The richest man in the world who destroyed books. The story of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

How to become a billionaire and the richest man in the world (at least officially)? There is no universal recipe, everyone is looking for his own way, and often even a goal such as “to conquer the world” does not set itself. However, it is only possible to guess what processes are occurring in the head of a person and how he is moved. Jeff Bezos – one of these successful businessmen who built an empire on the sale of books – it all started with this. We will look even further into the past.

Resourceful jeff
After university – immediately as vice-president
The internet rules the world
Amazon’s birth
First half million dollars and billionaire jeff
Irrational stubborn and despot, but successful businessman
Jeff Bezos was born on January 12, 1964, Ted Jørgensen and Jacqueline Jørgensen (Jais) became his parents. The girl at the time of pregnancy was only 16 years old, Ted – 18. At that moment he was not too eager to become a father, earning barely enough for life, besides the guy was fond of alcohol. When little Jeffrey was one and a half years old, the young people decided to go their separate ways.

Ted disappeared for many years, he was not interested in the fate of his son, whom he soon forgot. Only many decades later, in 2012 or 2013, when Jeff became a successful businessman, and Amazon turned into a retail monster, did Ted know what his son had achieved. The man planned to “improve relations” with Jeff, recognizing that he was “not a good father,” but it was hardly interesting for the American billionaire to stir up the past.

Ted Jorgensen in 2013

And the matter is not even in billions: a completely different person has become his real father, who was engaged in raising a boy.

In 1968, Jeff’s mother married Miguel Bezos, an immigrant who arrived from Cuba (they say he ended up in the United States in 1962, knowing only one word in English at the time, hamburger). Miguel adopted 4-year-old Jeff, who received the name of a man who remains close to this day. Adoption took place upon receipt of the consent of Jeff’s biological father, after which Jacqueline finally disappeared from sight.

Once Jeff, just starting his ascent to the Olympus of Internet commerce, said: “My real father is Miguel. I think about who he is only by filling out a form with a doctor. ”

At a very young age, Jeff, like many boys of that time, dreamed of becoming an astronaut: when he was 5 years old, the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched, followed by probably all Americans with a sinking heart. Later, dreams transformed a little, but were still directed into space.

Jeff spent his childhood on his grandfather’s ranch in Texas, where he was busy with the local beast. And it was the grandfather who instilled in the guy an interest in technology and computers: Lawrence Preston Jays before retiring in 1968 served as regional director of the US Atomic Energy Commission, and before that he worked at DARPA, where he worked on the creation of a missile defense system and space technology.

Resourceful jeff

The guy liked to invent new “gizmos”, invent various devices. All this was a part of the game, however – the benefit was the opportunity – many of the devices turned out to be really assembled and even worked. For little Jeff, they bought the so-called Heathkit (sets of electronics and other technological components for enthusiasts), the garage was bursting with all kinds of spare parts “supplied” by grandfather.

It may seem that all the whims of the boy were performed at the first wish, but in reality this was not the case. For example, he was obsessed with a device called the Infinity Cube, which was a gadget with actuators and movable mirrors. The device allowed to look at the “infinity”, but it cost 20 bucks, which in those times was a lot (although the money was kept in the family).

The question was solved simply: the components were much cheaper, and as a result, Jeff assembled his Infinity Cube independently. He acted in a similar way by setting up an alarm for his room to keep Brother Mark and sister Christine away from home, who wanted to play with Jeff’s toys.

A little bit of a lesson, a little ungraceful – they are not much loved in school. Parents tried to help him to adapt among his peers to the best of their ability. It turned out with varying success.

As is customary in the US, while he was still studying, Jeff went to make money. The first place of the summer job was McDonald’s, where he didn’t like it much, although it was interesting to study some automation issues. As it is easy to assume, he upgraded the system to fit his needs (among other things, he built the detector on the readiness of products). And the next year, Jeff and his girlfriend began his first business, having organized the Dream Institute summer camp for younger students. They managed to earn something – with six hundred dollars per person.

In 1982, Jeff successfully graduated from high school in Miami, received the prestigious opportunity to speak at a graduation speech on behalf of the class (the best students are honored with a similar honor in the USA). Then he voiced the dream – to see some day space hotels, parks and colonies outside the Earth. Jeff made the first step towards its realization in 2000, having established Blue Origin.

