Our Digital Heroes: Jeff Bezos

Our Digital Heroes brings you one tech-savvy icon every month to love, hate, and learn from. This month we talk about Jeff Bezos.

Kardelen ÇelikContent Editor

December 8, 2021
4min read

What does Jeff Bezos do with his wealth? Has he really stepped down as Amazon CEO? We take you through a snapshot of the life and times of the great Jeff Bezos.

In late 1993, the world saw the beginnings of what would become Amazon, when Bezos decided to establish an online bookstore. He left his job at D. E. Shaw and founded Amazon in his garage on July 5, 1994, drawing up the business plan during a road trip from New York to Seattle. Before deciding on Seattle as the origin city for Amazon, Bezos investigated setting up his company on an Indian reservation near San Francisco to avoid paying taxes.

Before “Amazon” was coined, Bezos named his new company Cadabra. The name was later changed to Amazon after the Amazon River in South America, and because the name begins with the letter A, the first letter of the English alphabet.

True to the attitude of our other digital transformation junkies within the retail sector, Bezos’s vision had always been about taking advantage of a new platform and new tools to change shopping itself. Bezos always had a vision to create a marketplace that reaches beyond Long before he launched the company, he had dreams of making Amazon.com “broader than books and music” – a point reinforced this past Christmas season by his move into gift sales and by his December move to offer Amazon.com customers goods from other retailers.

In 1998, Bezos diversified into the online sale of music and video, and by the end of the year he had expanded the company’s products to include a variety of other consumer goods.

At the start of the 2000s, Bezos took on 130,000 new employees when he ramped up hiring at company distribution centers. By January 19, 2018, his Amazon stock holdings had appreciated to slightly over $109 billion. On February 1, 2018, Amazon reported its highest ever profit with quarterly earnings of $2 billion.

On July 27, 2017, Bezos momentarily became the world’s wealthiest person over Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates when his estimated net worth increased to just over $90 billion. His wealth surpassed $100 billion for the first time on November 24, 2017, and he was formally designated the wealthiest person in the world by Forbes on March 6, 2018, with a net worth of $112 billion.

Amazon recently announced that CEO Jeff Bezos will step down from his role in the third quarter of 2021.

Bezos wannounced that Andy Jassy, the current CEO of Amazon Web Services, will replace him. Bezos said he’ll transition to Executive Chair of the Amazon Board to focus on new products and early initiatives.

“As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition,” he wrote. “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else.”

After Bezos graduated from Princeton University in 1986, he was offered jobs at Intel, Bell Labs, and Andersen Consulting.

In May 2016, Bezos sold slightly more than one million shares of his holdings in the company for $671 million, the largest sum he had ever raised from selling some of his Amazon stock

He accepted an estimated $300,000 from his parents and invested in Amazon.

He described this life philosophy by stating: “When I’m 80, am I going to regret leaving Wall Street? No. Will I regret missing the beginning of the Internet? Yes.”

In September 2018, Business Insider reported that Bezos was the only one of the top five billionaires in the world who had not signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that encourages wealthy people to give away a majority of their wealth.

Sources: WikipediaForbesWiredBritannicaBusiness Insider