Jeff Bezos is a figure that has marked modern entrepreneurship.
When talking about entrepreneurship in the contemporary world, one of the figures that have made our world of consumption a completely different place cannot be left out. We are talking about Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world to date, and who arouses hatred and love throughout the world for his wealth, his dominant position in the market, the enormous inequality that exists today and from which he benefits, but also for being an entrepreneur who has become a model for many and a case studies worth analyzing.
Jeff Bezos Short Biography
His full name is Jeffrey Prestos Bezos. He was born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His first name was Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, but he changed his last name to Bezos, when his stepfather, Cuban Miguel Bezos, adopted him.
Jeffrey Bezos studied at the River Oaks School and later graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
After Bezos graduated from Princeton University in 1986, he was offered jobs at Intel, Bell Labs, and Andersen Consulting, among others.
He first worked at Fitel, a fintech telecommunications startup, where he was tasked with building a network for international trade. Bezos was promoted to head of development and director of customer service thereafter.
He then moved into the banking industry when he became a product manager at Bankers Trust. He worked there from 1988 to 1990.
He then joined DE Shaw & Co, a newly founded hedge fund with a strong emphasis on mathematical modeling in 1990 and worked there until 1994. Bezos became DE Shaw’s fourth senior vice president at the age of 30.
In 1992, Bezos was working for DE Shaw in Manhattan when he met novelist MacKenzie Tuttle, a research associate at the firm; the couple married a year later. In 1994, they moved from Seattle to Washington, where Bezos founded Amazon. Bezos and his now-ex-wife MacKenzie are the parents of four children: three sons and a daughter adopted from China.
In March 2003, Bezos was one of three passengers on a helicopter that crashed in West Texas after the rear of the plane hit a tree. Bezos suffered minor injuries and was released from a local hospital the same day.
In 2016, Bezos played a Starfleet officer in the film Star Trek Beyond, joining the cast and crew at a San Diego Comic-Con screening. He had lobbied Paramount for the part and to give Alexa, the AI personal assistant created by Amazon, the role of a single-line voice recognition response to an alien in distress.
In his initial discussion of the project that became Alexa with his technical advisor Greg Hart in 2011, Bezos told him the goal was to create “the Star Trek computer.”
On January 9, 2019, Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announced on Twitter their intention to divorce after a “long period” of separation. On April 4, 2019, the divorce was finalized, with Bezos holding 75% of the couple’s Amazon stock and MacKenzie getting the remaining 25% ($35.6 billion) in Amazon stock. However, Bezos would retain all of the couple’s voting rights within the company.
After the divorce from Jeff Bezos, Mackenzie Bezos became the richest woman in the world. Mackenzie Bezos’s net worth is estimated at more than $35 billion. Unlike her ex-husband, Ella Mackenzie has shown a much more favorable attitude towards philanthropy and has pledged to donate half of her wealth.
Jeff Bezos’s current partner is Lauren Sanchez, an American news anchor, entertainment reporter, media personality, actress, producer, pilot, and Emmy Award-winning entrepreneur.
On February 7, 2019, Bezos posted an essay online in which he accused American Media, Inc. owner David Pecker of “extortion and blackmail” for threatening to post intimate photos of Bezos and Lauren Sanchez if he didn’t stop. his investigation into how his text messages and other photos had been leaked to the National Enquirer.
Where does Jeff Bezos live?
Bezos was listed as the 25th largest landowner in the US in the 2019 Land Report.
In addition to this new property in Los Angeles, he was known to own a penthouse and two adjoining apartments in New York City, another property in an upscale suburb of Seattle, two more mansions in Beverly Hills, the largest house in Washington DC and property in Texas. It is unknown if and how these properties were divided in his recent divorce from Mackenzie Bezos.
Business Insider reports that Jeff Bezos is living in Medina, Washington in 2020.
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon on July 5, 1994 in Bellevue, Washington, a company listed on Nasdaq under the symbol AMZN.
The company has a value of 810,000 million dollars, being today the most valuable company in the world and with revenues of 232,887 billion US dollars.
Initially, the company did not have that name. Its first names were Cadabra and Relentless, but his friends told him that these names sounded a little sinister, so Bezos changed the name to Amazon in 1995. Bezos was inspired by the Amazon region for being a large place and having the river biggest in the world. Jeff wanted his online store to be the largest in the world.
