Jeffrey Bezos

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Jeffrey P. Bezos

"After graduation, Jeff Bezos found employment on Wall Street, where computer science was increasingly in demand to study market trends. His went to work at Fitel, a start-up company that was building a network to conduct international trade. He stayed in the finance realm with Bankers Trust, rising to a Vice Presidency.

"At D. E. Shaw, a firm specializing in the application of computer science to the stock market, Bezos was hired as much for his overall talent as for any particular assignment. While working at Shaw, Jeff met his wife, Mackenzie, also a Princeton graduate. He rose quickly at Shaw, becoming a senior Vice President, and looked forward to a bright career in finance, when he made a discovery that changed his life, and the course of business history.

"The Internet was originally created by the Defense Department to keep its computer networks connected during an emergency, such as natural catastrophe or enemy attack. Over the years, it was adopted by government and academic researchers to exchange data and messages. In 1994, there was still no Internet commerce to speak of. One day that spring, Jeffrey Bezos observed that Internet usage was increasing by 2300 percent a year. He saw an opportunity for a new sphere of commerce, and immediately began considering the possibilities.

"In typically methodical fashion, Bezos reviewed the top 20 mail order businesses, and asked himself which could be conducted more efficiently over the Internet than by traditional means. Books were the commodity for which no comprehensive mail order catalogue existed, because any such catalogue would be too big to mail; perfect for the Internet, which could share a vast database with a virtually limitless number of people...

"Jeff and Mackenize flew to Texas on Independence Day weekend and picked up a 1988 Chevy Blazer (a gift from Mike Bezos) to make the drive to Seattle, where they would have ready access to the book wholesaler Ingram, and to the pool of computer talent Jeff would need for his enterprise. Mackenzie drove while Jeff typed a business plan. The company would be called Amazon for the seemingly endless South American river with its numberless branches..." [1]

In 2012 "news broke that the Amazon founder and CEO has invested at least $42 million in a project to build a 10,000 year clock deep in the mountains near one of his homes in West Texas. The clock would play a different sound to celebrate the passing of each year for the next 10 millennia... Bezos, who invests in other futuristic projects including his private space company Blue Origin." [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Jeff Bezos Biography, Academy of Acheivement, accessed December 9, 2007.
  2. TED Brain Trust, TED, accessed April 1, 2010.