The Founder of Amazon Empire | Jeff Bezos Success Story

Locaskimberly
11 min readNov 2, 2023

Who Is Jeff Bezos?

Jeff Bezos, an entrepreneur and trailblazer in the world of e-commerce, is renowned as the founder and executive chair of Amazon, a prominent e-commerce company. Additionally, he is the proprietor of The Washington Post and the visionary behind the establishment of Blue Origin, a pioneering space exploration enterprise. Born in New Mexico in 1964, Bezos exhibited an early fascination with computers and pursued a degree in computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton University.

Following his graduation, he embarked on a career on Wall Street, ultimately achieving the notable distinction of becoming the youngest senior vice president at D.E. Shaw, an investment firm, in 1990. In 1994, Bezos courageously departed his lucrative position to establish Amazon.com, an online bookstore that went on to achieve remarkable success and cement its status as one of the internet’s most noteworthy triumphs.

Subsequently, Bezos ventured into the realm of space exploration by founding Blue Origin in 2000. Furthermore, in 2013, he took ownership of The Washington Post. Notably, in 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods under his leadership. Bezos’ unwavering determination and astute business acumen have propelled him to become one of the wealthiest individuals globally, with an estimated net worth of $152 billion as of July 2023.

Jeff Bezos, an entrepreneur and trailblazer in the world of e-commerce, is renowned as the founder and executive chair of Amazon, a prominent e-commerce company. Additionally, he is the proprietor of The Washington Post and the visionary behind the establishment of Blue Origin, a pioneering space exploration enterprise. Born in New Mexico in 1964, Bezos exhibited an early fascination with computers and pursued a degree in computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton University.

Following his graduation, he embarked on a career on Wall Street, ultimately achieving the notable distinction of becoming the youngest senior vice president at D.E. Shaw, an investment firm, in 1990. In 1994, Bezos courageously departed his lucrative position to establish Amazon.com, an online bookstore that went on to achieve remarkable success and cement its status as one of the internet’s most noteworthy triumphs. Subsequently, Bezos ventured into the realm of space exploration by founding Blue Origin in 2000.

Furthermore, in 2013, he took ownership of The Washington Post. Notably, in 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods under his leadership. Bezos’ unwavering determination and astute business acumen have propelled him to become one of the wealthiest individuals globally, with an estimated net worth of $152 billion as of July 2023.

Early Life and Education

Jeffrey Preston Bezos, commonly referred to as Jeff Bezos, came into the world on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His parents were Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen, who was a teenage mother at the time, and Jeff Bezos’s biological father Ted Jorgensen. However, their marriage lasted less than a year. At the age of four, Bezos’ mother married Mike Bezos, a Cuban immigrant, who became his stepfather.

Manifesting an early curiosity in unraveling the inner workings of objects, Bezos transformed his parents’ garage into a personal laboratory during his childhood. Displaying an innate knack for innovation, he ingeniously devised electrical contraptions throughout his residence.

Jeff Bezos with his mother

When Bezos reached adolescence, his family relocated to Miami, a move that would shape his future trajectory. In this new environment, he cultivated a profound passion for computers and, to his credit, earned the esteemed distinction of valedictorian at his high school. It was within the confines of high school that Bezos embarked on his entrepreneurial journey by establishing his inaugural venture, the Dream Institute — an enlightening summer camp tailored for fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students.

Following his completion of high school, Bezos pursued his higher education at Princeton University. He demonstrated exceptional academic prowess and accomplished the remarkable feat of graduating with the highest distinction, summa cum laude, in 1986. Bezos’s field of study encompassed both computer science and electrical engineering, solidifying his knowledge and expertise in these disciplines.

See also: The Ellison Edge: Success of Oracle Co-founder

Career in Finance

Upon completing his studies at Princeton, Bezos embarked on his professional journey by securing employment at various companies situated on Wall Street, namely Fitel, Bankers Trust, and the investment firm D.E. Shaw. In 1990, Bezos attained the position of the youngest vice president at D.E. Shaw.

Despite the financial success he achieved in his finance career, Bezos opted for a daring transition into the emerging realm of e-commerce. In 1994, he made the bold decision to resign from his job, relocate to Seattle, and seize the untapped opportunities of the internet market by establishing an online bookstore.

Amazon: Start and Success Through the Years

On July 16, 1995, Bezos launched Amazon.com, which took its name from the winding South American river. Prior to its launch, Bezos enlisted the help of 300 friends to beta test the website. During the months preceding the launch, Bezos and a small group of employees worked on developing software in his garage. As operations grew, they moved into a two-bedroom house furnished with three Sun Microstations.