Amazon has developed various niche markets, from television to online storage. By 2015 Bezos was the fifth richest person in the world and in 2017 he was the richest man in the world, with 40,000 million dollars more than Bill Gates, the second on the list.
The rise of Amazon
In 1994, Jeff Bezos thought he had missed out on the Internet business boom, so he decided to start a process called the “minimization of regret framework” in his efforts to offset the regret he felt for not having invested in the Internet sooner. the commercial rise of the internet. Therefore, he founded Cadabra.com, a virtual bookstore that was officially opened on July 16, 1995.
Jeff Bezos’s parents contributed a lot to this project, supporting it financially from the beginning.
Jeff seemed to understand that the internet was going to become massive very soon, so he devised a complete catalog of books, in which the various compilations from multiple publishers were compiled. The public could buy the books directly from the page, after seeing the catalog.
The company began to become known worldwide in 1997, when it began to register higher sales and demonstrate that e-commerce was a profitable business alternative, even more so than offline forms of business.
As the company grew, Jeff Bezos began to venture into other items of commerce for his website, from toys, DVDs, clothes, food, etc. The company wanted to have everything on its portal, things from A to Z.
On November 19, 2007, the first Kindle, or electronic book reader, was launched, which would revolutionize the way we approach books and served as a launch gate to the market for tablets and books in epub format, which can easily read on smartphones and tablets.
Since 2009 the firm has experienced spectacular growth, being the fastest growing company on Nasdaq for the last decade.
Today the company’s services include:
Amazon opened its first physical store on December 5, 2016, betting on being one of the largest retail companies in the entire United States. Now the company is betting on the automation of its sales and the dispatch of its inventories, which means less use of labor and greater robotization in the framework of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Amazon has reported that it will invest nearly 700 million dollars in the retraining of its employees.
Writer Richard L. Brandt wrote about Amazon in his book One Click, Jeff Bezos, and the Rise of Amazon: “Amazon’s secret is surprisingly simple: making the online shopping process so easy that customers don’t even know it. think twice.
All you have to do is press a button to purchase a product: in this way, any book, CD, video game, appliance or whatever you want to buy is just a click away.
Much of Amazon’s success can be attributed to Jeff Bezos, its CEO and founder, whose unique combination of vision, leadership skills, and business strategy have led Amazon to become the biggest and best online store on the planet.”
Without a doubt, Jeff Bezos has contributed to building a new type of society and his company has given a boost to e-commerce like no other. Perhaps without the audacity of Bezos and without Amazon today we would not have such a vast, gigantic and varied digital commerce system, since it has been the success of his company that has motivated others to follow his example and try to take advantage of the Internet as a space for the sale and distribution of real estate.
The example of Amazon was followed by Alibaba (1999), eBay (almost at the same time as the birth of Amazon) and a whole legion of entrepreneurs who today are trying to make a living on the net through dropshipping platforms such as Shopify and AliExpress.
The public image of Jeff Bezos
Journalist Nellie Bowles of The New York Times has described Bezos’s public image and personality as that of “a brilliant but mysterious and cold-blooded corporate titan” .
During the 1990s, Bezos earned a reputation for relentlessly boosting Amazon, often at the expense of public charity and social welfare.
His business practices projected a public image of prudence and parsimony with his own wealth and that of Amazon. Bezos was a billionaire who hung his clothes on a rack in his Amazon headquarters office and drove a 1996 Honda Accord.
In the early 2000s, Bezos was perceived as geeky or nerdy.
Bezos was seen by some as unnecessarily quantitative and data-driven.
Alan Deutschman detailed this perception, describing him as “talking in lists” and “[listing] the criteria, in order of importance, for each decision he has made”.
A few select accounts of his personality have generated controversy and public attention. Notably, journalist Brad Stone wrote an unauthorized book depicting Bezos as both a demanding and hyper-competitive boss.
Bezos has been characterized as a notoriously opportunistic CEO who operates with little concern for roadblocks and externalities.
In the early 2010s, Bezos solidified his reputation for aggressive business practices, and his public image began to change.
Bezos began wearing tailored clothing; he trained with weights, followed a regimented diet and began spending his money freely.
Bezos’ physical transformation has been compared to Amazon’s transformation; it is often referred to as the company’s metonym.
