Who Is Jeff Bezos Really?

By Liana Keane | 4 weeks ago

Jeff Bezos is the founder and current CEO of Amazon.com. As an American entrepreneur, he owns the Washington Post and the space company, Blue Origin. Now one of the most influential and powerful people in the world, he is unquestionably the richest man on Earth in with a networth of $112.1 billion.

As such, Bezos is 20% richer than the British Monarch.

In 2015, Jeff Bezos’s net worth was $34.8 billion, and by October 2018, his net worth was $160 billion. He is the first person in modern history to accumulate a fortune of more than $100 billion. Forbes has listed Jeff Bezos as #1 on the Forbes 400 2019, Innovative Leaders 2019 and Billionaires 2019.

Jeff Bezos

The Beginnings Of Bezos

Born in 1964 in New Mexico as Jeffrey Preston Bezos to Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen and Ted Jorgensen, Jeff’s last name changed to Bezos when at the age of 4 he was legally adopted by his mother’s second husband Miguel “Mike” Bezos. Mike was a Cuban Immigrant attending the University of New Mexico and, after graduation the entire family moved to Houston where Mike worked as an engineer for Exxon.

Showing signs of who he would become, Jeff Bezos developed a group called the Dream Institute while in high school. The institute promoted the creative thinking of young students. While still in school, he once told his teacher that “the future of mankind is not on this planet.”

He graduated in 1986 summa cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering. After graduating, Jeff Bezos turned down several jobs offers to work in tech companies such as Bell Labs and Intel.

Instead, he chose to join Fitel and later, Bankers Trust and D.E Shaw. By 1990, Jeff had become the youngest senior vice president at the hedge fund. He also tried to launch a news-by-fax service company with the founder of CNET, Hasley Minor.

In 1994 the internet was growing at a rate of 2,300% every year and that got young Jeff Bezos excited. So, he quit his job and moved to Seattle with goals of tapping into the power of the Internet. It’s there in Seattle that Jeff Bezos came up with Amazon.

How Jeff Bezos Became The Richest Man In The World

Amazon Headquarters in Seattle Washington

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1995. The eCommerce store started as an online bookstore. Before launching the site, he asked 300 friends to beta test it. He and his employees began developing software to better manage the eCommerce site in his garage.

To accommodate the growing needs of the site, the team moved to a two-bedroom house with three Sun Microstations. While they worked, Amazon grew.

By selling books across the United States and in 45 other foreign countries, the young company was able to ship $20,000 worth of goods in the first two months. After that initial success, the company went public in 1997 and became an eCommerce leader by immediately outpacing competitors.

By 1998, Amazon.com had begun selling electronic toys, clothes, videos, and CDs. In 1995 sales were $510,000 annually and by 2011 sales were more than $17 billion. Amazon diversified in 2006 to include Amazon Web Services, introduced the Kindle in 2007 and Amazon Studios in 2010.

Today, more than 1 million sellers are on Amazon compared to 300,000 third party sellers in 2017. Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world with $232.9 billion in revenue as of 2018 and operating in 16 marketplaces worldwide.

Jeff Bezos owned Blue Origin
Blue Origin Building in Florida

Blue Origin is a privately funded aerospace company founded by Jeff Bezos in 2000. Headquartered in Kent. Washington, Blue Origin is led by Bob Smith. The aerospace company develops technologies to enable humanity access space at lower costs and with increased reliability.

Currently, the Jeff Bezos space company is building a bunch of technologies such as rocket-powered vertical takeoff and vertical landing. The rocket vehicle will allow access to suborbital and orbital space. Blue Origin engineers have been creating the New Shepard spacecraft in Culberson County, Texas, together with multiple testbeds.

Named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard, New Shepard test flights began in 2015 with testing continuing into 2018. Currently, the company is planning on the first passenger-carrying spaceflight in 2019.

Bezos' Newspaper
The Washington Post Building in Washington D.C.

The Washington Post is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C. With a circulation of 1 million digital copies in 2018, the paper has won 47 Pulitzer prizes. Eight Pulitzer Prizes were awarded in 2008, which is the highest number awarded to a single newspaper in a year.

Founded in December 6th, 1877 by Stilson Hutchins, it’s one of the leading newspapers in the US. Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million cash. Currently, its owned by Nash Holdings LLC, a company controlled by Jeff Bezos.

Since being acquired by Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post has grown in terms of traffic and audience.

Jeff Bezos Manhattan property
Century Tower in Manhattan

Jeff Bezos has real estate holdings on both the west and east coast. He has two multi-million-dollar homes in Beverly Hills. He also has a 10,000 square foot apartment in Manhattan. The condo cost him $10 million. Due to his investment in the apartment at the Century Tower in Manhattan, property values skyrocketed. Real estate space began selling at $2,000 to $4,000 per square foot.

Jeff Bezos also has a lakeside property in Washington state. He spent $28 million just to increase its living space to 30,000 square feet.

His company, Amazon.com, spent $1.5 billion to buy its South Lake Union Headquarters building. The company also has acquired dozens of buildings, increasing its office space to 2 million square feet and 100,000 square feet of retail space.

Bezo investment in Google
Google Headquarters

Jeff Bezos has shares in Google and Twitter, Inc. He has also committed $50 million as venture capital to Business Insider. The American entrepreneur has interests in ZocDoc, Inc, TeachStreet, Inc, Unity Biotechnology, and Nextdoor.

In the travel division, he has investments in Airbnb ($122 million) and Uber ($35 million) in series B financing.

Jeff Bezos headshot

The Future Of Jeff Bezos

Thanks to his booming wealth, Jeff Bezos has been able to fulfill his childhood dream. That of becoming a space entrepreneur. Each year, he commits $1 billion to Blue Origin. He is also working on way-out-there ideas such as building the 10,000-year clock. This clock will have a chime generator capable of generating 365 chimes a year.

He is also planning on retrieving the Apollo 11 engines from the ocean floor through the F-1 retrieval project. Once retrieved, he will donate them to the Smithsonian museum.

Jeff Bezos continues to grow his wealth by investing in start-ups and established companies through Bezos Expeditions, his venture capital firm.

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