THE saying goes that we all have to start somewhere – and for Jeff Bezos, that “somewhere” was a stuffy garage in 1994.
Three decades later, he is the richest person on the planet and is responsible for creating one of the world’s most successful business empires.
However, 27 years after he first presented Amazon to the masses, Bezos today revealed he is stepping down as the company’s CEO .
His departure couldn’t have been timed any more perfectly, as the online retailer reported a blowout holiday quarter with profits more than doubling to $7.2billion.
Before embarking on his entrepreunearial adventure in 1994, he had a stable job at a hedge fund.
But, much to his family and former employer’s surprise, that wasn’t quite enough for Bezos.
He stumbled upon what now seems to be a relatively simple idea: an online bookshop.
However, in 1994, that couldn’t have been a more alien concept – especially when most people didn’t know what the internet was.
In a letter to employees, he wrote: “The question I was asked most frequently at the time was, ‘what’s the internet?'”
Reminiscing on his bold move to jump from a comfortable job to the complete unknown, he said in an interview on Indian television: “I wanted not to have regrets.
“I knew for a fact, I have this idea, and if I don't try, I'm going to regret having never tried.”
He had humble beginnings, his mom was a teenager when she gave birth to him Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 12, 1964.
She remarried when Bezos was four and he was legally adopted by his Cuban immigrant stepfather who worked as an engineer at a petrochemical company.
“My dad came here from Cuba all by himself without speaking English when he was 16 years old, and has been kicking ass ever since,” Bezos said in a Father’s Day tweet.
With a generous investment from his parents, Bezos left his job at D.E Shaw and founded Amazon after he wrote his business plan on a cross-country drive from New York City to Seattle.
Five years after he took his leap of faith, Bezos was listed as Time magazine’s person of the year and in 1998 he landed on the Forbes rich list.
Amazon was transformed from an online bookstore to an e-commerce giant that sells everything from the latest tech to paperclips.
Following the company’s monumental success, Bezos announced that he would transition to executive chair and hand over the job of chief executive to Andy Jassy, who heads the cloud computing unit AWS.
Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy
“This journey began some 27 years ago,” Bezos said in a letter to Amazon employees.
“As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition,” he wrote.
“I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have,” he wrote.
The record revenues for its core Christmas quarter saw the company exceed $100billion for the first time with help from the coronavirus pandemic .
Amazon is now worth $1.6trillion and the main man is estimated to be worth an estimated $200billion and is well on his way to becoming the world’s first trillionaire.
Bezos said Amazon’s latest results showed it was the right time to make the transition.
The businessman turned philanthropist said he will stay engaged in important Amazon projects but will also have more time to focus on his environmental charity – the Bezos Earth Fund.
As well as Amazon the tech giant is the founder of Blue Origin, a company working to develop commercial space travel.
He also owns the Washington Post and is a volunteer firefighter.
The dad-of-four made headlines in 2019 after he gave his wife of 25 years a quarter of his stake in Amazon in a divorce settlement.
It was alleged that he was having an affair with his now girlfriend, Lauren Wendy Sanchez.
Mackenzie Scott got 4 percent of the company’s stock – making her the second richest woman in the world, behind L’Oreal heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers.
She has however seized the philanthropic spotlight by pledging to give away the majority of her wealth to social causes, starting with nearly $6 billion last year to a variety of organizations chosen with the help of advisors.
It was claimed in 2019 that Bezos was secretly seeing the Emmy award-winning news anchor, Sanchez.
The question I was asked most frequently at the time was, ‘what’s the internet?’
Sources told The New York Post that Bezos and Sanchez got to know each other through her husband Patrick Whitesell.
He is an agent to stars including Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Kevin Costner and Hugh Jackman.
Whitesell and Sanchez split in the autumn of 2018 and she grew close to Bezos after coming to work for his space company Blue Origin.
She is thought to have begun an affair with Bezos during this time, which came to light when Bezos accused the National Enquirer of blackmailing him in an infamous blog post last February.
It is also believed Bezos made his divorce announcement from wife MacKenzie believing that photos of himself and Sanchez could soon be made public.
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In February 2019, Bezos outed them in response to ‘blackmail’ from The National Enquirer.
Sanchez then came clean with her husband and the pair finalised their divorce in September 2019.
In his parting letter to staff, he offered this advice: “Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy.”
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