Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen
Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Owns residential properties in five different locations –
- Two homes in Medina, Washington
- A former textile museum turned residence in Kalorama, North West Washington, D.C.
- Two adjoining homes in Beverly Hills, California
- A 30,000-acre ranch house in Cotulla, Texas
- Three condos in Century building at 25 Central Park West in Manhattan, NYC
Jeff studied for 2 years at River Oaks Elementary School in Houston, Texas.
Jeff continued his high school education at Miami Palmetto High School after his parents relocated to Florida.
While still in school, he was selected to be a part of the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida and received the Silver Knight Award.
He was the high school valedictorian during the graduation ceremony in 1982 and also a National Merit Scholar.
In 1986, Jeff graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a GPA score of 4.2.
At Princeton, Jeff earned the exclusive membership of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honor society that promotes liberal arts and sciences. He was also elected to Tau Beta Pi, the oldest engineering honor society. Additionally, he served as the President of the Princeton branch of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS).
Upon graduating, Jeff was offered employment with Intel, Bell Labs, and Anderson Consulting. He turned down all those jobs to work with a start-up company called Fitel and was their 11th employee.
Technology Entrepreneur, Investor / Venture Capitalist, Philanthropist
- Father – Ted John Jorgensen (Road Runner Bike Shop Owner; Expired March 2015)
- Mother – Jacklyn Bezos née Gise aka Jackie (President, Bezos Family Foundation)
- Siblings – Mark Bezos (5 Years Younger Half-Brother, Brand Experience Advisor), Christina Bezos Poore (6 Years Younger Half-Sister, Director at Bezos Family Foundation)
- Others –
- Miguel Bezos aka Mike (Step-Father) (Former Employee with Exxon Mobil Petroleum Engineer & Mathematician, now Co-Founder & Vice-President at Bezos Family Foundation)
- Lisa Bezos (Sister-in-law) (Self Employed ADHD Coach & Consultant)
- Stephen aka Steve Poore (Brother-in-law)
- Lawrence Preston Gise (Maternal Grandfather) (Former Regional Director of US Atomic Energy Commission)
- Mattie Louise Gise née Strait (Maternal Grandmother)
- George Harvey Strait (Distant Cousin through maternal grandmother) (Famous Country Singer, also known as ‘King of Country)
5 ft 7.5 in or 171.5 cm
70 kg or 154 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
- Ursula Werner aka Uschi (1981–1982) – Ursula was Jeff’s high school girlfriend and a fellow bright student who collaborated with him to organize a ten-day summer course for 10-year-olds right after their graduation in 1982. Jeff named and advertised the course as the DREAM Institute, short for, Directed Reasoning Methods. In Jeff’s bedroom, Ursula assisted his students in reading and studying classic books like David Copperfield, Gulliver’s Travels and The Lord of the Rings, taught practical skills like operating a camera and discussed serious issues such as black holes in outer space, electric currents, and nuclear arms limitation talks. The couple broke up after Ursula enrolled in Duke University, North Carolina and Jeff went to study at Princeton University, New Jersey to become a theoretical physicist.
- Mackenzie S. Bezos née Tuttle (1992–Present) – Mackenzie was hired as a research associate at D.E Shaw, a hedge fund firm based in New York City right after she finished her college education with the highest honors from Princeton University in 1992. Jeff was serving as the Vice-President of that firm and his office was right next to hers. He was also the first person from his firm to interview her. One day Mackenzie asked Jeff out for lunch. Three months later they were engaged. 6 months later they were married. From 1994 to 1999 when Jeff was investing all his time and energy during the early stages of getting Amazon up and running, the couple lived in a one-bedroom rented apartment in Seattle. Mackenzie worked as an accountant at Amazon and was one of the company’s earliest employees. Thereafter, Mackenzie became an award-winning novelist. She formerly studied under Pulitzer winner, Toni Morrison. Her first novel, The Testing of Luther Albright (2005) took 10 years to complete for which she won the American Book Award and Outstanding Literary Award in 2006. Mackenzie is also the founder of an anti-bullying organization called the Bystander Revolution. Together, the couple has 4 sons and 1 daughter, adopted from China.