Jeff’s enrollment followed at Princeton University, where he began to study physics. However, he soon abandoned it in favor of computer disciplines and engineering, laboring as a programmer in the summer. And once again success: the guy received a diploma with a summa cum laude mark, which in North America is achieved by no more than 5% of students.

After university – immediately as vice-president

In 1986, the guy began to search for “adult” work. A graduate of a prestigious university had plenty to choose from, he refused several interesting offers and went to code in a telecommunications startup Fitel, focused on creating the infrastructure for conducting international electronic financial transactions. Two years flew unnoticed, and, being the 11th employee of the company, he grew to the position of head of development, and then director of the client department. True, the startup did not “take off.”

A couple of years Jeff gained experience working as a developer at Bankers Trust and becoming the company’s vice president in 1990. How why? Obviously, not for the beautiful eyes. Moreover, Jeff Bezos was then 26 years old, which made him the youngest top manager in the history of one of the largest US banks of the last century.

At the same time, he was searching for a soul mate, showing one of the unusual traits of character. There is nothing unusual in desire, of course, but the approaches differ: Bezos wanted to meet “a woman who would become a resource for him.” Then hardly anyone could understand Jeff, and he himself did not really want to explain. To find the “one”, he asked friends to arrange for him “blind dates” …

After another job change in 1990, Jeff ended up in the hedge fund DE Shaw, from where, by the way, he left four years later, being already the chief vice president. Here in 1992, he met a girl named Mackenzie – the very soul mate and “woman resource”.

The wedding was not long in coming, and Mackenzie was one of the first to learn about the ambitious plans to create an online bookstore and one of its first employees.

The internet rules the world

The Internet has become an increasingly tangible force. Jeff Bezos’ eyes came across information about the growth of the world wide web by 2300% per year. Much more promising direction, and the “dot-com bubble” was then in its infancy (and the term itself did not exist yet).

The businessman decided to go on an independent voyage: it is better to try and fail than not to try at all. The choice fell on the book for a reason. Jeff liked to read, and the delivery of mail by mail worked so-so: either the conditions were uninteresting, or the book was not there.

And in 1994, he left DE Shaw, moving from New York to Seattle, where the Amazon headquarters was located later.

In 2013, MacKenzie said in an interview: Jeff was extremely passionate about the idea, in his words sounded delight and passion. In this, she supported her husband, experiencing genuine joy. Together they drew up a business plan, while at the same time they were searching for investors for a new enterprise.

Incredibly, but a fact: the first office of the company was the garage of the house that was shot without Bezos. It seems that this is the very ingredient of a technology startup’s success: we need a garage, a couple of talented people, ambitions and some money. So, we recall, there were Microsoft, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and many other companies.

The first Amazon employee to hire in 1994 was programmer Shel Kafan. Very few people remember him, although, apparently, it was he (but not alone) who created the infrastructure on which the multi-billion dollar business was built.

Kafan worked for Bezos for five years, and at first the founder of the company didn’t like the employee who made Amazon possible — he even organized a four-day Maui party in his honor. However, at a certain point, Kathan was not needed: Jeff pushed him into the background, giving the position of technical director to the newcomer. Shel was forced to leave. In his words, when he talks about the times of working at Amazon, it sounds like a resentment: “It was one of the biggest disappointments in my life, it was a betrayal of [my] immense trust.”

Shel Kafan presumably in 2011

A similar fate befell Paul Barton-Davis, who worked on a piece-rate basis from the moment a new American company appeared, and several others. But. First is the business. Secondly, the “dot-com bubble” had a noticeable effect, forcing it to change the existing way of doing business. Yes, and the man Bezos difficult, but briefly about this below.

Amazon’s birth

The software is written, the platform is ready, all the necessary equipment – Sun servers – was placed in two rooms of a rented small house. The name Amazon Jeff Bezos chose thanks to the eponymous river in South America. In the word, as he believed, there is the first and last letters of the alphabet – A and Z, that is, the client will be able to receive any goods.

Prior to this, the company was called Cadabra, but in one of the telephone conversations it was confused with cadaver (“corpse”), so this name had to be abandoned. There was also the option Relentless (“merciless”), the domain still exists and sends users to

The site was launched, testers made 300 friends and acquaintances of the team. Access to from outside for users of the World Wide Web was opened in July 1995.