His physical appearance increased the public’s perception of him as a symbolically dominant figure in business and popular culture, where he has been parodied as an entrepreneurial supervillain.
Since 2017, Kyle Mooney and Steve Carell have portrayed him on Saturday Night Live, usually as a domineering and undermining figure.
Bezos eats exotic foods, like octopus and grilled iguana. In May 2014, the International Trade Union Confederation named Bezos the “worst boss in the world”, with its general secretary Sharan Burrow saying: “Jeff Bezos represents the inhumanity of employers who promote the American corporate model”.
In the late 2010s, Bezos reversed his reputation for being reluctant to spend money on non-business expenses.
His relative lack of philanthropy compared to other billionaires has drawn a negative response from the public since 2016.
Bezos has been known to publicly dispute claims made in critical articles, as exemplified in 2015 when he sent a memo to employees denouncing a New York Times article.
Bezos once used what he called a “regret minimization framework” while working at DE Shaw and again during Amazon’s early years.
He described this philosophy of life by stating: “ When I am 80 years old, will I regret leaving Wall Street? No. Will I regret missing the beginning of the Internet? Yes «.
During the 1990s and early 2000s at Amazon, he was characterized by trying to quantify every aspect of running the company, often listing employees on spreadsheets and basing executive decisions on data.
To propel Amazon forward, Bezos developed the “Get Big Fast” mantra, which spoke to the company’s need to scale its operations and establish market dominance.
Bezos was in favor of diverting profits from Amazon to the company instead of distributing them to shareholders in the form of dividends.
Bezos uses the term “work-life harmony” instead of the more common work-life balance because he believes that balance implies that you can have one of the two and not both.
He believes that work and home life are interconnected, informing and calibrating each other.
Journalist Walt Mossberg dubbed the idea that someone who can’t tolerate criticism or attacks shouldn’t do anything new or interesting, “The Bezos Principle.”
Bezos doesn’t schedule meetings early in the morning and enforces a two-pizza rule, a preference for meetings to be small enough that two pizzas can feed everyone in the boardroom.
In interviewing candidates for jobs at Amazon, Bezos has stated that he considers three questions: can he admire the person he’s going to hire, can he raise the common bar, and under what circumstances could he be exemplary?
Bezos meets with Amazon investors for a total of just six hours a year.
Instead of using PowerPoints, Bezos requires senior employees to present information with six-page narratives.
Starting in 1998, Bezos publishes an annual letter to Amazon shareholders in which he frequently refers to five principles: focus on customers, not competitors, take risks for market leadership, facilitate staff morale, build a company culture and empower people.
Bezos maintains the email address “email@example.com ” as a means for customers to communicate with him and the company.
Although he doesn’t respond to emails, he forwards some of them with a question mark in the subject line to executives trying to address the issues. Bezos has cited Warren Buffett (of Berkshire Hathaway), Jamie Dimon (of JPMorgan Chase), and Bob Iger (of Walt Disney) as major influences on his leadership style.
Criticism of Jeff Bezos
The billionaire has been criticized by US President Donald Trump for paying too little or not at all in taxes.
It is also criticized that it is their fault that offline retail markets face unfair competition since they pay much more taxes than the technology giant.
Lately, it has been said that Amazon is a monopoly in the retail market and that the company should be forced to split up as Standard Oil once was when it dominated the oil market in the United States. The same criticism is leveled at companies like Google and Facebook, as their hegemony is seen as hampering innovation and greater efficiency on the internet.
The writer James Bloodworth, who went undercover at Amazon, once noted that the company’s employees had to sleep in tents outside the company since the salaries were not enough for them to rent a house.
Jeff Bezos was also considered the worst boss in the world in 2014, a title given to him by the International Confederation of Trade Unions, after conducting surveys of more than 20,000 people.
Jeff Bezos has obviously contributed to making e-commerce much more popular, while at the same time he has contributed greatly to the latest developments in automation and the integration of the physical world with the digital. However, the criticisms leveled against it cannot be ignored in order to make a fair and balanced balance. Future technology companies will have to learn both from the successes and the mistakes of Jeff Bezos in order to build more dynamic economies with a more humanistic sense.
What is the fortune of Jeff Bezos?
Bezos has a fortune estimated at 200.5 billion dollars according to Forbes Magazine, which places him in the number one position among the richest people on the planet. The registration of this estimate was made in the month of June 2021. By this same date, Jeff Bezos was the CEO of Amazon and had control of 11.1% of the company’s shares.
