Updated on 29 June 2020
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The 12th of January marks the birthday of entrepreneur, philanthropist, father of ecommerce and all-around visionary Jeff Bezos. The world knows him best for taking a small online bookstore and transforming it into the retail giant we know today as Amazon.
However, that’s just one of the achievements under Mr. Bezos’ belt. For instance, in 2020 NASA partnered up with Blue Origin - and a handful of other companies - for their 2024 lunar landing within the Artemis program. Another example is The Washington Post newspaper, which has been a part of the Bezos empire since 2013. On top of that, the Amazon founder manages a plethora of other business investments via the Bezos Expeditions venture capital fund.
How did Jeff Bezos start Amazon?
You’re now probably wondering: how did Jeff Bezos start his journey into the untamed and unforgiving business landscape of the 90’s? Was it all smooth sailing? Or did he constantly have to learn how to navigate the treacherous waters of the retail industry that caused the rise and fall of so many other giants before him?
For one thing, the Jeff Bezos story isn’t of the classical “brilliant high-school dropout with a dream takes over the world” variety. It would have zero elements from the rags to riches narrative too, if not for the time he spent as a McDonald’s line cook in high school. In fact, young Jeff graduated as a valedictorian and set himself up on a steady path to success by pursuing a higher education at Princeton. He finished college with an academic degree in Computer Science and a second one in Electrical Engineering.
The year is now 1990 and Bezos enters a highly lucrative career at D. E. Shaw & Co, a hedge fund where he would ascend to the position of 4th Senior VP by ‘94. Incidentally, this is also where he would meet aspiring novelist MacKenzie Tuttle, whom he marries in 1993. MacKenzie played an instrumental role in getting Amazon off the ground in the early days. Following their divorce in 2019, she got 25% of the Amazon stock, with an estimated value of $35,6 billion.
How old was Jeff Bezos when he started Amazon?
It’s July 1994, and he is only 30 when the nascent form of the retail giant is unleashed upon the world as a timid, garage-based online bookstore. However, as they move towards a diversification of the consumer goods and web services, Bezos warns investors about the high potential of failure.
His greatest fears come to pass, and Amazon walks the tightrope of bankruptcy in 2002. Amazon narrowly avoids financial disaster and succeeds, thanks to Jeff Bezos’ assiduous management and discipline, in becoming the world’s largest retailer and cloud infrastructure provider.
If you’re curious, check out our Amazon history timeline for more insights about the company.
Jeff Bezos divorce
The more recent years are a time of controversy for Bezos, but we can also notice a dramatic increase of his involvement in philanthropy. From 2017 onwards, he donated billions of dollars to combat homelessness and the disastrous effects of climate change, as well as support education and the freedom of press.
2019 marks a turning point in Jeff’s love life, as he makes the first public appearance side by side with his newfound romantic interest, award winning news anchor and media personality, Lauren Sanchez. The couple is off to a rough start, as their relationship is marred by accusations of blackmail and extortion, but Bezos doesn’t strike us as the kind of person who scares easily.
What does the future have in store for the man who built a retail empire around a tiny Seattle bookstore? Analysts estimate that by 2026 he will likely become the world’s first honest-to-god trillionaire – watch out, Bill Gates – and we know that his eyes are set on space exploration, so we can’t wait to find out!
About the Jeff Bezos timeline
The Jeff Bezos biography was created with Office Timeline Pro, a powerful and easy to use timeline maker, and you can download the Jeff Bezos timeline slide free of charge. The PPTX file is fully customizable, so you can install the Pro Edition free trial and add any major milestones you think we missed! Start using it to create beautiful graphics like project roadmaps or swimlane diagrams with no restrictions, or give the free version a shot, for less complex applications.
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