Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, is a billionaire who’s had an amazing life and career.
Today, his “Everything Store” sells nearly $US80 billion worth of goods per year.
Unfamiliar with Bezos’ story?
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
Jeff Bezos' mum, Jackie, was a teenager when she had him in January 1964. She had recently married Cuban immigrant Mike Bezos, who adopted Jeff. Jeff didn't learn that Mike wasn't his real father until he was ten, but says he was more fazed about learning he needed to get glasses than he was about the news.
His grandfather, Preston Gise, was a huge inspiration for Bezos, and helped kindle his passion for intellectual pursuits. At a commencement address in 2010, Bezos said that Gise taught him that 'it's harder to be kind than clever.'
Growing up, Bezos loved Star Trek, watching re-runs after school almost every day. Early on, he thought about calling Amazon MakeItSo.com in reference to a famous line from Star Trek.
He eventually went to college at Princeton and majored in computer science. Upon graduation, he turned down job offers from Intel and Bell Labs to join a startup called Fitel.
After Fitel, he got a job at Bankers Trust, and eventually at hedge fund firm D.E. Shaw. He became a senior vice president after only four years.
He eventually married MacKenzie Tuttle, a D.E. Shaw a research associate, in 1993. She's now a novelist.
'When you are in the thick of things, you can get confused by small stuff,' he said later. 'I knew when I was eighty that I would never, for example, think about why I walked away from my 1994 Wall Street bonus right in the middle of the year at the worst possible time. That kind of thing just isn't something you worry about when you're eighty years old. At the same time, I knew that I might sincerely regret not having participated in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a revolutionizing event. When I thought about it that way… it was incredibly easy to make the decision.'
Jeff Bezos was a demanding boss and could explode at employees. Rumour has it, he hired a leadership coach to help him tone it down.