This “Money With Mak and G” podcast episode, Mak & G look at what Jeff Bezos’s upbringing was like, how he got the skills to start Amazon, and the billionaire life skills we can learn from him.
Jeff Bezos went from working in McDonalds to starting the most successful company that’s ever existed, so how did he do it?
This episode, Mak & G look at the lessons we can learn from Jeff Bezos, what his life was like before he started Amazon, and how he became the richest man in the world…
“It’s never too late to make it.” – G
01:26 – What ‘A Lion Sleeps Tonight’ is about and where the song came from.
02:10 – The Amazon jungle, the biggest jungle in the world.
04:00 – The connection between Amazon the company and Amazon the jungle.
04:52 – What Jeff Bezos’s life was like before he became wealthy.
06:58 – The jobs Jeff Bezos had before he started Amazon.
08:40 – The near-death experience Jeff Bezos went through.
09:07 – How much Jeff Bezos is worth.
10:07 – What we can learn from Jeff Bezos’s life.
Connect with Ben Jones:
GRANT: A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh.
MAK: In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…
GRANT: Hmm……maybe we need more practice.
MAK: You’re probably right (deflated)! If only we hadn’t both inherited Dad’s famous singing ability.
GRANT: Mak, I think you mean INFAMOUS.
MAK: You said it bro!
GRANT: What even is that song about anyway? A lion sleeping in a jungle…why would anyone write a song about that?
MAK: It’s a lullaby, and dates back to the early 20th Century, from South Africa. A guy named Saulamin Linda recorded it in Ma Booboo and he sang it in the Zulu language which sounds….SUPER COOLl!
GRANT: No way! I have to check it out on YouTube.
MAK: Yes way! And it sings about how the village is peaceful and the lion is sleeping, so all the children can go to sleep as well.
GRANT: But it’s also about a jungle and I didn’t think they really had a lot of jungle in South Africa?
MAK: That’s a good point bro! I wonder where the biggest jungle in the world is?
GRANT: Great question Mak, I’m glad you asked. It’s the AMAZON jungle which is in South America. It’s so big it covers EIGHT countries and is home to over 2.5 MILLION species of insect!
MAK: Whoa that is big, but I’ll pass on those insects thanks! Ok here’s another question. Does the Amazon jungle have anything to do with the other big Amazon?
GRANT: Wow you’re full of good questions today Mak! You must mean Amazon, the online “everything store”? I don’t know. We need Dad!
MAK: DAAAD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING.
GRANT: IT’S FREEZING OUT HERE.
DAD: No kidding! I’ve been out here for a half an hour trying to climb this HUGE snowdrift!
MAK: Dad, why?
DAD: Because it’s there…
GRANT: Uhh…that’s great dad…but come back inside, WE HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU.
DAD: Ok I guess I could use a break. Pheweee it’s hard work climbing snow, for every two steps up, you slide one step back!
MAK: That does sound EXHAUSTING…I think we’ll stick to playing tennis, thanks.
GRANT: Good call Mak, tennis is AWESOME. Dad, we were talking about Amazon and we have a bunch of questions.
DAD: Cool! Amazon the company or Amazon the jungle?
MAK: Exactly! Do they have any connection with each other?
DAD: Yes, you could say they do! The company was founded by a guy named Jeff Bezos. He wanted a company that started with an “A”, so it would be at the top of any search you’d do.
GRANT: Smart. But what does that have to do with the jungle?
DAD: Well, he also liked the name Amazon because it’s the biggest river in the world and runs through the Amazon jungle. Jeff had HUGE plans for his company.
MAK: Ok but let’s slow it down. You’re going a little fast. Let’s take a step back. Who is this “Bees-ohs” guy?
GRANT: Yeah, if he’s anything like the other billionaires, there must be some crazy stories about him!
DAD: You got that right G-man! So what do you guys know about him already?
MAK: His birth name is Jeff Jorgensen. His parents got divorced and when his mom remarried, his stepfather, Miguel Bezos adopted him. Miguel was an immigrant fleeing Cuba and Fidel Castro.
GRANT: Wow Mak. You’ve been hitting the books, maybe a little TOO hard. From history class, it sounded like leaving Cuba was probably a REALLY good idea, socialism, persecution, no food.
MAK: Sorry…it’s just there’s so much crazy stuff about Jeff Bezos it’s hard to know where to even begin!
DAD: You’re onto something Mak. Just like with Oprah, we’ve seen that a tough start is no barrier to success if you have a great idea and are willing to work hard. Could this be another Billionaire Life Skill?
GRANT: Definitely! Like overcoming obstacles to achieving success?
