Most people believe a leader is either born or made. When it comes to Jeffrey Bezos, I believe it is a combination of the two. Bezos, founder of Amazon. com, was born into a family full of extraordinary people. Jeffrey’s step-father was a petroleum engineer and his grandfather was the manager of the Atomic Energy Commission’s operations office (Bezos, Ebsco). During his childhood, Jeff was intrigued by his surroundings, often finding ways to alter or enhance everyday items. The people and experiences throughout Bezos’ life have helped him become the successful CEO he is today.
Jeff Bezos, born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, was born on January 12, 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After his parents split up, his mother raised him until he was two years old. In 1966, Miguel Bezos came into the picture. After his mother remarried, Jeff was legally adopted and took Miguel’s last name. (Bezos, Ebsco) Since a young age, Jeffrey Bezos has been intrigued by the way things work. At three years old, Jeff took a screwdriver to his crib, disassembling it into multiple parts. This trend continued when later down the road he built a burglar alarm with an electronic kit his grandfather had given him (Bezos, Encycl).
Bezos’ grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise, played a big part in who Jeff is today (Bezos, Ebsco). From age four to sixteen, Jeff would spend the summers living on his grandfather’s ranch in Cotulla, Texas (Brandt). Here, Jeff’s grandfather put him to work doing jobs such as fixing windmills and repairing pumps. Bezos’ grandfather used his background in working on space technology and missile defense systems to help spark Jeff’s interest in similar things (Bezos, Ebsco). But this was just the beginning. At age eight, Jeff was enrolled in a gifted program at his elementary school in Houston, Texas.
Jeff used his intelligence to wow teachers with his knowledge of computers. While none of the teachers even knew how to use a computer, Jeff and some of his friends had managed to program one. A local author by the name of Julie Ray took interest in Bezos and featured him in her book, Turning on Bright Minds: A Parent Looks at Gifted Children in Texas. (Bezos, Ebsco) In 1978, Miguel Bezos was transferred to Miami, Florida where Jeff’s fascination with space began. Jeff went to Palmetto High School where he was already thinking out of the box for his time.
Bezos hoped to one day become an astronaut on a shuttle that would take passengers from earth into outer space. (Bezos, Ebsco) Bezos graduated from Palmetto High School in 1982 where he was class valedictorian. Along with this honor, he received recognition from the Miami Herald for his academic excellence by winning the Silver Knight Award. Upon graduating high school, Bezos began running his own business with his then girlfriend before heading off to college. Jeff spent the summer establishing an educational summer camp for children. Bezos, Ebsco) In the fall of 1982, Jeff began studying at Princeton University in New Jersey. He graduated summa cum laude in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (Bezos, Ebsco). After graduation, there were many opportunities awaiting Jeffrey Bezos. He proceeded to go to New York to work for Fitel, a company that allowed him to build a worldwide communications network for financial trading (Bezos, Encycl. ). Two years later, while Fitel was struggling, Bezos accepted a job with Bankers Trust Corporation.
This new job opportunity allowed him to develop software applications for the company’s pension fund clients. Jeffrey moved among the rankings quickly at Bankers Trust; within 10 months he became the company’s youngest vice-president (Bezos, Ebsco). But shortly after, Bezos realized this company was not for him. The next move would prove important in Bezos’ path to becoming an up and coming entrepreneur. In 1990, Jeffrey Bezos was hired by Wall Street financial trading company, D. E. Shaw. Bezos’ duties at D. E. Shaw included looking for new investment opportunities in areas such as insurance, software, and internet.
In 1992, Bezos proved he was capable of his role by securing “one of the most successful qualitative funds on Wall Street”. He was promoted to senior vice-president shortly after. (Bezos, Ebsco) While researching for new business opportunities in the internet sector, Bezos came across some data that would help him in his decision to develop Amazon. com. According to these numbers, the internet was growing at an exceedingly fast rate. Jeffrey decided it was a good time for his next big step. He quit his job in 1994 at D. E. Shaw and prepared to venture into the world of online retail. Bezos, Ebsco) Jeffrey Bezos began by looking into what products could be sold successfully in the online retail market. He composed a list and determined that books would be the best choice. Bezos told Karen Southwick in October of 1996 that “there are 1. 5 million Eng lish-language books in print at any given time. If you take all languages worldwide, it’s about 3 million books active and in print. ” Bezos knew from his computer background that an online sorting and organizing database to purchase books would catch on. (Bezos, Ebsco) Jeffrey and his wife Mackenzie packed up and headed for the west coast.
