Born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jeff Bezos is a son of Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen and Ted Jorgensen. His biological father left the family and his mother married a Cuban immigrant Mike Bezos when Jeff was four years old.
Even as a young kid, Jeff was obsessed with technical sides of things and was always experimenting in a family which he turned into a laboratory. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Miami, where he attended high school. While there, Bezos started his first business, Dream Institute. It was a summer camp for fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
After high school, Bezos enrolled at Princeton University, where he studied computer science and electrical engineering. He graduated in 1986 summa cum laude. He immediately found a job on Wall Street, where he worked for several companies, including Fitel, Bankers Trust and the investment firm D.E. Shaw.
While working at D.E. Shaw, he met his future wife, MacKenzie Tuttle. Jeff became the youngest vice president in the history of the company in 1990. They got married in 1993. They have four children together — three sons and a daughter adopted from China.
In 1994, Bezos made a move that will transform his life. He quit his job and moved to Seattle, deciding to try his luck in the emerging world of e-commerce. The idea was to open an online book store. He set up the operation in a garage and hired a few employees to help him create software for a new company. 300 of his friends were his beta testers and satisfied with the result, July 16, 1995, Bezos started Amazon.com
Within the first 30 days, Amazon was selling books not only across the United States but in 45 countries worldwide. In 60 days, the sales reached $20,000 a week, expanding much faster than Bezos could have anticipated. In 1997, the company went public, amidst fears how it will cope with the competition when traditional booksellers start their Internet stores.
In 1998, Bezos diversified Amazon, starting to sell CD’s and videos. Later came clothes, toys, and electronics. He survived the dot com bubble burst, and by 2011, annual sales reached $17 billion, from $510,000 in 1995. Amazon was an undisputed global e-commerce leader.
Determined to keep reinventing his company, Bezos launched Kindle in 2007. In the same year, Bezos invested heavily into Blue Origin, a company that develops technologies to offer space travel to paying customers from Seattle.
In 2013, Bezos announced that he had acquired The Washington Post for $250 million.
In a letter to his new employees, Bezos said: “The values of The Post do not need changing. …There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about—government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports—and working backward from there. I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention”.
Jeff Bezos became the richest man on the planet in July 2017, but for a brief period, since Bill Gates took over from him quickly. Jeff Bezos net worth was estimated at $150 billion in July 2018, allowing him to firmly grab the first place among the wealthiest people in the world.
Jeff Bezos net worth at the moment is $131 billion, still enough to be the wealthiest person on the planet, even after his divorce in 2019. The divorce came after The National Enquirer published a story about the affair Jeff Bezos had with television host Lauren Sanchez. The separation didn’t chip his fortune much since his wife agreed to let him keep all shares in The Washington Post, Blue Origin and voting rights and 75% of their common shares at Amazon.