MAK: Totally! But wait till you hear the next crazy thing! Dad’s gonna love this…one of Jeff’s cousins is none other than country music legend George Strait!
DAD: WHAT! (singing) Write this down, take a little note…
GRANT: Mak, any more country music links, let’s agree not to mention them ok?
DAD: Ok I’ll stop. But I can’t promise I won’t start up again. You know me, once I get going…
MAK: Aaaaand moving on…the next funny thing about Jeff is that he once appeared in a Star Trek movie, although his only line was to say “speak normally” to an alien!
DAD: That is so cool, I guess he was always destined to “live long and prosper”.
GRANT: Daaaaad, do you know that your dad jokes keep getting worse.
MAK: Admit it Grant, life would be a lot more boring without them!
GRANT: True! And, who would we make fun of? (pause) Didn’t Jeff work at McDonalds??
MAK: He did! From flipping burgers to making some SERIOUS GREEN, not a bad turnaround.
GRANT: “Serious green” is a funny way of saying a lot of money right?
DAD: Yep! But, I’m not sure I want to know where she heard it from. Hey, a lot of super-rich people don’t come from rich families. They had “normal” jobs, like Mcdonalds, before becoming crazy successful.
GRANT: Good to know! So, it’s never too late to make it. Jeff’s a great example because he worked several “regular” jobs before starting Amazon.
MAK: You’re right G, he worked in a phone company, he managed a group of people who helped customers with problems, he worked in a bank and had jobs dealing with money… like you dad.
GRANT: Sounds like he was building a bunch of skills he could use later to build Amazon?
DAD: That’s right G. Entrepreneurs build their skills and learn when they can. They are good at making something with what they have. Sort of like a crazy inventive chef vs someone who follows a recipe.
MAK: Like we saw on TV, remember the chef that made bacon-flavored ice cream and snail oatmeal?
GRANT: Eewwww, yeah so gross!
DAD: Everything’s better with bacon, but the snails, I’ll pass. If we don’t have people trying new things, we’d never find out what’s possible. It often takes the ones that get called “crazy” who make it really big.
MAK: And Jeff definitely DID make it big.
GRANT: Agree. But it all could have turned out differently. Back in 2003 he was traveling in a helicopter that crashed in West Texas. He was suuuuper lucky and only had minor injuries.
MAK: Whoah, that sounds pretty scary. Anyone who falls from the sky and survives it is REALLY lucky.
GRANT: No kidding! His life looks like it was packed full of interesting things so far.
MAK: Agree. And we haven’t even mentioned the fact he’s THE….RICHEST…. PERSON….IN….THE….WORLD, and he’s worth a ginormous 175 BILLION dollars. That’s $60 Billion more than Bill.
GRANT: Wowzers. All that from what started as an online book store. I guess you could say he’s the richest store clerk in the world!
DAD: Yeah I guess you could! But for Jeff, getting rich wasn’t a straight line from A to B. He had a LOT of ups, downs…. along the way.
GRANT: Kind of like your snowdrift climbing dad!
MAK: Too true bro! I can’t wait to hear more about Jeff and the story of how he started Amazon next time!
DAD: Me neither. Until next week…
Dad wraps up:
Learning about the story of Jeff Bezos’ life is a great way of getting to understand the billionaire “phenomenon” a little better. In particular, he proves that anyone can make it to being among the world’s super-rich, or at least anyone with the idea and the skills to see it through. Bezos didn’t come from a super-successful family that already had huge businesses and a ton of money who could afford to invest in any crazy idea to make it work. He built it all from nothing.
When looking at his story, we can can continue to identify a couple more of those Billionaire Life Skills:
Overcoming obstacles (Billionaire Life Skill #1): Jeff had all kinds of crazy stuff to deal with, but none of it was a reason for him to fail. Grit and determination are the essential ingredients for anyone who wants to make themselves successful. We spoke about it before, but it’s always worth mentioning again.
Second was Building your skills (Billionaire Life Skill #2): Bezos used every situation as a learning experience, and later, put all that learning together to start Amazon. Making something out of what you have is the only place you can start. Sometimes it’s too easy to think you only need more training or more money or more time. Take every opportunity to build those skills when you can. At some point you have to jump and take the risk. He showed the world that all you need is the guts to make it work with what you have. And he also kept just enough crazy in his life to keep things interesting!
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Money with Mak & G. We’d love to hear from you. Make sure to like, comment and subscribe. Don’t forget to check out our Quizzes for Season #9.
For our next episode, we’ll be learning more about Jeff Bezos and the story behind how he started Amazon! We’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas, send us an email at contact@educounting! Thanks for being here. Until next week…. BYE!