American Entrepreneurs

Season 1 Episode 8

Jeff Bezos: Boy Billionaire

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Episode Summary

Jeff Bezos: Boy Billionaire
Back in 1994, when few people had even heard of the Internet, Jeff Bezos was starting and, in the process, pioneered a whole new way of doing business. At age 36, Bezos is already a billionaire several times over, as well as TIME's Person of the Year for 1999. Bezos was an exceptionally bright child, winning prizes at science fairs, tinkering with computers and earning straight A's. After graduating from Princeton, he rose through the ranks at several prestigious Wall Street firms. His job at one of these firms was to develop ways of doing business through the Internet, most specifically how to make money. While doing this research, he discovered that the Internet was growing at a rate of 2,300% a year. Jeff quickly realized that he could be a part of this phenomenal growth, and that books - extensively catalogued and easily shipped -- would be the perfect commodity. He quit his high-paying job, packed his bags, and headed West to Seattle, a city already proven to be technology-friendly. With start-up money borrowed from his parents, Jeff -- along with his wife and a few other key employees -- got to work in the garage of their rented house. They launched a year later, and soon orders flooded in from all over the world. Now is the world's biggest bookstore, with over 7,000 employees around the world Though Bezos started with selling books, he quickly branched into other items...offering everything from videos and DVDs to kitchen and garden supplies to big-ticket items such as cars. Bezos himself has bought a skeleton of an ice age bear off of one of Amazon's auction sites, which now sits in the company's headquarters.moreless

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