Amazon founder & CEO Jeff Bezos is just $4 billion away from knocking off Bill Gates as the world’s richest person. We’ve got five things to know about the brilliant businessman.
After founding Amazon.com in his garage in 1994, Jeff Bezos is now poised to become the richest person in the world thanks to some savvy investments and business moves. He just announced the company would be purchasing the Whole Foods market chain for a whopping $13 billion, causing Amazon’s stock to surge to an all-time high of $1,017 on June 19, making his net worth at $86 BILLION dollars! Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 61, has long been the richest man on the planet, but his $90 billion net worth could soon be eclipsed by Jeff. We’ve got five things to know about the savvy 53-year-old entrepreneur.
Update July 27, 2017: He did it! When markets opened on July 27, Jeff was estimated to be worth $90.6 billion, just putting him $500 million ahead of Bill Gates, according to Forbes. Jeff is now the seventh person to hold the title of “Richest man in the world,” and the third American to top the charts (with Bill and Warren Buffett being the others.)
1. Jeff got his start working on Wall Street. He worked for several high paying hedge funds before quitting and developing a business model for Amazon in 1994 as worldwide web use began to explode. He also knew it could be profitable as the Supreme Court decided to exempt mail order businesses from collecting taxes in states where they didn’t have a physical shop or plant. Little did the court know that would go on to make Jeff’s business incredibly popular with online consumers.
2. Jeff was one of the first people to invest in Google. Being a smart businessman, he put up $250,o00 of seed money towards the search engine in 1998. That netted him 3.3 million shares of their stock which is now worth nearly $3 billion for Jeff today. Talk about a payoff!
3. Jeff owns the Washington Post. Selling consumer goods isn’t his only business. In 2013 he branched out into the world of journalism by ponying up $250 million in cash for the prestigious newspaper. While the 140-year-old journalistic beacon was in deep decline in readership, after Jeff purchased it a number of changes were made including making it more internet driven. As a result, their content and readership has exploded.
4. Jeff’s last name comes from his stepdad Miguel Bezos. His mother Jacklyn was a teenager when she got pregnant with Jeff. She married his dad Ted Jorgensen but the union didn’t last long. They split and she remarried Miguel Bezos when Jeff was four-years-old. He formally adopted his stepson and raised him from childhood, and Jeff took on his surname.
5. Jeff is very philanthropic. He donated $2.5 million to help a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington state, which ultimately passed. His charitable foundation has given tens of millions towards cancer research. It also endowed $15 million towards the Neural Circuit Dynamics at Princeton Neuroscience Institute (his alma mater). He asked in an open letter on Twitter in June of 2017, “I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — the short term,” and asked for suggestions, receiving over 30,000 replies.
HollywoodLifers, what philanthropic ideas would you give to Jeff?