Who is Jeff Bezos?

Most people either know Jeff Bezos as the founder of Amazon, one of the wealthiest people in the world, or both. But Bezos is also an investor, media proprietor, and commercial astronaut with an education in electrical engineering and computer science.

Now in his late 50s, Bezos has also been involved with various companies across different industries in addition to his time at Amazon.

Early career

After Bezos graduated from Princeton University in 1986, he turned down job offers from Bell Labs and Intel to instead join fintech communications start-up Fitel. Bezos was tasked with building a network for international trade and was at some point promoted to director of customer service and head of development.

Bezos transitioned into the financial industry in 1988 after he landed a job at Banker’s Trust in New York City. At Banker’s Trust – now part of Deutsche Bank – Bezos developed systems to manage client investment funds and once more found himself promoted to vice president.

After two years, he became bored and started preparations for another pivot into tech.

D.E. Shaw

Bezos took a job with hedge fund D.E. Shaw in 1990 and, as a VP, was responsible for researching new business opportunities on the internet. After he learned the web had grown by 2300% in one year, Bezos decided he needed to take advantage of it.

According to Business Insider, he made a list of 20 possible products to sell online and believed books were the most viable option. Unable to persuade his employer of the merits of the idea, Bezos decided to resign and branch out on his own.

In his biography The Everything Store¸ he told author Brad Stone that the decision to relinquish his Wall Street bonus was a simple one in the context of the internet’s potential: “I knew that I might sincerely regret not having participated in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a revolutionizing event. When I thought about it that way… it was incredibly easy to make the decision.


Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 and today, we know that his bet on the internet paid off handsomely. He started with a virtual bookstore that operated out of his garage and the Amazon website sold its first book in 1995.

Bezos stepped down as CEO in 2021 to become Executive Chairman of the Amazon Board.

Blue Origin

Five years later, Bezos founded the spaceflight start-up Blue Origin. Space travel and the expansion of human life across the solar system had been an interest of his since high school, and the company soon purchased a sizeable tract of land in Texas to launch and test vehicles.

On July 20, 2021, the NS-16 mission transported Bezos and three others into space and returned them successfully to Earth. 

The Washington Post

Bezos then paid $250 million in cash for The Washington Post Co. in 2013. Amazon was not associated with the deal, with Bezos himself becoming the sole owner of the publication once the sale was finalized.

Family-owned for its entire history, The Post as it is affectionately known was unable to escape the financial problems that had beset most print newspapers in the internet era. However, after Bezos removed the paywall in some states and reconfigured the company’s mobile platform, digital media, and software analytics, it became profitable in 2016.

Bezos Expeditions and Altos Labs

Bezos Expeditions is not an adventure company but the vehicle through which Bezos makes venture capital investments. Founded in 2005, it was one of the earliest investors in Google and has also been active in the healthcare industry.

More recently, in September 2021, Bezos co-founded the biotech company Altos Labs with Yuri Milner. Altos Labs exited stealth mode in January 2022 and has a core focus on cellular reprogramming to develop human longevity drugs.

Key takeaways:

  • Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon and one of the wealthiest people in the world. He is also an investor, media proprietor, and commercial astronaut with an education in electrical engineering and computer science.
  • After Bezos graduated from Princeton University in 1986, he turned down job offers from Bell Labs and Intel to instead join fintech communications start-up Fitel. He then worked in the financial sector for a time at Banker’s Trust and D.E. Shaw. 
  • At D.E. Shaw, Bezos decided he wanted to sell books online and left his well-paid role to start Amazon in 1994. Since then, he has founded space travel company Blue Origin, VC firm Bezos Expeditions, and biotech company Altos Labs.

Connected to Amazon Business Model

Jeff Bezos Empire

Jeff Bezos was best known for founding eCommerce giant Amazon in 1994. However, the entrepreneur owns companies in several industries, including health care, retail, robotics, real estate, and media. Many of these companies have been acquired by Amazon over the years, but some have been the result of direct investment from Bezos himself (through his investment arm is called Bezos Expeditions).

Amazon Subsidiaries

Amazon is a consumer e-commerce platform with a diversified business model spanning across e-commerce, cloud, advertising, streaming, and more. Over the years Amazon acquired several companies. Among its 12 subsidiaries, Amazon has, Audible, CamiXology,, IMDb, PillPack, Shopbop,, Twitch, Whole Foods Market, Woot! and Zappos.

Amazon Business Model

Amazon has a diversified business model. In 2021 Amazon posted over $469 billion in revenues and over $33 billion in net profits. Online stores contributed to over 47% of Amazon revenues, Third-party Seller Services,  Amazon AWS, Subscription Services, Advertising revenues, and Physical Stores.

Amazon Mission Statement

amazon-vision-statement-mission-statement (1)
Amazon’s mission statement is to “serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.” Amazon’s vision statement is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” 

Customer Obsession

In the Amazon Shareholders’ Letter for 2018, Jeff Bezos analyzed the Amazon business model, and it also focused on a few key lessons that Amazon as a company has learned over the years. These lessons are fundamental for any entrepreneur, of small or large organization to understand the pitfalls to avoid to run a successful company!

Amazon Revenues

Amazon has a business model with many moving parts. With the e-commerce platform which generated over $222 billion in 2021, followed by third-party stores services which generated over $103 billion, Amazon AWS, which generated over $62 billion, Amazon advertising which generated over $31 billion and Amazon Prime which also generated over $31 billion, and physical stores which generated over $17 billion.

Amazon Cash Conversion


Working Backwards

The Amazon Working Backwards Method is a product development methodology that advocates building a product based on customer needs. The Amazon Working Backwards Method gained traction after notable Amazon employee Ian McAllister shared the company’s product development approach on Quora. McAllister noted that the method seeks “to work backwards from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it.”

Regret Minimization

A regret minimization framework is a business heuristic that enables you to make a decision, by projecting yourself in the future, at an old age, and visualize whether the regrets of missing an opportunity would hunt you down, vs. having taken the opportunity and failed. In short, if taking action and failing feels much better than regretting it, in the long run, that is when you’re ready to go!

Amazon Flywheel

The Amazon Flywheel or Amazon Virtuous Cycle is a strategy that leverages on customer experience to drive traffic to the platform and third-party sellers. That improves the selections of goods, and Amazon further improves its cost structure so it can decrease prices which spins the flywheel.

Jeff Bezos Day One

In the letter to shareholders in 2016, Jeff Bezos addressed a topic he had been thinking quite profoundly in the last decades as he led Amazon: Day 1. As Jeff Bezos put it “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

About The Author

Jeff Bezos

Jeffrey Preston “Jeff” Bezos is an American entrepreneur who played a key role in the growth of e-commerce as the founder and CEO of Amazon. com, Inc. , an online merchant of books and later of a wide variety of products. Under his guidance, Amazon. com became the largest retailer on the World Wide Web and the model for Internet sales.

About The Author

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