eff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, the world’s largest online shopping retailer. He is listed as the wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $112 billion as of October 27th, 2018. So how did he make his billions? Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico to an upper-middle-class family, Bezos’ mother started working at a young age to support her family. Bezos was gifted with an affinity for computers and programming at an early age. He was also very inquisitive and would always ask “why?” which led him to start exploring how things work. This curiosity drove him to build his own robot by age 12 and take apart washing machines so he could understand how they worked. With his inquisitiveness and drive, Bezos went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University before founding Amazon in 1994 after quitting his job as a Wall Street broker.
The Early Life of Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos was born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was the fourth child of Jacklyn Gise and Ted Jorgensen. His father was an accomplished sailor who took his family sailing frequently. His mother went to college when she was 20 years old and later became a nurse anesthetist. Bezos’ parents were both very young when they had him: his father was just 19 and his mother was 18 years old. They were married for 25 years until they divorced in 1987.
The Bezos family moved to Houston, Texas in the early ’70s before settling into a middle-class neighborhood in Miami, Florida by 1974. In Miami, Bezos attended Palmetto Junior High School and graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1983.
While still in high school, Bezos went to the National Youth Science Camp, an annual science-focused summer camp for talented high school students. It was at the camp that Bezos first developed his love of computers and writing software. He learned to program a Texas Instruments calculator with a friend, and wrote his first computer program at age 15 called “Echo.” The program allowed users to type a word on a computer terminal, which would then be repeated back by the computer via the computer’s speakers. Despite being an early version of what we now know as text messaging, “Echo” was not very popular.
Bezos also attended Princeton University from 1982 – 1986 where he studied electrical engineering and computer science. During his freshman year, Bezos was introduced to the Internet and became the first person to actually buy something on the Internet. Bezos bought a $30 computer manual from a computer store in New York via a 300-baud modem connection.
After graduating from Princeton with honors in 1986, Bezos was offered jobs at Intel, Bell Labs, and Andersen Consulting but he turned them all down to pursue his dreams of entrepreneurship.
Amazon’s Success Story
With a $300,000 investment, Bezos started Amazon.com in his garage with the goal of providing a place for people to buy books online. He was only planning to sell books but decided he wanted to sell everything under the sun after seeing how successful the company’s book sales were. The company grew quickly and in 1995, it was able to move out of Bezos’ garage and into a real office space. In 1996, Amazon went public and became listed on NASDAQ as AMZN.
In 1997, Bezos had an idea for another new business model after hearing about the popularity of websites that sold collectibles such as Beanie Babies (www.Ty.com). This new idea was called “Auctions”. It was the first e-commerce company to allow sellers to list their products for sale and to be able to choose the price at which they would sell them. The company grew quickly and in 1998, Bezos diversified Amazon even more with the launch of a new website called www.Zshops.com that sold items from small businesses and entrepreneurs.
In 1999, Bezos decided to take on another new venture by launching an online bookstore in the UK called www.Amazon.co.uk. The website became so popular that it started to outsell its US counterpart within just a few months of being launched including all book categories except for children’s books and textbooks.
In 2000, Bezos launched yet another new business model when he created www.Amazon.com.cn in China which allowed Chinese customers to buy and sell products on the website (Amazon, 2015).
In 2001, Bezos created a new business model called www.Amazonmarketplace.com which was a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to sell their products on Amazon.
By 2003, Amazon had become the biggest online book retailer in the world and had expanded into other product categories such as CDs, DVDs, Toys & Games, Electronics & Computers as well as Clothing & Accessories (Amazon, 2015).
In 2004, Bezos launched an online payment service called www.PayDotCom.com that was later renamed www.PaySwarm.com (Amazon, 2015).
In 2005, Bezos launched his own publishing company called www.AmazonEncore.com and in 2006, he launched a new platform for independent booksellers called www.Abebooks.com (Amazon, 2015).
In 2007, Bezos launched yet another new business model called www.ZShops.com which allowed third-party sellers to sell their products on Amazon’s website (Amazon, 2015).
In 2008, Bezos acquired Audible Inc., an online audiobook retailer for $300 million, and in 2009 Amazon began selling music downloads through its website as well as physical CDs & vinyl records (Amazon, 2015).
In 2011, Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet which was the first Kindle with a color screen and also allowed users to download movies and TV shows directly to their device (Amazon, 2015).
In 2012, Amazon launched its own Appstore for Android mobile devices, and in 2014 Amazon announced a new feature called ‘Firefly’ which allows users to scan real-world objects and have them identified by the device’s camera (Amazon, 2015).
