bold move that Amazon made towards establishing another network in the Middle East.
The acquisition company that was started in 2005, unofficially nicknamed Amazon of the Middle East, cost Amazon $580 million. With the deal sealed, one can now directly buy over $30 million products available in its online business stores.
A random search on google with the phrase “Alexa and Jeff Bezos” results in multiple hits with “Shoot yourself in the head.” This a leaked comment made by Bezos in 2013 when the virtual assistant could not accurately comprehend and perform voiced commands.
Fast forward to 2021, Alexa has been pre-installed and sold in over 100 million devices, as reported by Business Insider.
Kiva is a robotics company that Amazon acquired in March 2012 at $770 million. The robotics company uses package-carrying robots within Amazon warehouses.
Other ventures that Amazon has invested in include Audible, Goodreads, woot.com, fabric.com, and DPreview. He is said to have had interests in Twitter, whose founder is billionaire Jack Dorsey (check Jack Dorsey’s Biography).
Jeff Bezos’s Videos
This video takes an analytical approach to understand how the Amazon CEO built a global economic force that defines our daily online purchases.
In this rare one-of-a-kind interview, the Bezos brothers delve into how their childhood life shaped their current lives. Their habits and secrets to business acumen as well as what they should look forward to in the future.
Jeff Bezos’s Business Failures
Though it was never revealed how much money the AAA video game sunk, estimates project it at $60 to $80 million. The venture was launched in May 2020 and was permanently halted by October 2020.
Similar to the amounts sunk, the FAQ on the site after it permanently shut indicated that the development team was simply moving on to other Amazon development projects.
Haven was a novel idea that brought together economic powerhouses including Amazon, Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase.
The idea was to set up an insurance plan drawn from the three companies’ employees and later to be scaled to cover all American citizens.
Barely 4-years after its launch in 2018, the company closed shop and left the Investors counting losses. As to how much Amazon invested is still unclear.
Bezos’s Amazon invested $175 million in December 2010 into Living Social so as to better compete with Groupon.
The company rapidly expanded, increased the human resource capacity, and even re-aligned its business model to sell tickets with the hope of increased future returns.
However, this was not to be as in between 2011 to 2016, and it had to lay off employees from 4500 to a mere 200 before finally being bought by its arch-rival Groupon at, note this, $0.
Amazon Fire Phone
Unlike his other failed ventures, the Amazon Fire Phone had the computer scientist in the lead, with every single step having to get his approval.
The phone could later be released at a $199 retail price, only to drastically fall to a record 99 cents with a 2-year AT & T contract.
With the flop went another $170 million, to which Bezos’s proudly commented, “even bigger failures are yet to come; they will make this failure look like a tiny flip.”
Askville.com closed shop in 2013, 6 years after its launch. The library-like site gathered a vast repository of information and was designed for users to ask each other questions. And just like the other failed Amazon ventures, it served as a bitter reminder of the many ideas that never spun to generate millions as Bezos had imagined.
Despite statements to media outlets, including Women’s Wear Daily, that fashion was part of Amazon’s major forte, My Habit closed shop in 2016, 5 years from its official launch.
Amazon Web pay
The idea behind Amazon Web pay, founded in 2009, was to provide easy, convenient, and fast online desktop payment options. Ideally, it was to mirror the services offered by the likes of PayPal, Payoneer, and Wise.com. This was, however, not to be as the company closed shop in 2014.
According to Techcrunch, Amazon TestDrive debuted in March 2011 and closed shop in April 2015. TestDrive was purpose-built to allow users to test out programs and apps before making a purchase decision.
Its usage, however, drastically dropped amidst stiff competition from free apps that were readily available to users.
Other notable business flops the CEO has made include; Amazon Wallet, Amazon Destinations, Pets.com and Kozmo.com, and Amazon Local register.
Jeff Bezos’s Family
Bezos and ex-wife Mackenzie Tuttle, now Mackenzie Scott, met while Bezos was working in D.E Shaw in 1992. The two married a year later and relocated to Seattle, Washington, in 1994.
