Jeff Bezos has carved his name in the global business world with humongous success across diverse sectors. The Amazon founder and CEO who briefly became the richest person in the world recently when his net worth sped past that of Bill Gates began his entrepreneurial journey when he was still in high school. Apparently, Bezos started showing the first signs of being a problem solver and a go-getter early on in his life when as a toddler he successfully ripped apart his crib by using a screwdriver just because he wished to sleep on a real bed.
In June this year, the current second richest person on earth took to twitter seeking ideas for a philanthropic strategy that would “be helping people in the here and now – short term – at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.” It was a welcome change to see that an entrepreneur of his stature was seeking public’s help to figure out how to give away some his fortune that he has accumulated over the years.
Here’s how Bezos grew on to become the world-class entrepreneur that we know today.
First Business: Bezos first venture was a summer camp for fourth, fifth and sixth graders called the Dream Institute. He started the business while in high school.
Education and First Job: The New Mexico born and Miami raised boy did his Bachelor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University in 1986. Upon graduating from the place, Bezos got job offers from top firms like Intel and Bell labs, but instead of lapping up these lucrative offers, he decided to walk on a less trodden path and took up a job at a startup named Fitel.
From First Job to Last: After starting his first job at Fitel, Bezos worked at a couple of companies for a short while before becoming hedge fund D.E. Shaw’s youngest Vice President in 1990. Within four years of graduating, Bezos had achieved the mean feat of becoming a VP of a popular hedge fund.
How the Amazon Journey Started: When Bezos was still working at the Wall Street, internet and its insane potential caught his attention. He did his homework and realised that the World Wide Web was growing at an insane rate of 2,300 per cent in a year in 1994, a figure which only moved upwards in the coming years. The figure tempted him to research 20 possible product categories which would have a universal need online and decided upon books. He eventually quite his promising job at Wall Street in 1994 to pursue his entrepreneurial calibre and started on a journey what we today call as Amazon.
Initial Years Of Amazon: The journey of global ecommerce superpower Amazon started 23 years ago in a garage as a book selling company. Since the company didn’t have much space to itself, it held most of its meetings at a Barnes & Noble nearby the garage. Initially, the company had a ritual where every time someone made a purchase a bell would ring, and everyone would gather around to see if anyone personally knew the customer who had made the purchase. After just a few weeks, the bell was ringing so often that they had to stop the ritual. Eventually, the company grew and Bezos launched Amazon.com in 1995.
First Taste of Success for Amazon.com: Within a month of its launch, Amazon was selling books to people in all 50 US states and in 45 countries around the world. The company then grew to become public in 1997 and is continuing its success story even today. After going public, the current biggest ecommerce company on the planet started expanding its business from being just books specific to other categories such as electronics etc., a move which worked wonders for the company.
Amazon’s Continues its Success Journey: Recently, a panel of venture capitalists at the recent Silicon Dragon event in New York City picked Amazon as a leader in the list of companies that would be leading tomorrow’s tech landscape. The panel’s decision to pick Amazon to lead tomorrow’s tech landscape didn’t surprise many as Amazon’s recent decision to buy Whole Foods Market Inc., a 465-store chain selling natural and organic groceries, for a jaw-dropping $13.7 billion, including net debt gave us a preview of what the global e-commerce giant is capable of doing.
According to David Teten, managing partner of HOF Capital, the one-time online book seller has assets that no other company can come close to even touching. Erik Lassila, managing partner of Peakview Capital, who also voted Amazon as the future tech leader also added that Amazon is not only helping to solve the problem of handling the last mile of deliveries, but the company is also into drones.
Amazon and India: In the past four years that Amazon has been India, it has made it quite clear that the Indian subcontinent is its most important market outside the US. This is mainly due to the fact that it lost out on a chance to make a mark in China courtesy its homegrown e-commerce giant Alibaba driving it out of its country. This is why the online retail giant turned to Asia-Pacific’s fastest-growing e-commerce market, India.
If one would think rationally, one would observe that even though Flipkart is currently number one in Indian e-commerce market, it is Amazon which has a broader ecosystem in the country when it comes to the various ways people interact with it. For instance, Flipkart has nothing to offer to compete with Amazon’s Prime Video service. This is not to say that Flipkart has never tried. The homegrown giant did launch a music download service with its digital store Flyte a few years ago but ended up shutting it down within a year of its operations.
Amazon had recently announced that it would continue its investment streak in the Indian subcontinent in expanding infrastructure and bringing in innovative solutions to better consumer and seller experience as it aims to overthrow Indian e-commerce leader Flipkart from its throne and become the number one e-commerce website in the South Asian country.
Bezos’ Ventures Aside From Amazon: Jeff was one of the first persons to see Google’s potential and invest in it in 1998. Two years later in 2000, he started his spaceflight company Blue Origin which aims to help anybody go into space. Two months ago, Bezos announced his plans to sell $1 billion worth of stock in the e-commerce giant every year in order to help Blue Origin stay competitive with Elon Musk’s SpaceX as the two companies continue with their efforts of pioneering privatised space transportation, both for the tourism and commercial industries. In 2013, he purchased The Washington Post for a whooping $250m. Bezos purchased the popular 140-years old newspaper when it was facing years of decline. Within three years of him purchasing the newspaper, Bezos changed the fortunes and outlook of the company and it is now a profitable company.