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Jeff Bezos

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Jeff Bezos, the founder of, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1964. His mother, Jackie, was in her teens when he was born and she was only married to his biological father for about a year. She married Mike Bezos when Jeff was four. Mike was a Cuban who escaped to the United States when he was fifteen. He put himself through college in New Mexico and eventually became an engineer at Exxon.

Jeff attended Miami Palmetto high school and was valedictorian of his class. He went to Princeton and planned to study physics. He believed, however, that other physics students were much smarter than him. Therefore, he studied electrical engineering and computer science. He graduated summa cum laude in 1986 with a GPA of 4.3 on a 4.0 scale.

After he graduated from Princeton, Jeff joined a high-tech startup in New York called FITEL, which was building a network to facilitate international trade. After two years at FITEL, he joined Bankers Trust Company. At Bankers Trust, he setup computer systems that managed $250 billion in assets and eventually became the company's youngest vice president.

In 1990, he joined D.E. Shaw and Company. He helped the company build the most technically advanced hedge funds on Wall Street. He eventually went from being a computer expert to a money manager, and became the company's youngest vice president. In 1994, Jeff read a statistic that said the Internet was growing at a rate of 2300% per year. He decided to leave D.E. Shaw and Company to form, which he named after the seemingly endless South American River.

He and his wife, MacKenzie, drove to Seattle to be close to a book wholesaler called Ingram. MacKenzie drove the car while Jeff typed the business plan for the company. Jeff had already spent several months planning while he was at D.E. Shaw. He had traveled multiple times to California to meet with Shel Kaphan, a programmer who was the first employee at, and other programmers.

Jeff, Shel, and a contractor named Paul Barton-Davis built the prototype for in Jeff's garage in Seattle. The garage was heated by an oven in the middle of the room. There were extension cords everywhere. Jeff built desks made from doors that he purchased at Home Depot for sixty dollars each. In fact, all of the desks at the current are made of doors. Jeff, Shel, and Paul spent a year developing database programs and creating the website.

Jeff needed to raise a million dollars to finance the company. He met with over 60 people over several months. He eventually raised the money through twenty-two angel investors, whom consisted of family, friends, and former colleagues. When the site was finished, Jeff asked 300 friends and acquaintances to test it.

On July 16, 1995, went live to the world and Jeff told the testers to spread the word that it was open. Within 30 days, the company had sold books to all fifty states and forty-five foreign counties. By September, the site had sales of $20,000 a week. Shortly after the launch, they added new features to the site, such as one-click shopping, customer reviews, and e-mail order verification.

Jeff has a unique management style. He invokes loyalty from his employees and most of them see him as a colleague. He has a distinctive, loud laugh that he uses to "charm and disarm" people. He often refers to himself as a computer nerd and jokes about his lack of social skills. He created the concept that a team should only consist of enough



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