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15 Lesser-Known Facts About Jeff Bezos

6. At the age of 29, Bezos left his job at a hedge fund to start an online bookstore and wanted to name it “Relentless” but then named it “Amazon.” Relentless.com redirects to Amazon.com even today.

Amazon logo
Image credit: Amazon.com

When Bezos thought of opening an online bookstore, he registered a domain “Relentless.com,” but when his friends told him that it sounded “sinister,” he decided on the name “Cadabra” as in “abracadabra.”

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When a lawyer who was called to incorporate the company misheard “Cadabra” to mean something completely different, Bezos decided on the name “Amazon” partly because he needed a name that started with the letter “A” as Yahoo (the most popular search engine then) listed names alphabetically. “Amazon” was chosen after the Amazon River, the biggest river on the planet that had many branches. Bezos has kept the domain “Relentless.com” which redirects to Amazon even today. (source)

7. In 1997, he became a millionaire. In 1998, he became one of the first investors of “Google.” In 1999, he became a billionaire.

Jeff Bezos
Image credits: Robert Scoble/Flickr, Seattle City Council/Flickr

After going public with Amazon, Bezos raised 54 million US dollars from its IPO in 1997, becoming a millionaire. In 1998, he invested 250 million US dollars in Google becoming one of the first shareholders of the mega company. Just a year later, he had a net worth of 10.1 billion US dollars and was included in the Forbes The World’s Billionaires list. (source)

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8. In September 2000, Bezos found “Blue Origin” a “secretive” human spaceflight company that sent a rocket into near space and landed vertically twice, six months before SpaceX.

blueorigin
Image credits: blueorigin

Jeff Bezos had a girlfriend in high school named Ursula Werner who believed that Bezos founded Amazon so that eventually he could make enough money to build a spaceship and go to space, according to Robert Spector’s Amazon.com: Get Big Fast. Blue Origin, a human spaceflight startup, with the Latin phrase Gradatim Ferociter (step by step fiercely) as its motto, was found by Bezos in 2000 without much noise. On 13 November 2006, the company grabbed public attention when Goddard, a test spacecraft, was launched 285 feet in the sky from Texas and landed safely. In 2015, the company became the first to accomplish a vertical landing of its New Shepard vehicle and did it again in 2017. Bezos believes that Blue Origin is his “most important work” and not Amazon. (source)

9. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post for 250 million US dollars in cash.

Washington Post
Image credits: cnbc

Bezos announced the purchase of The Washington Post on August 5, 2013, for 250 million US dollars in cash through his company named Nash Holdings. He bought the newspaper in a personal capacity. He reinvented the newspaper and optimized its digital media and mobile platforms. After three years of purchase, in 2016, the newspaper saw a surge in online readership and began making a profit for the first time since Bezos bought it. (source)

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10. Bezos, whose net worth was 112 billion US dollars in 2018, made 6.24 billion US dollars in five minutes on October 10, 2017, a little less than the GDP of Kyrgyzstan.

On October 10, 2017, Amazon announced the news of its third-quarter earnings report. At 4 p.m. when the American stock market closed that day, Amazon was trading at 972 US dollars per share. In its after-market trading just five minutes later, the share price jumped to 1,041.15 US dollars. For Bezos, this translated into earning 6.24 billion US dollars in five minutes as he owns 17% of the shares. In 2017, the Gross Domestic Product of Kyrgyzstan was 7.56 billion US dollars. Five months later, on March 6, 2018, he was designated as the wealthiest person in the world. (1, 2)

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