Race / Ethnicity
His biological father was from Chicago, Illinois and has the last name of Scandinavian origin while all his maternal relatives were early settlers in Texas.
He possibly has Danish, German, English, Irish, and Swedish ancestry.
Dark Brown (Lost almost all his hair before middle age)
- Cleft Chin
- Asymmetrical eyes
- Has a signature style of laughing, which was also one of his features that his wife was attracted to when she started working in the space adjoining his office in 1992.
Unofficially performs brand ambassador duties for Amazon, his first company.
His religious beliefs are not confirmed. However, he was possibly raised in a Christian family.
Best Known For
Being the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon – the company is globally recognized as the world’s largest online shopping retailer.
Jeff was cast as a Starfleet Official in Star Trek: Beyond (2016) which is Jeff’s first theatrical film appearance.
First TV Show
Jeff appeared for an interview on the news talk show Charlie Rose in April 1999.
- By his own confession, Jeff revealed that his natural physical disposition was always to look as thin as a rail and up till the 1990s, he usually ate whatever tasted good to him.
- In 2013, journalist Brad Stone, the author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon (2013) shared that Jeff started allotting daily dedicated hours towards building strength and conditioning in the gym since 2010 because he was training his body to tour outer space someday.
- It was not until in July 2017 when a picture of Jeff at the Sun Valley invite-only conference in Idaho went viral that people realized how muscular he had become that sparked comparison to action movie stars such as Vin Diesel.
- Jeff is very particular about getting 8 hours of sleep every night and does not believe in the use of alarm clocks. He prefers to wake up naturally at the end of his sleep cycle between 7-8 am.
- He starts his day with a healthy breakfast, never schedules meetings in the morning or uses his cell phone at the dining table.
- Jeff also has an inclination towards unusual exotic foods and likes to have meals from food trucks.
Jeff Bezos Favorite Things
- Author – Cormac McCarthy
- Novel – Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Movie – Star Trek (Fond of any game, character or trivia related to it)
- Historical Personalities – Walt Disney, Thomas Edison
- Books –
- Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins
- Creation: Life and How to Make It by Steve Grand
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
- The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
- Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton
- Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James Womack and Daniel Jones
- Memos from the Chairman by Alan Greenberg
- The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P Brooks, Jr.
- The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvements by Eliyahu Goldratt
- Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know by Mark Jeffery
- The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
Source – Vogue, Entrepreneur, CNBC.com, Business Insider, Google Books
Jeff Bezos Facts
- His mother, Jacklyn had him at the age of 17 when she was still a high school student. His father Ted was a unicyclist performer at that time.
- Jeff’s parents separated one year after their marriage because his biological father was an alcoholic that made him an inattentive father and husband.
- Jeff’s stepfather, a Cuban immigrant, adopted him when he was 4 years old and hence gave him his last name, Bezos.
- Jeff found out he was adopted at the age of 10 but never felt the urge to track his biological father thereafter.
- Ted Jorgensen had no idea about Jeff’s whereabouts or identity until author Brad Stone tracked him down in Glendale, Arizona and told him about his son’s identity in 2012 who is also his only biological child.
- Everybody was also surprised to find out that Jeff inherited his distinctive laughter from his biological father even though they had never spent time together in their entire life.
- At the age of 3, Jeff wanted to sleep on a regular bed. When his mother refused claiming he was too young to move out of his crib, he tried to take the bars of his crib apart using a screwdriver.
- During his teens, he showed an interest towards innovation and invention. He made a solar cooker out of an umbrella, a hovercraft using an old vacuum cleaner and rigged a buzzer to his bedroom so he would know the moment his brother and sister would invade his personal space.
- His maternal grandfather whom he called Pops was the only other male role model in his life after his stepfather.
- From the age of 4 to 16, Jeff spent every summer at his maternal grandfather’s ranch where he single-handedly did a lot of hard labor and repaired heavy machinery under his grandfather’s supervision. Without the instructions or repair kit to fix the equipment, Jeff learned that every problem is merely a challenge with a solution.
