Here’s where Jeff Bezos inherited his entrepreneurial spirit
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos spent all his summers growing up at his maternal grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise’s ranch in South Texas. The time spent at the ranch with his grandfather left a deep, lasting impression on young Bezos. It also instilled an early sense of entrepreneurship and of taking ownership.
“My grandfather was almost my third parent, I spent all my summers at his ranch in Texas from age four to 16. I learnt so much from him,” Bezos told Amazon India Head and Senior Vice President Amit Agarwal during a fireside chat at the first edition of Amazon Smbhav – a summit for small, micro and medium business (SMBs), last week in New Delhi.
Bezos’ grandfather lived in a rural community in “the middle of nowhere”. So when something broke or stopped functioning at the ranch, his grandfather couldn’t just call someone to fix it. He would “fix everything” himself.
“We built our own barns, fixed our vehicles. He (Bezos’ grandfather) did his vet (veterinary) work, he would make his own needles. I was always amazed by this,” Bezos said.
Bezos’ grandfather would heat up a piece of wire with a blowtorch, pound it flat, sharpen it and drill a hole into it. All this self reliance made a “big impression” on Bezos who would later go on to become the world’s richest man.
“As a kid, I got to see him do all this and be a real problem solver. He would take on major projects that he didn’t know how to do and then figure out a way to do them. I think it is true of many people in rural areas, that they are very resourceful and very self-reliant,” the tech entrepreneur said.
Bezos often speaks about the influence his grandfather has had on him. He credits him for instilling the values of resourcefulness and self-sufficiency in him from an early age. These are values he still uses in his everyday work life, he said.
Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as a platform for ordering books online. Today, it has a market cap of over $900 billion.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)