The company experienced rapid and remarkable success from the start. Without any press promotion, Amazon.com managed to sell books not only throughout the United States but also in 45 other countries within just 30 days. Within two months, weekly sales skyrocketed to $20,000, surpassing the expectations of Bezos and his team of early-stage entrepreneurs.

In 1997, Amazon made its initial public offering (IPO), causing numerous market analysts to question its ability to withstand competition from traditional retailers entering the e-commerce space. However, just two years later, the company not only managed to keep up with its competitors but also surpassed them, establishing itself as a leading force in the world of e-commerce.

In 1998, Bezos expanded Amazon’s range of products by introducing CDs and videos for sale. Subsequently, he ventured into clothing, electronics, toys, and other items through significant retail collaborations. Despite numerous dot-com failures in the early ’90s, Amazon thrived and witnessed remarkable growth in annual sales, skyrocketing from $510,000 in 1995 to surpass $17 billion in 2011.

In Bezos’ annual shareholder letter of 2018, he announced that Amazon Prime had exceeded 100 million paid subscribers. By September of the same year, Amazon’s valuation surpassed $1 trillion, making it the second company ever to achieve this milestone, shortly after Apple.

In late 2018, Amazon made a public announcement regarding its decision to increase the minimum wage for its employees to $15 per hour. However, despite this action, the company has faced ongoing criticism regarding its working conditions and the demanding nature of the work, leading to worker protests during Prime Day in July 2019.

Amazon Instant Video & Amazon Studios

Amazon introduced its video-on-demand service in 2006 under the name Amazon Unbox on TiVo, which was later renamed Amazon Instant Video.

With the establishment of Amazon Studios in 2013, Bezos unveiled numerous original programs. The company achieved notable success in 2014 with the highly-praised Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. In 2015, Amazon produced and distributed its inaugural original feature film, Chi-Raq, directed by Spike Lee.

See Also: Jeff Bezos Overtakes Bernard Arnault to Be World’s Second-Richest Person

Bezos made a brief on-screen appearance in 2016, taking on the role of an extraterrestrial character in the movie Star Trek Beyond. Being a lifelong enthusiast of Star Trek, Bezos is credited as a Starfleet Official in the film’s IMDb listing.

During the beginning of 2018, The Seattle Times disclosed that Amazon had restructured its retail operations for consumers, with a primary emphasis on fostering growth in sectors such as digital entertainment and their virtual assistant, Alexa.

Kindle E-Reader

In 2007, Amazon introduced the Kindle, a portable digital book reader that provided users with the ability to purchase, download, read, and store their chosen books.

In 2011, Bezos expanded Amazon’s presence in the tablet market by unveiling the Kindle Fire. The subsequent September, he announced the arrival of the Kindle Fire HD, Amazon’s advanced tablet aimed at competing with Apple’s iPad. According to ABC News, Bezos confidently stated, “We haven’t created the finest tablet within a specific price range. We have crafted the finest tablet regardless of the price.”

Amazon Drones

Bezos garnered significant attention in December 2013 with the announcement of Amazon’s innovative project, Amazon Prime Air, which aimed to utilize drones for customer deliveries. These drones were designed to transport packages weighing up to five pounds and operate within a ten-mile radius of Amazon’s distribution centers.

On December 7, 2016, the inaugural Prime Air delivery successfully occurred in Cambridge, England.

Fire Phone

Under Bezos’ leadership, Amazon encountered a notable setback with the introduction of the Fire Phone in 2014. Regrettably, this device received substantial criticism for its excessive gimmicks, leading to its discontinuation the following year.

Purchasing Whole Foods

In 2017, Amazon made a significant move by purchasing the Whole Foods grocery chain for $13.7 billion in cash, a decision influenced by Bezos’ interest in the food delivery market.

Following the acquisition, Amazon introduced exclusive in-store offers for its Amazon Prime customers and expedited grocery delivery services, sometimes as fast as two hours, varying by location. Consequently, competitors like Walmart and Kroger also responded by initiating their own meal delivery services for their customer base.

Resigning as Amazon CEO

Amazon made an announcement in February 2021, stating that Bezos would resign as CEO during the third quarter of the year. However, he actually moved into the role of executive chair of Amazon’s board earlier than expected in July. Andy Jassy, a loyal Amazon employee, assumed the position of CEO, succeeding Bezos.

Blue Origin

Blue Origin, an aerospace company established by Bezos in 2000, focuses on the advancement of technologies aimed at reducing the expense of space exploration, with the goal of broadening its accessibility to individuals willing to pay. Over the course of fifteen years, the company operated inconspicuously.

