Updated on July 25, 2022
Jeffrey Preston Bezos, commonly known as Jeff Bezos, is an American entrepreneur with quite an intriguing biography, who played a vital role in the development of e-commerce as the founder of the online retail giant Amazon. Under his direction, Amazon.com grew from a small web bookstore into the largest retailer on the Internet and a model for conducting online sales.
However, that’s just one of the achievements under Mr. Bezos’ belt. For instance, in 2020, NASA partnered up with Bezos’ Blue Origin – and a handful of other companies – for their 2024 lunar landing within the Artemis program. Another example is the famous publication The Washington Post, 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.
For those who’d like to know the story of the controversial entrepreneur, we have created the Jeff Bezos Timeline, which depicts important milestones regarding his personal life, education, career, and charity initiatives. Below the timeline, you’ll also find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Jeff Bezos – just in case you’d like to dig deeper into his biography.
The Jeff Bezos biography: a timeline
- 1964, January 12: Jeff Bezos is born
- 1978: Enrolls at Miami Palmetto High School
- 1982: Graduates from high school as valedictorian
- 1986: Electrical engineering & computer science degrees from Princeton (Summa Cum Laude)
- 1988: Is hired as product manager as Bankers Trust
- 1993: Jeff Bezos marries novelist Mackenzie Tuttle
- 1994, July 14: Founds Amazon as an online bookstore, which, as we know now, will turn out to be the most important milestone on Jeff Bezos’ timeline
- 1994, August 23: Moves to Seattle
- 1997: Takes Amazon public
- 1998: Diversifies Amazon’s product range
- 1999: Named “Person of the Year” by TIME Magazine
- 2000: Jeff Bezos founds Blue Origin
- 2003: Helicopter crash in West Texas
- 2008: Honorary doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University
- 2013: Secures contract with CIA
- 2013, January: Pledges $500,000 to Worldreader
- 2013, August: Purchases Washington Post
- 2014: Ranked as best-performing CEO by Harvard Business Review
- 2016: Stars in Star Trek Beyond
- 2017: Gives $1 million to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
- 2017: Becomes the world’s richest person
- 2018, January: Donates $33 million to TheDream.US
- 2018, September: Pledges $2 billion to Day 1 Families & Day 1 Academies
- 2019, January 12: Jeff Bezos’ 55th birthday
- 2019, March: Saudi hacking accusation
- 2019, April 3: Divorces McKenzie
- 2019, July 13: 1st public appearance with his new life partner, Lauren Sanchez
- 2020, February: Bezos pledges $10 billion for combating climate change through his Earth Fund
- 2020, April: Donates $100 million to Feeding America
- 2021, July 5: Steps down as Amazon CEO
- 2021, September: Co-founds Altos Labs
- 2021, November: Donates $100 million to the Obama Foundation
- 2021: Loses the title of wealthiest person in the world to Elon Musk
Frequently asked questions about Jeff Bezos’ life
The Jeff Bezos timeline can give you a glimpse into the life of the American investor. If you’re curious to find out more, check out our answers to the most common questions about Jeff Bezos’ life and career.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon in 1994 from his garage in Bellevue, WA, where he, together with his wife and very first employees, started working on the software for the website after giving up his job at a hedge fund firm. The young entrepreneur decided to initially launch Amazon as an online bookstore, but he had big plans for the site right from the start, wishing to expand to other products and envisioning his site as a way to overhaul online transactions. To find out more about the company’s history and evolution, check out our Amazon history timeline.
As of 2022, Bezos has been with Amazon for 28 years. Even though the Jeff Bezos timeline shows he stepped down as CEO in 2021, that doesn’t mean he is not involved in the company anymore. He is still the largest shareholder, and his new job title within the company is “Executive Chairman”.
Bezos is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico – this is where he was born in 1964. However, he’s spent a lot of his early life in Houston and, as a teenager, he moved to Miami with his family, where he developed his fascination with computers and graduated high school as valedictorian.
Bezos wasn’t born in a rich family. His mother was 17 years old when she gave birth to him, while his father was 18. With money from their parents, the couple went to Mexico to get married before the baby was born. Bezos’ biological father worked at a retail store, while his mother was a high school student when he was born and later worked as a bank teller.
When Jeff was 4 years old, his mother remarried, taking Miquel (Mike) Bezos as husband, who adopted young Jeff. Mike worked his way through college and then began working as an engineer at Exxon.
Jeff Bezos got his first job as a fry cook at McDonalds, when he was just 16 years old. He earned just $2.69 per hour back then. When he graduated from Princeton, he got a job at a fintech communications company named Fitel, where he was responsible for developing a network for global trade.
