A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY ON JEFF BEZOS

Quick Facts:

  • Gender: Male
  • Birthdate: January 12, 1964
  • You probably know him because: he started Amazon.com

Bezos, Jeffrey Preston : (01/12/1964- ) Jeff Bezos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico to a 17-year-old mother. His father, Miguel Bezos, married his mother in 1968. Miguel was a petroleum engineer from Cuba. At the age of 3, Jeff was found talking apart his crib with a screwdriver. Jeff's grandfather was a retired Atomic Energy Comission manager. If it weren't for his grandfather, Jeff would never have dreamed of becoming an astronaut or physicist at the age of 14.

Jeff frequently built science projects that sat in the garage. His milestone project was an Infinity Cube, which he built when he was 14 years old. The cube was a set of motorized mirrors that let the user stare into infinity. Another thing he tried to build when he was 14 was a hovercraft. He attempted to create the craft out of a vacuum cleaner, but was unsuccesful. When he was around 14 or 15, Jeff's family moved to Miami.

Jeff went to Princeton in the early 1980s. He focused on electrical engineering and computer science. He graduated with a computer science degree in 1986. After he graduated, Jeff worked for a fiber optics company for a while. After moving to Banker's Trust, he created many financial applications. When working at an investment firm, he fell in love with his assistant, and they got married.

Jeff decided he would start a Web-based retail store when he found out the Internet was growing at a rate of 2,300% a year. He made a list of 20 things he thought would sell well on the Internet. They included:

  • books
  • music
  • magazines
  • computer hardware
  • computer software

He decided that his store would sell books, since there was no "real" store that could sell all the books in the world. Jeff's mom and stepdad gave him $300,000 in 1994, to start his store out of his garage. The store was named Amazon.com, and was open to the public in July of 1995. Orders started coming in within 30 days. By 1997, Amazon.com was the world's biggest bookstore.

In December of 1999, Time magazine named Jeff Bezos the Person of the Year, and the King of CyberCommerce. Unfortunately, as has been happening with many dot-coms, Amazon.com's stock started a steady decline in late 1999. When it first went public, it was trading at $18. In April and December of 1999, it was trading at approximately $110. But now, it varies between $5 and $10. People are asking if Jeff Bezos is really a visionary, or if he just got lucky...

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