In 2016, Bezos extended an invitation to journalists, inviting them to the headquarters located in Kent, Washington, just south of Seattle. During this visit, he outlined his visionary perspective of humans not only visiting but eventually establishing colonies in space. A year later, in 2017, Bezos made a commitment to sell approximately $1 billion worth of Amazon stock annually to provide financial support for Blue Origin.

Two years following this announcement, Bezos unveiled the Blue Origin moon lander and disclosed that the company had been conducting test flights of its suborbital New Shepard rocket. The primary purpose of this rocket was to enable tourists to experience a few minutes in space. Bezos expressed his ambition to construct a pathway to space, stating that incredible things would transpire once this road was established.

NASA declared in August 2019 that Blue Origin was one of the 13 chosen companies for a collaborative effort on 19 technology projects focused on lunar and Martian exploration. Blue Origin’s contributions include the development of a reliable and accurate lunar landing system and the creation of engine nozzles designed for liquid-propellant rockets. Additionally, the company is partnering with NASA to construct and launch reusable rockets from a renovated facility located in close proximity to the Kennedy Space Center.

Owner of The Washington Post

Bezos gained widespread attention on August 5, 2013, when he acquired The Washington Post and other publications associated with its parent company, The Washington Post Co., for $250 million.

This transaction marked the conclusion of the Graham family’s control over The Post Co., spanning four generations. The family included Donald E. Graham, the company’s chairman and chief executive, as well as Katharine Graham, his niece and the publisher of The Post.

In an attempt to clarify the deal, Graham explained, “Under the company’s ownership, The Post could have survived and remained profitable in the foreseeable future. However, our intention was to achieve more than mere survival. I’m not suggesting that this guarantees success, but it significantly enhances our chances of success.”

In the summer of 2018, Bezos expanded the newspaper’s workforce by hiring numerous reporters, editors, and technology staff, effectively tripling the size of the latter. During this time, a considerable number of employees composed an open letter addressed to their boss, requesting improved salary packages and enhanced benefits. Notably, the organization achieved several notable breakthroughs, one of which involved exposing the falsehoods surrounding former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s communication with Russians. This revelation ultimately led to his resignation.

In 2016, the organization announced its profitability. The subsequent year witnessed the Post achieving an ad revenue exceeding $100 million, experiencing three consecutive years of double-digit revenue growth. According to ComScore’s data from June 2019, Amazon quickly surpassed The New York Times in terms of unique users, reaching an impressive count of 86.4 million.

Healthcare Venture

A joint press release was issued on January 30, 2018, by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase, wherein they unveiled their plans to establish a new healthcare company specifically for their employees in the United States. The company aims to combine their resources and operate without profit-oriented motives or limitations. Its primary objective is to identify ways to reduce costs and enhance patient satisfaction, initially focusing on technological solutions.

Bezos acknowledged the complexity of the healthcare system and the challenges ahead, stating that despite the difficulty, it would be worthwhile to alleviate the burden on the economy and improve outcomes for employees and their families.

Charitable Initiatives: Bezos Day One Fund and Earth Fund

Bezos, who is known as one of the wealthiest individuals globally, had faced public criticism in the past due to his limited charitable contributions. However, in recent years, he has taken significant steps towards philanthropy through the establishment of two new initiatives.

In 2018, Bezos, along with his then-wife MacKenzie Scott, initiated the Bezos Day One Fund. This fund aims to support existing non-profit organizations aiding homeless families and create a network of high-quality preschools in underprivileged communities. The announcement came a year after Bezos sought advice from his Twitter followers on how to donate a portion of his wealth. As a result, Bezos donated $2 billion from his personal fortune to finance this non-profit endeavor.

On February 17, 2020, Bezos made another notable announcement by launching the Bezos Earth Fund. This fund is dedicated to combating the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change. Bezos pledged to allocate $10 billion towards this initiative and expressed his commitment to provide grants and financial support to scientists, activists, and NGOs that offer genuine potential for preserving and safeguarding the natural world.

Personal Life: Ex-Wife, Fiancée, and Kids

Bezos encountered MacKenzie Scott (then MacKenzie Tuttle) during their shared employment at D.E. Shaw: he held the position of a senior vice president while she served as an administrative assistant, using the job to support her writing aspirations. Following a three-month courtship, the couple became engaged and married in 1993. Together, Bezos and Scott are the parents of four children, including three sons and a daughter they adopted from China.

Scott played a crucial role in the establishment and triumph of Amazon. She contributed to the creation of Amazon’s initial business plan and served as the company’s first accountant. Despite her reserved and scholarly nature, she publicly endorsed Amazon and stood by her husband. With a background in novel writing and receiving guidance from Toni Morrison during her time at Princeton University, Scott released her debut book, The Testing of Luther Albright, in 2005, followed by her second novel, Traps, in 2013

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