It might be difficult to pinpoint exactly when Jeff Bezos first got rich, since this wasn’t something that happened overnight. Bezos was quite successful even before his startup, when he was senior VP at the D. E. Shaw investment firm, but he truly began gaining wealth in 1997, after Amazon went public – the founder raised $54 million through the IPO then, which made him a millionaire for the first time.
The famous entrepreneur held the title of wealthiest person in the world from 2017 up until recently, as you can see on the Jeff Bezos timeline above. But how did he get so rich?
Well, as many probably already assume, the success of Amazon.com was – and still is – the main “culprit”. After taking the company public, Bezos still held stock in Amazon. As the company grew bigger and bigger, people kept buying Amazon shares, raising the stock price and market cap. Even after stepping down as CEO, the founder still owns around 11% of Amazon shares, which represent a major portion of his wealth.
There are 2 ways to calculate how much Jeff Bezos makes a day – either based on annual income (salary + additional compensation) or as changes in net worth.
– Money/day calculations based on income. Since 1998, Bezos had a base salary of around $81,1840. Besides this rather modest salary, other compensations such as business travel expenses or founder’s security add up to a much bigger $1.6 million, which means Bezos’ annual income is around $1.7m. If you break this down into days, it means Jeff Bezos makes $4,700 per day.
– Money/day calculations based on net worth. According to Insider, Bezos’ net worth dropped by $64bn in 2022, which means that, over the last 6 months, he lost $10bn per month, which is a loss of approximately $391 million / day in terms of net worth. Still, he is currently worth $127bn, which, divided by the number of days per year, results in a net worth of $347m a day in 2022.
The Amazon founder was the one to hold this title for 5 years in a row but, if you take a quick look at the Jeff Bezos timeline above, you’ll see he dropped to the second place in 2022. As of July 2022, Elon Musk is the no. 1 richest person in the world, with a net worth of $230.8 billion.
Every Jeff Bezos biography describes the American investor as founder of Amazon, which has been publicly owned for years, with Bezos being the largest shareholder. However, Bezos owns companies in various industries, including media and even aerospace. Many of these ventures have been acquired by Amazon, but some are the result of direct investments from the renowned entrepreneur. Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, Blue Origin, Altos Labs, and, through Bezos Expeditions, has significant stakes in ventures like Uber, Airbnb, Basecamp, Domo, and Stack Overflow.
Yes, the founder of Amazon does donate to a variety of charities and causes, although maybe not as much as Bill Gates. Between 2009 and 2017, he donated several times to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center. Although the more recent years are a time of controversy for the entrepreneur, we can also notice a dramatic increase in 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 to support education and the freedom of press.
For more specific examples of organizations and causes the investor has donated to, take a look at the “Charity” lane on the Jeff Bezos Timeline at the top of the page.
Novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott was Jeff Bezos’ wife from 1993 to 2019. The two met at the D.E. Shaw investment firm back in 1992, where she worked as Bezos’ assistant. After their 2019 divorce, MacKenzie married (and later divorced) science teacher Dan Jewett, while Jeff has yet to tie the knot again. The new woman in Jeff Bezos’ life is entertainment reporter Lauren Sánchez, who is alleged to have had a relationship with him starting 2018, when he was still married.
Jeff Bezos currently lives in the exclusive Medina neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, very close to Amazon’s headquarters. He owns there a 29,000 sq-foot property which he has called “home” since the late ’90s. Bezos lives relatively close to Bill Gates and several high-level Microsoft execs, who all own properties in this safe haven for the 1%.
With that amount of wealth, who wouldn’t wonder what it’s like to live Jeff Bezos’ life or at least get a glimpse at what he does with all that money? Well, let’s see how the founder of Amazon spends his fortune:
– Investments in a multitude of companies;
– Real estate – Bezos owns property all across the US; besides his home base in Medina, Seattle, he owns property in Washington D.C., in Beverly Hills, in New York City, and in Manhattan;
– A private jet;
– Expensive gadgets;
– A newspaper – Bezos allegedly bought The Washington Post for no other reason but to save it from extinction;
– His very own space travel company;
– Divorce – although this is not something one goes through regularly, Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie’s divorce has to be on this list, since the couple made history with the world’s most expensive settlement of all time.
About the Jeff Bezos timeline
The Jeff Bezos biography was created with Office Timeline, a powerful and easy to use timeline maker that plugs right into Microsoft PowerPoint. The Jeff Bezos timeline slide can be downloaded free of charge and it is fully customizable, so you can edit it directly in PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can install the free trial of Office Timeline Pro+ to update it faster and easily add any major milestones you think we might have missed! The timeline maker even lets you create your own timelines and roadmaps from scratch, all in a matter of minutes.