Jeff Bezos was born in 1964 and went on to become one of the best known American entrepreneurs of all time. An Albuquerque citizen who was raised in Texas; Jeff Bezos spent his early career working the stock market on Wall Street. Despite quickly rising to become a CEO in his own right, he soon left that career to start a firm of his own. A short while later Amazon.com was born, and his life was changed forever.
Bezos showed an early interest in computers and computing science and this interest later led him to graduate from Princeton University with a degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Despite this he ended up working in Finance, developing a keen interest in the technology sector as he did so. It is an interesting fact that Bezos actually started his first business while he was still in High School. It was a summer camp for older students and gave some indication of what he would achieve in the future.
After graduation Bezos turned down jobs with Bell Labs and Intel, among others, and chose to work with Fitel as a network developer. After quickly rising to become head of his department he made a side step into banking. He joined D E Shaw in 1990 and had risen to CEO by age 30. In 1994 he parted ways with the company – where he met his wife – in order to follow his own dreams.
When Bezos started Amazon he took a huge gamble. He borrowed $300,000 from his parents as an initial investment for an ‘online bookstore’. He faced widespread criticism from both the industry and from the media for doing so – but he always knew it would take off as the internet expanded. After three years in development Amazon.com received cool appraisal from the public. The company might have failed if he hadn’t diversified his product and expanded into music and entertainment in 1998, a move which ultimately saved them and opened them up to a whole host of other products.
From that moment on Amazon grew exponentially. In 2013 it was officially recognized as the biggest online retailer in the world – and it has only grown and expanded since then. Bezos sold a million shares in that year alone. Since then he has used his billions to start a space program known as Blue Origin, to buy out the Washington Post and to become a shareholder in Google. The key factor in his story is that he has always taken is earnings and re-invested upwards, making him a very rich man indeed.
Jeff Bezos is only 54 years old (in 2018) and is worth an estimated $112 billion. He is the only one of the top 5 richest people to not join the Just Pledge fund; a participation scheme that sees the wealthy donate a portion of their fortune to charity. This summer, however, he did pledge $2 billion to start a scholarship program of his own after asking fans how best he should engage in philanthropic work.