They are blessed with 4 children, 3 sons (Princeton is the eldest son) and an adoptive daughter.
The two divorced in April 2019 after 25 years of marriage. Mackenzie then went on to get married to Dan Jewett, taking with a 4% stake in Amazon stock.
On the other hand, Bezos is currently dating (could Arianna Huffington been a better match) Media personality Lauren Sanchez and is left with a 12% stake in Amazon.
Jeff Bezos Net Worth and Career Earnings
According to both Forbes and Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Jeff Bezos is worth an accumulative net worth of $195.3 billion, $0.7 billion poorer than the French Luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault. And $40.5 billion richer than his compatriot and fierce space exploration competitor, Mr. Tesla, Elon Musk.
Bezos achieved the millionaire status shortly after Amazon’s IPO of 1997 that saw him accrue $54 million. Two years later, he crossed the billionaire mark at age 35 to get featured in Forbes World’s Billionaires list with a net worth of $10.1 billion.
Jeff Bezos’s Real Estate Holdings
The $165 Million Warner Estate
According to Wall Street, the sprawling 9-acre estate built for Warner Bros president in 1990 was sold to Tycoon David Geffen at $47.5 million. Bezos is reported to have bought it from the tycoon at $165 million. The estate currently holds the record as the most expensive piece of real estate ever sold in California state history.
$80 Million New York City apartments
The spacious three adjacent city apartments easily rank as the priciest real estate deal in New York. The 12 bedroomed housed has a living space that spans 17,000 square feet of living space, a penthouse, among other extensive pieces that ooze luxury.
29,000 Square Feet Medina Homes
The two homes are sparingly spread across the expansive 5.3 acres, with one reportedly having 5-bedrooms, 4-bathrooms and occupies a whopping 20,600 square feet. While the smaller one sits on 8,300 square feet of land, and similar to the larger home, it is 5-bedroomed and has 4-bathrooms.
The 20,600 square feet home, purchased in 1998, cost $10 million, while the other smaller home cost $53 million. Medina is located in an exclusive suburb that is also home to billionaire Bill Gates.
Beverly Hills Home
The Home that Dream Homes Magazine once featured is said to have cost the Amazon CEO $24.45 million. He bought the Spanish styled mansion in 2007, and the mansion has 4-fountains, a six-car storage garage, a greenhouse, and a lighted tennis court.
After the Beverly Hills Home purchase, Bezos acquired an adjacent 4-bedroomed home that sits on 4,568 square feet of land. The parcel, together with the architectural marvels, set him $12.9 million back.
30,000 Acre Van Horn, Texas Ranch
The U-shaped ranch that is reminiscent of the early life Bezos spent in his grandparents’ ranch is the official base for Blue Origin. Bezos bought the ranch shortly after the former owner pumped millions into renovating it.
Former Textile Museum in Washington, DC
The Historic textile Museum sits on 27,000 square feet of space and dates to early 1912. It is home to powerful figures including the Obamas, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner.
3 Condos in Historic Manhattan
The 32 Art Décor was purchased from Sony Music Head Tommy Mottola in 1999. The historic building was built in 1931 and was bought under an LLC’ Jetima.” The building has 3-separate entry points, elevator attendants and a concierge.
Jeff Bezos’s Quotes
“Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.”
“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”
“We expect all our businesses to have a positive impact on our top and bottom lines.”
“Amazon is not too big to fail … If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers.”
“I like treating things as if they’re small; you know, Amazon, even though it is a large company, I want it to have the heart and spirit of a small one.”
“Your margin is my opportunity.”
“The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?'”
“If you don’t understand the details of your business, you are going to fail.”
“I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How much did Jeff Bezos’s yacht cost?
Answer: The yacht cost Bezos $1.2 billion. It has a smaller yacht within it to hold a helicopter that accompanies the yacht.
Question: What was Jeff Bezos’ net worth in 2020?
Answer: Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index estimated his net worth to be $183 billion at the close of the year 2020. This was a 59.1% increase in his net value that translated to $67.9 billion for 2020 alone.