Amazon.com was founded in 1994 and began as an online bookstore. However, nowadays it is the world’s biggest bookstore, and if things keep going as they are going it is probably going to be the world’s biggest store. The company is also one of the fastest growing in history. This company’s market capitalization, according to Forbes, is $292.6 billion and it has over 200,000 employees. But who is behind the foundation of this company?
Jeffrey Preston Bezos, born January 12th, 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At 53 years old he is one of the richest person in United States. He grew up with his mother and a stepfather, he considers his stepfather like a father and until today he has no interest in meeting his biological father. As a kid, he was always inclined to science fairs, science fiction, math, so he was pretty much classified as a “nerd”. At 10 years old, he was in love with computers and spent most of his time building and creating science projects in his garage for example alarm clocks, solar cookers and many other things. By 1982 his family moved to Miami, Florida and he attended the local high school there. In high school he always had a science project going on, he took all advanced courses he could and he never got a grade less than an A, he was also in the honors society. He was very liked by his classmates and known as the person that was always laughing. That same year, Jeff Bezos, decided to attend to Princeton University and wanted to pursue a degree on Physics. However, his second year he decided he wanted to change his major to electrical engineering and computer science.
Timing for Jeff Bezos couldn’t been better since at the time he graduated, the computer business was booming and new and faster computers were being developed in the United States. His first job was in FITEL, an international financial trading company, in New York. He later in 1990 joined DE Shaw & Co, a New York investment firm where he was in charge to look for new computer related business opportunities. In two years he was promoted to senior vice president. He had a crush on his assistant, Mackenzie Tuttle, started dating her and got married with her 9 months later on September 4th, 1993. The next year Jeff was working on his computer like usual and saw a study that he calls a ‘wake up call’ since the study said that the internet was growing at a rate of 2300% a year. Jeffrey Bezos wanted to become a retail pioneer and was looking for a product he could be selling, until he decided he will start selling books online. After explaining to his parents what internet was and his idea he got them to borrow him $300,000 so he could get started.
In July 4th, 1994, he decided to move to Seattle with his wife. While he was on his way there he started to build his plan and there he decided he was going to name the company Amazon.com because he thought it suggested great selection. He started Amazon.com in his garage. In June, 1995 the first website was ready to be tested for Amazon.com, it was a simple site because that was the main idea. The next month the website was opened to the public and within days and only publicity from word of mouth, they had orders from all over the world. Jeff Bezos calls himself the ‘most surprised person on the planet’ since he never expected to get that many orders so quick. In 1996 Amazon moved from Bezos garage to bigger headquarters, as well as started to build distribution centers in Seattle, Delaware and Nevada in order to keep up with the demand. Sales grew from about $500,000 in 1995 to roughly $15 million in 1996 for Amazon.com!
In 1997 Barnes & Noble announced that they were going online and suddenly Amazon.com had competition. Although the critics thought Amazon was over, since Barnes & Nobles was a book selling giant, Barnes&Nobles.com was never able to outsell Amazon.com. By the end of 1998, Amazon’s sales were better than ever and they were able to beat their competition, Barnes & Nobles. Amazon was now ready to keep on growing.
In 3 years, Bezos build a new website and made it the largest book store in the world. By 1998, he started his new goal which was to build the world’s biggest store. Since then Amazon now sales more than 18 million new products. From CDs, to toys, to yu-gi-oh cards! They’ve also expanded by investing in other websites, for example drugstory.com. Bezos always focused on providing top quality customer service, he sees that as part of his plan to change the retail business in general and not only make a profit for amazon.com. Jeff wants Amazon to be known so strongly as a customer centric company so other companies also follow his example. By the end of 1999 the media singled out Bezos as a symbol for the whole internet revolution. Bezos family were still getting used to the idea of him being a celebrity.
Jeff Bezos in those years, was the guy they called to interview whenever the media needed to talk about any internet related topic. He is an expert in the field and also a very entertaining person, he is always laughing and just wants to have fun. When Martha Stuart wanted to learn more about online shopping he chose Bezos as a guide. He is seen as a very appealing person and likes to be seen as a regular guy. Jeff Bezos is also loved by his employees, he is always interacting with them, making jokes to them, laughing and cheering. He is always appearing to be having the time of his life. According to people that have always known Jeff Bezos, he hasn’t changed at all since he became a billionaire. They ask him, ‘how is being a billionaire different’ and his answer would be, ‘the only way it is different, is that now I don’t look at prices on the menu items’ and just laughs and keeps on acting the same way he always has.
After six months of creating Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos could’ve retired a millionaire. He had many offers for Amazon, millions of dollars offer for it, so he could of just sell amazon and live the life of a millionaire, but he decided he wanted to make history with his company, which he is doing now a days. At the end of 1999 Amazon grew 90% in only 3 months! However, if anything, things are not getting easier for Bezos but harder. Competition is only getting tougher and that is keeping him hyped up in improving and accomplishing his goals. Jeff Bezos claims he is not worried about competition, he says, because the internet is big, even bigger than most people imagine and that there is room for a lot of winners including Amazon.
Jeffrey Preston Bezos came out to explore the new world of the internet in 1994, when it was something new. Was he lucky, as some people say, or a visionary? He created a company that revolutionized the retail business. He says his bigger motivator is ‘other people counting on him’ so he claims it is easier for him to be motivated today than when he started in his garage. Is this just the beginning for Jeff Bezos? Is he ever going to accomplish his goal and retire? No one will ever know and I think that is what I think is exciting about him. Non stop innovating is key and the reason amazon.com has not stopped growing. From selling only books to becoming the biggest online retail business, amazon now offers almost anything you can imagine. From streaming movies or TV series, to even planning your wedding! Jeff Bezos is revolutionary in the retail industry and in my opinion will keep on improving and Amazon will remain leading the way for a long time.
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