- He took up his first job during his summer holidays in high school which was flipping hamburgers and cooking French fries in a McDonald’s restaurant with his high school girlfriend.
- He was not even the least bit inclined towards sports but was still made the defensive captain of his city’s youth football team because he was the only person who could remember what every team member was supposed to do on every play.
- Jeff enrolled in Princeton because the university had the best Physics program in the country. When he found out three of his classmates were much better than him at that subject, he changed his major to computer science and electrical engineering because he did not want to be a mediocre Physicist.
- After quitting Fitel in 1988, Jeff joined Bankers Trust as a product manager and worked so hard that at the age of 26, in 1990, he became the company’s youngest vice-president.
- Thereafter, he joined E Shaw where he was designated as the company’s youngest vice-president again at the age of 28 in 1992.
- He was the senior vice-president in 1994 when he finally decided to quit his job because nobody at E Shaw believed in his business idea of starting an online company.
- While casually browsing through the Internet in 1994, Jeff discovered that Internet usage was increasing by 2300 percent every year which made him look up the business model of mail order companies.
- He decided upon books as the first product to sell online because no store or mail order company could provide the complete list of all the names of the books available for sale. But, this information could easily be stored online.
- According to The Land Report magazine 2017 edition, Jeff Bezos is the 28th largest landowner in USA.
- Jeff nearly named his business Cadabra.com but dismissed it when his lawyer misheard it. He named it Amazon to suggest the largeness of scale and place it at the beginning of business website listings which were often named in alphabetical order.
- Jeff also liked the named Relentless for his company hence relentless.com will also take an individual to the Amazon website.
- He is not interested in music at all and let Steve Jobs hire his music editor, Keith Moerer that quickly led to the creation of the iPod. In response, Amazon’s music business suffered a massive hit. Hence, Jeff quickly created the Kindle to monopolize the market of digital books.
- He was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 1999.
- In 2003, Bezos almost died in a helicopter crash in the Texas boondocks while investigating a site for a test-launch facility for Blue Origin, his aerospace manufacturer and space flight company.
- Helping people travel and live in space was one of Jeff’s childhood dreams that he also mentioned in his valedictorian speech.
- In 2008, Jeff was featured in an episode of The Simpsons alongside Mark Cuban hanging out with the fictional billionaire, Burns.
- In 2011, he donated $15 million to Princeton University for the establishment of a Neuroscience center.
- In August 2013, he entered a new domain by purchasing The Washington Post for $250 million.
- Journalist Brad Stone’s book on Jeff Bezos published in 2013 portrayed him as an aggressive, hyper-competitive and demanding leader due to which Jeff’s wife, Mackenzie gave the book a 1-star rating on Amazon along with a 922-word negative review.
- He was one of the earliest shareholders of Google and invested $250,000 in the company in 1998.
- Through his venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions, Jeff holds a stake in several companies some of which are Airbnb, Business Insider, Twitter, and Uber.
- Jeff became a millionaire at the age of 33. He surpassed Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world in October 2017 and his net worth crossed $100 billion for the first time in November 2017.
- In 2018, he was confirmed to be the first centi-billionaire in the world.
- Jeff’s top priority for people in his life is that they should be resourceful. He found that trait in his wife and let his kids play with knives and power tools way before the age of 10 so they could develop the same kind of self-reliance.
- In January 2018, he made a $33 million donation to TheDream.US which is a college scholarship fund for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were minors.
- Through Bezos Expeditions, Jeff provided $42 million to build a 10,000-year clock inside a mountain in West Texas on the land owned by him. The creation is meant to encourage and symbolize long-term thinking.
- Jeff Bezos famously sums up his life philosophy as “Work hard, have fun, make History”.
- In 2018, analysts predicted Amazon will beat Apple to become the world’s first trillion dollar company by 2022 or sooner.
- To find out more about the entire range of Jeff’s business interests, visit bezosexpeditions.com.
- Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Featured Image by U.S. Department of Defense photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz / Flickr / CC BY 2.0