In 1994, the then 30-year-old Jeff Bezos left behind a six-figure gig on Wall Street as the youngest ever senior vice president at investment banking firm D.E. Shaw & Co. to start Amazon in Seattle. Now, he’s perennially in competition to be the richest man in the world and briefly outpaced Bill Gates to hold the top spot of that list at the end of the July, thanks to a boost in Amazon stock.
The Amazon co-founder and CEO is also a fan of outer space and started Blue Origin to explore it. Bezos isn’t afraid to try new things, like when he bought The Washington Post back in 2013.
To get more insights into the man, read on for 14 weird facts about Jeff Bezos.
He is a huge Star Trek fan. He has said that Alexa was inspired by the pop culture icon and he even had a cameo as an alien in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. Amazon was almost named MakeItSo.com after the catchphrase of Next Generation’s Captain Picard.
He made an appearance on The Simpsons in a 2008 episode where he and Mark Cuban (also playing himself) hang out with fellow billionaire Mr. Burns at Billionaire Camp.
Bezos is fascinated by the Mercury and Apollo era of NASA, so much so that he funded and went on an undersea expedition to retrieve remnants of Apollo rockets.
He is living his childhood dream. He founded his space tourism company Blue Origin in 2000, decades after he told his friends and teacher that he wanted to be a “space entrepreneur” when he grew up.
He doesn’t use an alarm clock and tends to get eight hours of sleep. No burning the midnight oil for this CEO.
Apparently, Bezos has always had an eye on the future. According to The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Brad Stone’s biography of the CEO, when he was a toddler, Bezos dismantled his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a bed.
It’s probably cold comfort to Barnes & Noble that while Bezos was launching Amazon and wanted a break from his garage, he would frequent the local location in Bellevue, Wash.
Adoption is a big part of his family story. When he was very young, he was adopted by his stepfather Miguel Bezos. Bezos has four children with his wife Mackenzie, three sons and one daughter, who was adopted from China.
Bezos spent summers when he was growing up on his maternal grandfather’s cattle ranch in Texas where he did odd jobs such as fixing windmills. His grandfather had worked for Darpa in the 1950s on space technology and was the manager of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Albuquerque, N.M., office.
When he was a teenager, he had a job as a McDonald’s fry cook and started a small summer camp for elementary schoolers called the DREAM Institute.
On the drive to Seattle to launch Amazon, Bezos made sure to stop at the Grand Canyon along the way.
According to a Wired profile from the late 1990s, Bezos had high standards for women that he was going to date. “The number-one criterion was that I wanted a woman who could get me out of a Third World prison,” he said.
The Albuquerque native attended Princeton, where he studied electrical engineering and computer science. In 2011, he donated $15 million to the school to build a center that would study neurological disorders.
Unsurprisingly, Bezos is a voracious reader. His favorite novel is The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.