Forbes magazine highlighted that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, between March and April 2020, Bezos’s company, Amazon, had hired an additional 175,000 workers.
Bezos owns The Washington Post newspaper and Blue Origin, an aerospace company that is developing shuttles for mass and commercial use.
How much money does Bezos make per hour?
Per hour, Bezos earns a staggering $8,961,187 million, roughly 315 times Amazon’s median annual salary of $28,466 per worker.
An Amazon worker earning the $15 minimum wage would need to work about 597,412 hours, or 24 hours a day for about 68 years, just to earn what Bezos earns in an hour.
Bezos’ hourly rate is equivalent to $180,353 per minute.
To put things into perspective, Bezos earns more than three times what the average American worker earns in a year in one minute: $45,552, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In one second, Bezos also earns more than double what the average American worker earns in a week: $2,489 compared to $876, respectively.
The coronavirus crisis and Jeff Bezos’ net worth
In the midst of the coronavirus crisis in 2020, the fortunes of the millionaires on the Forbes list were shaken by major movements and Jeff Bezos has been the person who has benefited the most.
The American millionaire saw his wealth grow by an estimated more than $40 billion in a year after massive demand for online shopping sent Amazon’s share price soaring to a new all-time high.
Argentine newspaper Infobae reported that: Jeff Bezos net worth has surpassed its previous all-time high, even after giving up a quarter of his stake in Amazon following last year’s divorce settlement with ex-wife Mackenzie Bezos.
Amazon has been on a roll during the global coronavirus crisis; the pandemic has accelerated changes and has led to greater integration of the internet in global retail. Bezos owns 11% of the company’s shares, which represents the majority of his fortune.
In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, awareness of economic inequality has become relevant again and has placed Jeff Bezos as one of the people who is at the center of the economic debate due to his immense fortune. The economy has largely shrunk, but big fortunes like Bezos’ have grown, fueled mostly by e-commerce. The Russian news network RT reported a series of protests in July 2020 in front of Bezos’s penthouse, with the intention of drawing attention to the small amount of money that the great millionaires pay in taxes.
As of the date of this report, Amazon shares were trading at $3,486, after having reached an all-time high of $3,531 in September 2020.
Resignation as CEO of Amazon
On February 2, 2021, Jeff Bezos announced to the media that he would be resigning from his position as CEO of Amazon. According to Jeff Bezos himself, the decision would take effect in the third quarter of 2021. To replace him as director of the company, executive Andy Jassy would arrive, who by February 2021 was the director of Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing division. of the tech giant.
In inquiries made by the media, Jeff Bezos replied that as of the date indicated he would become the executive president of the Amazon board of directors.
Although you might think that Jeff Bezos was retiring, the reality is that the decision to resign from his CEO role only reflects his intention to focus on other priorities.
The BBC in London highlighted, quoting Bezos himself, that he “has never had more energy and that this is not about a retirement.” He himself pointed out that he was super excited about the impact that these organizations can have, referring to Amazon.
The announcement of the retirement of Jeff Bezos coincided with the announcement by the Amazon company of having achieved a new sales record, reaching a quarterly record of 100,000 million dollars for the first time. At the time of his retirement, Bezos was considered by Forbes magazine to be the richest person in the world, closely followed by Tesla millionaire Elon Musk. Amazon’s sales growth in the last quarter of 2020 coincided with the second wave of coronavirus infections in the United States and Europe, which drove the preference of customers for online purchases, as a way to avoid contacting staff in traditional retail stores.
Due to his work as an entrepreneur and businessman, Jeff Bezos has received numerous awards. Some of them are:
In 1999, Bezos received the biggest accolade of his career when Time magazine named him Person of the Year.
For the year 2008, he was selected by US News & World Report as one of the best leaders in the United States.
Bezos received an honorary doctorate in science and technology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.
In 2011, the British magazine The Economist gave Bezos and Gregg Zher an innovation award for the development of Amazon’s Kindle device.
Fortune magazine recognized Jeff Bezos as the business person of the year in 2012.
Jeff Bezos is also one of the most recognized members of the Bilderberg Group. He attended the 2011 St Moritz Bilderberg conference in Switzerland and the 2013 Watford conference in England.
