Jeff Bezos


DEFINITION of 'Jeff Bezos'

Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos is the founder of online retail giant Born in 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bezos was raised by his mother and stepfather. One of his earliest entrepreneurial ventures was a children’s education camp that he ran as a teenager with his girlfriend one summer.


Bezos earned his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton in 1986. After graduation, he became one of the first employees at Fitel, which manufactures optical fibers. He later joined Bankers Trust, then left to join a hedge fund where he quickly became senior vice president.

Bezos left the hedge fund in 1994 because he saw the Internet taking off and decided to become part of it. He founded in Seattle that year as an online bookseller. He located the company in Seattle in part because Washington’s small population meant few customers would have to pay sales tax on their purchases since companies did not have to charge sales tax in states where they lacked a physical presence.

The company went public in 1997, and started selling CDs in 1998. Time magazine named him person of the year in 1999. Amazon continued expanding to sell electronics, housewares, apparel and more. It released the Kindle in 2007, the Kindle Fire in 2011, and the Kindle Fire HD in 2012 to directly compete with Apple’s iPad at a significantly lower price point.

Carnegie Mellon University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2008. Bezos is also the owner of Seattle-based Blue Origin, a space exploration company, and bought the Washington Post in 2013. Forbes places him at No. 20 on its list of the world’s billionaires as of 2014, with an estimated net worth of $30.6 billion.

He married wife Mackenzie in 1993, and they have four children.

  1. Warren Buffett

    Known as "the Oracle of Omaha", Buffett is Chairman of Berkshire ...
  2. Jim Walton

    Jim Walton is the third and youngest son of Walmart founder Sam ...
  3. Billionaire

    An individual who has assets or a net worth of at least one billion ...
  4. Dotcom Bubble

    An rapid rise in equity markets fueled by investments in internet-based ...
  5. Internet Bubble

    A rapid rise in equity markets caused by speculation into online-based ...
  6. Forbes 500

    An annual ranking list of the top 500 U.S. companies. The list ...
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Warren Buffett: The Road To Riches

    Find out how he went from selling soft drinks to buying up companies and making billions of dollars.
  2. Fundamental Analysis

    How To Value An Internet Stock

    An academic study, published several years after the peak of the dot-com bubble in March 2000, accurately described just how whacky internet valuations grew until the bubble burst. The study's ...
  3. Investing News

    How We'll All Be Customers Eventually

    Amazon is unusual among large U.S. companies ranked by market cap in that its profit margins are tiny and its stock is phenomenally pricey. Here's why.
  4. Investing News

    What's At Stake As Google Takes On Amazon?

    Google's decision to go head-to-head with Amazon with a new same-day shopping service isn't just about cheap Cheerios, coffeemakers, and clothing.
  5. Investing News

    Is Amazon Prime Still The Best Deal In Tech?

    If you asked that question a week ago, when Seattle-based, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) raised its annual fee for Amazon Prime to $99 from $79, you might have heard a far different answer.
  6. Economics

    J.D. Rockefeller: From Oil Baron To Billionaire

    More than 70 years after his death, this man remains one of the great figures of Wall Street.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    The CEO Dream Team - Walton, Schwab, Marcus And Blank

    The successes of these three CEOs can be linked back to one common factor: customer service.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    From The Printing Press To The Internet

    Find out how this invention contributed to the development and evolution of the U.S. economy.
  9. Investing

    How Aliko Dangote Became the Richest African

    An overview of how Aliko Dangote turned a local commodities trading business into a billion-dollar conglomerate.
  10. Professionals

    4 Ways Companies Can Relieve Workplace Stress

    Workplace stress can cost companies tons of money in lost productivity and absenteeism. Some of that is out of their control, but often they are the cause.
  1. Why is Frank Quattrone credited with contributing to the growth of the dotcom bubble?

    Frank Quattrone was one of the most powerful figures during the dotcom bubble. He was one of the first investment bankers ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why did dotcom companies crash so drastically?

    The craze of the dotcom bubble and the flood of capital that came with it led to many back-of-the-napkin business models ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can I buy insurance to reduce unlimited liability in a partnership?

    Partnership insurance is actually quite common. Most of the time, partners buy insurance to safeguard against the possibility ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the benefits of prorating expenses?

    When a person prorates expenses between personal and business expenses, he is able to capture the maximum amount of tax benefits ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the relationship between research and development and innovation?

    Although it's possible to achieve innovation without research and development and it's possible to conduct research and development ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the notion of the American Dream influence the US economy?

    The notion of the American Dream influences the U.S. economy because it creates the driving force behind the free enterprise ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!