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News and Trends > Jeff Bezos

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

The Amazon founder has come a long way.
David Ryder | Getty Images

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.

Related: 5 Fun Facts About Jeff Bezos's New D.C. Home

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.

Related: Jeff Bezos Just Posted This Weird, Kind of Badass Video of Himself on Top of a Wind Turbine

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

1. To boldly go where no man has gone before

Paramount Pictures

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

2. Larger than life

20th Century Fox

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

3. One small step for man...

Encyclopaedia Britannica | UIG | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

4. Living the dream

Matthew Staver | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

5. Get some shut eye

moodboard | Getty Images

He doesn’t use an alarm clock and tends to get eight hours of sleep. No burning the midnight oil for this CEO.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

6. Look to the future

KatarzynaBialasiewicz | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

7. Behind enemy lines

Noam Galai | WireImage | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

8. A family man

Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

9. Working on the farm

dhughes9 | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

10. He's come a long way

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

11. Taking in the sights

Andrew Baker | EyeEm | Getty Images

On the drive to Seattle to launch Amazon, Bezos made sure to stop at the Grand Canyon along the way.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

12. Love connection

Alex Wong | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

13. Giving back

Tongshan | Getty Images

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.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

14. Well read

Vintage International

Unsurprisingly, Bezos is a voracious reader. His favorite novel is The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

15. Putting customers first

Manuel Breva Colmeiro | Getty Images

Have a question or complaint for the man at the top? Just drop a line to jeff@amazon.com. When the email gets to his inbox, Bezos forwards the note to the employee who is best equipped to handle the request with “?” in the subject line. Then once the the issue is dealt with, the team member sends a rundown of what happened to Bezos so he can know that the problem was solved.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

16. Intriguing investments

Bezos has talked a great deal about his experience working on his grandfather’s ranch when he was a kid, and it seems that his agricultural background has influenced where he puts his money. Bezos has invested in a vertical farming startup called Plenty. The company grows its crops on 20 foot towers that are equipped with LED lights and don’t need soil or sunlight. Thanks in part to the Amazon founder’s investment, Plenty is on track to set up 300 vertical farms in China.

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

17. Unexpected design

Though Amazon is a behemoth today, it started small and Bezos had to be frugal and strategic when starting up, right down to office furniture. In order to get inexpensive desks for himself and some of the earliest employees, he constructed them himself, using wooden doors and four-by-four planks for the legs. Those desks became something of a tradition, and Bezos and many employees are using a variation on those original desks more than 20 years later. According to a recent blog post, Amazon even created the Door Desk Award to honor “well-built ideas that help deliver low prices to customers.”

18 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

18. Keep it simple

With frugality being one of Amazon’s central tenets, it’s unsurprising that while Jeff Bezos has logged time as the world’s wealthiest man, even after he became a billionaire, his personal transportation choices remained somewhat down to earth. When the company went public in 1997, he didn’t drop a ton of cash on a fancy new car. Instead, he traded in his 1987 Chevy Blazer -- which he used in the early days of the business to make post office delivery runs himself -- for a Honda Accord.

Related: 5 Creative Interview Questions to Ask Job Applicants, Approved by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Reid Hoffman