During the years 2014 to 2018, Bezos was selected as the best CEO in the world by the prestigious magazine Harvard Business Review.
For the year 2015, Bezos was also selected as one of the 50 greatest leaders in the world by Fortune magazine. For three consecutive years, he has been included in this ranking.
In 2018, Bezos received the Axel Springer Award in Germany for Business Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Time magazine has recognized Bezos as one of the 100 most influential people in the world on five different occasions between 2008 and 2018.
Political positions and participation in politics of Jeff Bezos
According to political campaign finance records, Jeff Bezos has supported the election campaigns of Patricia and Maria Cantwell, two Democratic senators from Washington. He also endorsed Rep. John Conyers, as well as Sens. Patrick Leahy and Spencer Abraham, two political figures who have been at the center of internet control debates.
In 2012, Bezos contributed more than $2.5 million to the Washington United for Marriage movement, a group of activists for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Bezos donated $100,000 toward a movement opposing the state income tax on Washington’s wealthiest in 2010. In 2010, Bezos donated to the Political Action Committee (PAC), an organization that gave money received from Bezos $56,000 and $74,500 to Democrats and Republicans, respectively.
After the 2016 presidential election, Jeff Bezos was invited to join President Trump’s Defense Innovation advisory board, an advisory council to the Department of Defense. Trump repeatedly accused Bezos on Twitter of avoiding paying corporate taxes and gaining undue political influence, as well as undermining his presidency by spreading “fake news.”
Some political controversies
In 2014, Amazon won a $600 million cloud computing contract from the CIA. By 2018, it was noted that a $10 billion contract, this time with the Pentagon, had been specifically designed to favor Amazon. The controversy over this latest contract came to the fore when General James Mattis accepted an invitation to Amazon headquarters on a tour led by Bezos himself.
Come 2019, when the accusations of corruption in the Pentagon and Amazon contract became public, the new contract was awarded to Microsoft.
Despite Jeff Bezos’ public support for open border policies toward immigrants, Amazon actively worked to develop facial recognition software that was sold to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, something that was heavily criticized. by groups defending the rights of the migrant population.
One of the controversies Jeff Bezos was embroiled in was when a political action committee linked the mogul to an unsuccessful attempt, with more than a million dollars in funding, to defeat activist Kshama Sawant in a council election. municipal of the city of Seattle. Sawant is an economist of Indian origin who has campaigned for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and for higher taxes on the richest people in the United States, two initiatives that Jeff Bezos has openly opposed.
Although Jeff Bezos has not been a very active spokesman for philanthropy, and although his philanthropic work has been criticized for being too little, the reality is that it has not been non-existent or of little impact. Bezos has donated money to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on several occasions between 2009 and 2017. In 2013, he pledged to donate $500,000 to Worldreader, an organization founded by a former Amazon employee and dedicated to promoting access free and free to digital bookstores and books in Epub format.
Controversies over the philanthropic work of Jeff Bezos
In 2018, Business Insider reported that Bezos was the only one of the top 5 global billionaires who had not signed the Giving Pledge, promoted by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The Millionaire Pledge seeks to have large fortunes donated to charity during the lifetime of these philanthropists. In September of that same year, Janet Camarena, director of transparency initiatives at the Foundation Center, was quoted by CNBC asking several questions related to the Day 1 Fund. The Day 1 Fund is an annual awards program given by Jeff Bezos to charities. Camarena’s questions and concerns were related to the structure of the fund, its financing and its transparency.
In February 2020, amid growing questions about the environmental impact of e-commerce companies, Jeff Bezos announced his commitment to donate $10 billion to combat climate change. The commitment was made through the Bezos Land Fund. At the end of 2020, in November, Bezos announced donations of 791 million dollars to established and widely recognized groups for their struggles in defense of the environment, each group receiving 100 million dollars. In April 2020, at the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, Bezos donated $100 million to food banks in the United States through Feeding America.
Jeff Bezos Quotes
Finally, two phrases from Bezos to delve a little deeper into his thinking:
“Electronic commerce will be a vast sector in which numerous companies will succeed at the same time with different strategies. There is room here not for ten or a hundred companies, but for thousands or tens of thousands of companies.”
“If you are not stubborn, you will give up on your own experiments before your time. And if you’re not flexible, you won’t see a solution other than the problem you’re trying to solve.