Jeff Bezos entrepreneur

Fascinating Facts About Jeff Bezos

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Dec 20, 2013    •    876 Views

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A name that Jeff Bezos and his wife had considered when they created Amazon, still today, it takes you there.

Some Jeff Bezos facts from The Everything Store:

As a 6th grader, he was typical of a certain kind of competitive child. At Houston’s River Oaks Elementary School, Jeff Bezos developed a teacher survey for math class that he gave to his classmates in order to graph each teacher’s performance. His science fair entries included an “infinity cube” and he tried to earn a reader’s certificate by amassing a book reading list. His weekly meetings with several other students in the principal’s office were targeted toward developing “productive thinking.”

After graduating from Princeton in 1986, he worked at firms that included a tech start-up, Bankers Trust and one of the first quant hedge funds. Departing NYC to start his own book business, he and his wife reputedly were not sure where they were going. They wound up in Washington, perhaps because of Seattle’s tech reputation and sales tax considerations.

The book business seemed a logical candidate because a book was a book. Ideal for an internet order because people did not need to see it, also, an online book business required no inventory.

A name?  Cadabra was a serious candidate but rejected as too similar to cadaver. They also considered,,, (beginning of the alphabet) and Amazon was selected after Bezos walked in one day saying he had been reading the A’s in the dictionary and Amazon, the “Earth’s largest river,” grabbed him.  It stuck.

On July 16, 1995, the Amazon site went live. Their best seller during that first year: How to Set Up and Maintain a World Wide Web Site: The Guide for Information Providers. But they had a problem. Book distributors required a 10 book minimum order. Soon figuring out that you had to order 10 books but not necessarily receive them, they ordered one copy of the book they wanted and then 9 of something that was out of stock like –“an obscure book on lichens.”

Trying to raise capital, they told potential investors that by 2000, revenue would equal $74 million and would generate some profits if all went moderately well. Far exceeding their forecast, in 2000, sales totaled $1.64 billion. As for profits, their net loss in 2000 was $1.4 billion and 13 years later, still none.

Bezos’s early years return us to Relentless. com and what sounds like the perfect name for an entrepreneur. But, according to research, the stereotypical descriptions might not be so accurate:

1. Is there an entrepreneurial spirit? The researchers did not discover it. However, they did say that intelligence and patience were more prevalent among those who started businesses.

2. Is there a common key to success? The most important resource is the ability to fund the project. An inheritance, for example, facilitates business creation as would available venture capital money.

3. Family counts. Children of the self-employed tend to start their own businesses.

4.  Where you live counts. Countries with lower taxes and less red tape tend to have more entrepreneurs.

Sources and Resources: The source of my facts, I recommend the first 2 chapters of The Everything Store. I will tell more as I progress. My entrepreneur research facts are from a past econlife post and there is more on Jeff Bezos at econlife, here and here.


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