Jeffrey chose to start his new conquest in Seattle, Washington. Seattle offered a large number of skilled workers and was located by the largest book distributing company in the United States (Bezos, Ebsco). After experimenting with different names, Bezos decided to name the company Amazon after the world’s largest river (Bezos, Encycl. ). Using money from investors, his savings, and his parents, Bezos launched Amazon. com in July of 1995 from his garage in Seattle. At the close of the first month, it is said that Bezos had received orders from customers in all fifty states.
The large quantity of books available on the database as well as the new features available on the site enticed many customers. (Bezos, Ebsco) Bezos and his colleagues established features that would change internet shopping forever. Amazon was the first of its kind to offer one click-shopping, customer reviews, and e-mail order verification (Hoover’s). Bezos’ main focus of the site was customer satisfaction. Along with these new additions to the site, Amazon was also one of the first companies to encrypt credit card numbers, ensuring safe shopping for their customers (Bezos, Credo).
Jeff Bezos helped familiarize the public with on-line shopping, and it quickly became as popular as a trip to the mall (Bezos, Ebsco). After attracting 3 million customers, Bezos decided to take Amazon public in 1997. Jeffrey Bezos quickly became one of the first internet billionaires (Bezos, Credo). In 1998, Amazon broadened their inventory and began selling new products in order to gain new customers. Along with books, Amazon. com began offering CDs, videos, electronics, clothing, toys, and games to its millions of customers worldwide (Bezos, Ebsco). In 1999, Amazon. om hit a huge milestone when its sales crossed the billion-dollar mark. During this same year, Jeffrey Bezos was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (Bezos, Ebsco). What once started as a small company in Bezos’ garage in Seattle had turned into the “world’s biggest everything store”. In 2000, Amazon. com teamed up with ToysRUs. com to launch a co-branded toy and video game store. However, this new partnership would not last long. Over the next few years, Amazon would dabble in an array of products. In 2002, Bezos began offering clothing sales from large retail stores such as the Gap, Nordstrom, and Land’s End.
A few years later, in 2006, Amazon. com dabbled in online dry groceries. A year later the company began offering a fresh delivery service for the Seattle area. (Hoovers) In 2007, Amazon expanded once again. Bezos introduced Amazon’s new electronic portable reader, the Kindle. By 2011, Amazon announced that they sell more e-books than printed books. Along with new items such as the Kindle, Amazon began offering products and services such as self-publishing, online advertising, e-commerce platform, hosting, and a co-branded credit card. (Hoovers) Today, Amazon. om has five international websites for Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The company has an estimated 20 million customers in 160 countries across the world (Bezos, Credo). According to Hoover’s Quick Report, Amazon. com employs 56,200 employees as of 2011 at all of their sites. Amazon’s efficient operating model has allowed it to succeed despite downward pressure on prices. Offering low prices to their customers has been a key success to Amazon’s business strategy (Hoovers). As a Business Management major, there are many things one can learn from looking at Jeffrey Bezos’ life.
He saw a business opportunity and did everything he could to make it work. Starting off in his garage in Seattle, Bezos turned Amazon. com into the world’s largest online store. Despite the many years of not turning profit, Bezos managed to make Amazon. com into the company it is today. By focusing on customer service, Jeffrey Bezos was able to appeal to new customers and keep the current ones satisfied. Works Cited Bezos, Jeff (1964-). (2010). In The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. om/entry/heliconhe/bezos_jeff_1964 Bezos, Jeff. (2003). In Capstone Encyclopedia of Business. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. com/entry/capstonebus/bezos_jeff Bezos, Jeff. (2004, Jan 1). Leaders of Information Age (Bio Ref Bank. Brandt, R. L. (2011, Oct 15). REVIEW — Birth of a Salesman — Behind the Rise of Jeff Bezos and Amazon: Richard L. Brandt on the Founder’s Texas Roots, the Sites Chaotic Early Days, Why Negative Reviews are Allowed and the Increasing Use of Personalized Data. Wall Street Journal, pp. C. 1. -C. 1. http://search. proquest. com/docview/898391472? accountid=2837
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