The Amazon Kindle is a series of e-readers designed and marketed by Amazon. It is capable of accessing the Kindle Store to download e-books, magazines, and newspapers. The hardware platform, developed by Amazon subsidiary Lab126, began as a single device in 2007 and now comprises a range of devices including e-readers with E Ink electronic paper displays; Android-based tablets with color screens; Fire tablets with color screens and Kindle applications on all major computing platforms. All Kindle devices integrate with Kindle Store content, and as of March 2018, the store has over six million e-books available in the United States.
The Amazon Way
The Kindle was launched on November 19, 2007, by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and sold out in five and a half hours. The device remained out of stock for five months until late April 2008. The device features a 6-inch (diagonal) 4-level grayscale E Ink display, with 250 MB of internal storage, which can hold approximately 200 non-illustrated titles. It also has a speaker and a headphone jack that allows the user to listen to audio files on Kindle. Amazon’s official estimate for the battery life is up to two months of reading half an hour a day with the wireless off and constant Wi-Fi usage.
In March 2011, Amazon announced the Kindle DX (with larger screen size) and the Kindle DX Graphite (which was available in graphite or white). The DX Graphite was to be available in 100 countries, while the DX was to be available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. The DX included a larger screen size and built-in speakers, with the battery lasting for seven days instead of two weeks. The Amazon Kindle DX was made available in July 2011 for US$130.
In January 2012, Amazon announced that the device would be available in white for $189 and black for $139, with a shipping date of early March.
In March 2012, Amazon announced an international version of the Kindle DX with the same features as the U.S.-only version but with additional international wireless connectivity. This model was made available in over 100 countries and was released in April 2012 for $220. It has a 7-inch screen size and includes both Wi-Fi and 3G wireless capabilities (although 3G is not available in all markets). The Kindle DX international version is not offered at the $189 price found in the U.S.
In September 2014, Amazon announced that its latest generation Kindle DX would have a free 3G connection via AT&T for one year, via a special SIM they would include with the device. After the year of free service, customers can pay a monthly fee to keep this connection.
What can we learn from Jeff Bezos and his company?
Bezos has always had a strong desire to create his own path and not be pigeonholed into a certain career path. He started Amazon because he wanted to explore the potential of the internet. He saw that e-commerce would soon take off and wanted to be ahead of the curve, so he started a company that sold books online. Many people thought that it would not work because it was hard to imagine buying books online, but Bezos proved them wrong. He saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.
He also did not let failure stand in his way. When Amazon lost money in its first two years, many people told Bezos to quit while he was ahead, but Bezos pressed on and turned Amazon into a multi-billion dollar company. He was not afraid to fail because he believed that the only way to succeed was to take risks and try new things.
Jeff Bezos is also very humble and has a continuous desire to learn and improve. He believes that the only way to succeed in business is by keeping an open mind and not being afraid of failure.
Bezos started Amazon when many people were still skeptical about buying books online. But he believed in his idea, so he did not let other people’s opinions stop him from pursuing his dream of starting an internet company. Since its inception, Amazon has become a multi-billion dollar company and continues to grow every year. Bezos’ vision for the future of Amazon was spot on, and he has been able to make Amazon into a profitable company.
As an entrepreneur, Bezos has shown that he is not afraid to fail, that he is willing to take risks, and that he is always striving to learn more and improve.
He has also shown that his company will do whatever it takes to win. Amazon was willing to lose money in order to gain a big market share in the online book-selling industry. After Amazon became successful, it did not rest on its laurels. It kept developing new products and services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), which became a multi-billion dollar business in itself.
Amazon’s continued growth is proof of Bezos’ ability as an entrepreneur. He has proven that he is a risk-taker, that he is willing to take calculated risks, and that he is willing to fail in order to succeed.
As an entrepreneur, Bezos has shown that he stands out from the crowd. He has shown that he can see the big picture and make things happen.
Jeff Bezos’ story of success shows that you do not need to follow a traditional career path in order to live your dreams. You do not need to go to college or graduate school in order to be successful.
Final Thoughts on How Did Jeff Bezos Get Rich?
Bezos’ story also shows us that success is not limited by age or by experience. He was able to achieve his dreams of starting his own company because he was willing to take risks and because he had the vision to see what others could not.
Bezos’ story also shows us that success is not limited by gender. If a man can do it, so can a woman. Women have all of the same opportunities as men do, and we need to be willing to take advantage of those opportunities.
Amazon’s continued growth is proof that Bezos is an excellent entrepreneur. He has proven that he is a risk-taker, that he is willing to take calculated risks, and that he is willing to fail in order to succeed. His success shows us that entrepreneurship can be a very rewarding career choice.
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