Thanks to Jeff Bezos, we have Amazon, but that is not all he has to his credit. From a young age, Bezos invented things and dreamed big. In March 2018, Bezos had a net worth of 112 billion US dollars and was named as the richest person in the world by Forbes. Just four months later, Bezos’ net worth jumped to 150 billion US dollars. What has been the journey of this business magnate so far that shaped him into becoming what he is today? These 15 lesser-known facts about Jeff Bezos, paint an interesting picture.
1. Born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen, Jeff Bezos’ biological father did not remember his name or even knew that he was alive until a journalist went to see him in 2013.
Bezos was born on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen and Ted Jorgensen. His mother, Jacklyn, was just 17 then. His parents divorced after 17 months of being married when he was one, and when he was four, his mother married a man named Miguel “Mike” Bezos, a Cuban immigrant. They then moved to Houston, Texas where Bezos grew up.
His biological father, Ted Jorgensen, lost touch with his ex-wife and son soon after they divorced. In 2013, when Brad Stone, a journalist with Bloomberg Businessweek, went to see Ted, he was baffled to know that he was the father of the famous Jeff Bezos. He didn’t remember his son’s name and also didn’t know that Jeff was alive. Ted expressed the desire to see his son. but Jeff Bezos hasn’t met his biological father yet. (source)
2. A young Jeff had a love for building things like a hovercraft from a vacuum cleaner. He once rigged an electric alarm to keep his half-siblings out of his room.
As a child, Bezos loved experimenting. He once built a hovercraft from a vacuum cleaner and an aluminum-foil covered umbrella that was a part of his solar-cooking experiment. He also made his own infinity cube when his mother couldn’t afford to buy him one. He rigged an electric alarm to keep Christina Bezos and Mark Bezos, his half-siblings, out of his room. This alarm was like a security system that Bezos created for himself. (1, 2)
3. Bezos learned business skills from his grandfather. Until he was 16, he spent all his summers with his “Pop” at his ranch in “the middle of nowhere.”
Jeff Bezos’ maternal grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise, was the regional director of the United States Atomic Energy Commission in Albuquerque. He took early retirement and lived out of the rest of his days at the family ranch called “Lazy G” in Cotulla, Texas. This is where Jeff spent all his summers from the age of four to 16. Gise had a considerable influence on Bezos’ thoughts, and one of the lessons that he, Bezos, vividly remembers is when Gise taught him that “it is harder to be kind than clever.” Bezos also picked up a crucial business skill of self-reliance from his grandfather as at their ranch in Texas that was “in the middle of nowhere,” when machinery would often break, Gise would fix it up himself not relying on someone else to do the job. One summer, Gise, and Bezos built a house by themselves. (1, 2)
4. When Jeff Bezos was in high school, he worked at McDonald’s as a short-order line cook during the breakfast shift.
When Bezos was 16, he worked at McDonald’s, and it helped him learn how to work under pressure and taught him a few things about customer service. As a short-order line cook, Bezos became fascinated by how a lot of things were automated at the fast-food restaurant fuelling his drive for technological innovation. Like Bezos, many famous people have worked at McDonald’s. In fact, every one in eight U.S. workers has had a job at the fast-food chain. (source)
5. In 1992, Bezos met his wife (now separated), MacKenzie, a researcher cum novelist in New York. They have adopted their daughter from China and have four kids in all.
When Bezos was working for D.E.Shaw, an investment management firm, in 1992, he met MacKenzie Tuttle who was working as a research associate in the same firm. A year later, they got married, and a year after that they moved to Seattle where Bezos founded Amazon. They have four children, three sons, and one daughter, They adopted their daughter from China. Bezos and his wife filed for divorce in January 2019. Bezos said that the decision to divorce was “amicable” after a trial period of separation. (source)