Jeffrey Preston Bezos, better known as Jeff Bezos, is the founder and chief executive officer of e-commerce giant Amazon. He is an entrepreneur, investor and media proprietor. His lucrative ventures have made him one of the richest people in the world, and Bezos has been named the "richest man in modern history" on the Forbes wealth index.
Early career of Jeff Bezos
After graduating from Princeton University, Jeff Bezos started a job at a fintech telecommunications start-up, Fitel. Within months, he was promoted as the director of customer service. He shifted to the banking industry and later joined D E Shaw & Co, a newly founded hedge fund. At the age of 30, he was appointed D E Shaw's senior vice-president.
Jeff Bezos as an internet entrepreneur
In 1993, Bezos quit D E Shaw to establish an online bookstore by taking financial help from his parents and other investors. Amazon, which took shape in his garage, was initially named Cadabra but renamed later. Within two months, Amazon’s sales reached $20,000 a week, growing faster than Jeff Bezos had envisioned. Amazon.com went public with an initial public offering (IPO) in 1997. By 1998, the online bookstore expanded to other products, notably CDs and videos in 1998, and clothes, electronics, toys and more through major retail partnerships later. While many dot.coms failed in the 90s, Amazon flourished.
In 2002, Bezos launched Amazon Web Services and secured a $600-million contract from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on behalf of the unit the next year. In 2007, he launched Amazon Kindle. For long, Bezos had been eyeing the food delivery market. In 2017, Amazon acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain for $13.7 billion in cash and Amazon Prime customers were offered in-store deals and grocery delivery in as little time as two hours, depending on the market. By 2018, his Amazon stock holdings had appreciated to slightly over $109 billion, which he began selling off to raise cash for other ventures. That year, Amazon reported its highest ever profit with quarterly earnings of $2 billion. By the end of 2018, Amazon was valued at more than $1 trillion. This made it the second company to ever hit that record, the first being Apple.
Bezos as an aerospace entrepreneur
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000. This company develops technologies to lower the cost of space travel. For over a decade, the firm operated in the shadows, but Bezos in 2016 introduced its headquarters to reporters and revealed his vision of humans not only visiting the space but also colonising it. Two years later, he revealed the Blue Origin moon lander, which had been conducting test flights of its suborbital New Shepard rocket.
“We are going to build a road to space. And then amazing things will happen,” Bezos said. In 2019, Nasa collaborated with Blue Origin on 19 technology projects to reach the moon and Mars. The company is also working with Nasa to launch reusable rockets from a refurbished complex.
Bezos as a media proprietor
In 2013, Bezos entered the media business by purchasing American newspaper The Washington Post for $250 million in cash.
Jeff Bezos' net worth
Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest person alive and is also the first person in modern history to accumulate a fortune of over $100 billion. He has an estimated net worth of $156 billion. Bezos remains Amazon's largest stockholder and is one of the US' biggest landowners. Bezos also owns a $65 million Gulfstream G650ER private jet.
Jeff Bezos' personal life
Bezos, born on January 12, 1964, is from Albuquerque in New Mexico. He attended a science training programme at the University of Florida. In 1986, he graduated from Princeton University in Bachelors of Science in Engineering in electrical engineering and computer science.
In February 2019, Jeff Bezos and his wife filed for divorce after 25 years of marriage. The news had been announced by the couple on Twitter on January 9, 2019.
What seemed to be a very cordial exit from marriage soon spiralled into allegations of blackmail over nude photos and a private investigation into leaked texts. On February 9, Bezos alleged blackmail plot by the Enquirer and also claimed that the publication's reporting was politically motivated.
"Rather than capitulate to blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos said in the post. Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife MacKenzie Tuttle are the parents of four children — three sons, and a daughter adopted from China.
Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy
Bezos is often referred to as a cheapskate when it comes to giving away money. However, according to the Philanthropy 50 list 2019, he made the most charitable donations.
Bezos donates to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and has pledged $500,000 to a former Amazon employee's NGO called Worldreader. In January 2018, Bezos made a $33-million donation to TheDream, a college scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as minors. He has also donated to Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund, which aims at promoting emissions-free energy. That year, he launched the Bezos Day One Fund, which focuses on "funding existing non-profits that help homeless families. In 2020, Jeff Bezos offered $690,000 to help Australia recover from the worst bushfires in its history.