This story was originally published in April 2021.
In early 2021, Jeff Bezos announced he would be stepping down as CEO of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). He will transition to Executive Chairman of Amazon and stay engaged with the company.
The move is seen as giving Bezos time to commit to other projects like Day 1 Fund, Bezo’s Earth Fund, Blue Origin and The Washington Post.
Here are five fun facts you might not know about Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com.
1. Studied Computer Science/Electrical Engineering: Bezos attended Princeton University where he studied both computer science and electrical engineering. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1986.
The studies came years after Bezos turned his parent’s garage into a laboratory and rigged electrical contraptions around the house as a child. One of Bezos' early science projects was creating an electric alarm for his room to keep his half-siblings out.
2. Bezos is a Trekkie: Bezos is a Star Trek fan and received an eight-second cameo in the “Star Trek Beyond” movie. Bezos portrays an alien Starfleet official in the movie and said in an interview, “Do not blink. You will miss me.”
Bezos has credited his love of Star Trek as the inspiration of several ideas. Amazon's Alexa is inspired by the know-it-all computer on the Starship Enterprise.
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3. Amazon Almost Had Another Name: Bezos initially planned to call Amazon Cadabra after the phrase Abracadabra. Bezos’ lawyer misheard him and called the business Cadaver. The business was renamed Amazon.
The company’s logo connecting the A to the Z is symbolic to represent that the company offers everything and anything to order from A to Z.
4. Amazon Early Days: Bezos quit his job at an investment firm to open an online book store called Amazon.com. He moved to Seattle to create Amazon.com and drafted the initial business plan during his cross-country trip from New York to Seattle. In 1995, around 300 of Bezos' friends performed beta testing for Amazon.com.
The first item sold on Amazon was a science textbook called “Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.” The company beat estimates from the start, doing over $20,000 in weekly sales two months after launching.
5. Quietly Running Blue Origin: In 2000, Bezos founded Blue Origin, a company he hoped could someday lower the cost of space travel. The company was operated quietly until 2016 when the press was invited to the company’s headquarters. In 2017, Bezos committed to selling $1 billion of his Amazon.com shares annually to help fund Blue Origin.
Photo courtesy: Seattle City Council on Flickr