Jeff Bezos is the CEO and founder of Amazon, the source of much of the entrepreneur’s wealth, on July 5, 1994. It has only been uphill since then. In this time of crisis and economic downturn, Bezos managed to become even richer. This surge in the billionaire’s wealth is owed to a boost in Amazon’s share price despite the disaster that is the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, the House subcommittee hearing called on the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook to answer the House’s question of whether or not the biggest technological companies use their reach and influence to hurt competitors and help themselves. For the Amazon CEO, his testimony on Wednesday was the first time he appeared before Congress.
According to researcher eMarketer, Amazon is the no. 1 US ecommerce retailer by a huge margin—accounting for 38.7% of US online retail sales. Amazon Prime, the company’s streaming service, has surpassed 150 million subscribers globally, according to Business Insider.
Really, it’s hard to imagine the entrepreneur, industrialist, media proprietor, and investor as anything but wealthy, since his wealth is all that is talked about these days. But as he revealed in his opening statement to Congress during the antitrust subcommittee hearing, Bezos did not always lead a charmed life.
Jeff Bezos started out his opening statement with a personal story. He talked about his parents, Jackie and Miguel, who gave him the love and support that he needed to succeed in life. Before he amassed a great fortune, he only had a wealth of a loving family, a family that fostered my curiosity and encouraged me to dream big.
Bezos shared the story of his mother, who was a pregnant high school student in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at only 17 years old. When the school tried to kick her out, his grandfather negotiated a deal with the principal. She was able to graduate, but she was not allowed to use a locker, join extracurricular activities, or walk across the stage with the rest of her class at graduation.
Despite the hardships, Bezos’s mother stood firm and was determined to continue her education. She enrolled in night school, bringing her infant son with her all throughout. It was this decision that led her to meet Bezos’s father.
Bezos’s father, Miguel, adopted him when he was 4 years old. Miguel came to the United States as a 16-year-old Cuban boy who did not know anyone and did not know how to speak English. He was part of Operation Pedro Pan, an operation that helped Cuban parents send their children unaccompanied to the United States after Castro took over the country. Miguel had nothing and no one to his name, and he survived through grit and determination. Eventually, he was offered a scholarship to Albuquerque, where he met Bezos’s mother.
Bezos’s parents, two hardworking, resourceful, and loving individuals, along with Bezos’s grandparents, serve as his source of support and inspiration. With their guidance, he was able to turn a business that started in a garage into the Amazon that we know today.