In order to keep track of sales, a bell was hung in the improvised office, reporting each order received. Soon this incessantly strumming object had to be turned off. A month later, without marketing support, the company traded across the States and carried out orders for buyers from 45 outlets in other countries. A month and a half later, $ 20 thousand a week seemed to the newly minted Internet businessmen with some incredible money.

I had to correct errors in the code on the fly: the project was launched too quickly. One of the most unpleasant was a bug in the shopping cart: because of it, the number of books ordered was indicated with a minus sign, which led to the transfer of money to customer credit cards.

Mackenzie also found a job: she was looking for suppliers, and Barnes & Noble was one of the first, ironically, to not see a competitor in Amazon. It’s in vain, since it was Jeff Bezos’s company that subsequently knocked down the physical book retail, and last but not least, the Barnes & Noble business. By the way, this company launched its website only in 1999.

August 1999

At the start, Bezos, who was very thriving (tables in the “office” were assembled from inexpensive doors), took orders to the post office for shipment on his own 1987 Chevrolet Blazer. And he dreamed: “The moment will come when I can afford to buy a loader.”

First half million dollars and billionaire jeff

At the end of 1995, sales exceeded half a million dollars, which exceeded Jeff’s wildest expectations. And in 1997, Amazon became a public company, although investors were looking at the venture: would the startup withstand the pressure from long-time players in the book market when they launch their own websites? In response, in 1998 the company expanded its product range, adding music, video and other goods to it, adding its own quality control service. About the same time, Google received a quarter-million investment from Bezos (now those 3.3 million shares are valued at $ 3.5 billion).

And in 1999, Jeff Bezos became a billionaire with a fortune of $ 9 billion, and his company was valued at $ 22.1 billion. It would seem that this is the ultimate dream. Only here the business did not bring money! It was only in the fourth quarter of 2001 that a plus was formed – $ 5.1 million of net profit.

Bezos with parents

Of course, there was enough in the history of the company and “cloudy” days. Besides, Jeff Bezos is not an angel at all. In the early years, employees could not stutter on weekends. Trying to keep them at work after hours, Bezos refused to give out travel cards so that no one tried to catch the last bus. According to some reports, he later organized teams that were involved in solving the same tasks for the sake of internal competition. And there are many similar examples, for which the founder of Amazon regularly receives cuffs from journalists, as well as current and former employees.

Irrational stubborn and despot, but successful businessman

“A royal asshole with irrational obstinacy,” a former Amazon worker described the boss. Bezos, of course, did not remain in debt. Suspecting a subordinate that he can not cope with its tasks in the best case, he asked the question: “You’re incompetent or just lazy?” “I do not remember whether I am today pills stupidity accepted”, – he can respond to the mistake and so. “Why are you wasting my time aimlessly?” – similarly sounded after one of the presentations (which God forbid to do in PowerPoint). “Our supply chain will have a boring year, ” Bezos responds to the announced unit plan.

Maybe for this reason no one is left from the original team near Bezos by now. The exception is Nicholas Lovejoy. He joined the company in 1995, left in 1998, returning in 2016 to help develop the transport division. However, this is a completely different person.

Nevertheless, today Amazon has become a corporation that operates on all fronts – from sales to games and film production. The number of its employees exceeds 600 thousand, quarterly profit has exceeded several billion dollars, market capitalization hovers around $ 800 billion (in the autumn of 2018, it for some time amounted to more than a trillion dollars).

Perhaps the new passion of Jeff Bezos – Lauren Sanchez 

Perhaps the new passion of Jeff Bezos – Lauren Sanchez 

present tense

Jeff Bezos, in turn, retains leadership in the list of the richest people in the world, but is preparing to share wealth: just recently it became known that he divorced Mackenzie, who was married for a quarter of a century. Now she has every chance to become the richest woman on the planet.

List of sources: CNN’s , GeekWire , of The the Macro , Memberships Biography , Encyclopedia of Business , CNBC , of The Famous the People , Hongkiat , Quora , MSN to , Business Insider ( 1 , 2 ), of The Stranger , the BGR , of The Mary Sue ‘, Inc. 1 , 2 ), Cult of Mac , Forbes , Silicon Republic , The Sydney Morning Herald , USA Todayof Wired


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