A lot of CEO’s have made their company’s headquarters in their home city, so if the Amazon head office is located in Seattle, Washington it would make sense that Jeff Bezos is from Seattle.
No, Jeff Bezos is not from Seattle. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and spent all of his formative years in the southern states. Most notably, were his time spent growing up in Texas and attending high school in Miami.
You can read more about where Jeff Bezos grew up and why he chose Seattle for Amazon by scrolling down.
Growing Up in New Mexico and Texas
As mentioned above, Jeff Bezos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He lived there with his mother, Jackie, and biological father and then with his adoptive father, Mike Bezos. It was when his father, Mike, was offered a job with Exxon that the family moved to Texas.
The family moved to a town outside of Houston, Texas and Jeff attended the Vanguard magnet program at a school in Houston. A Vanguard magnet program is a school program designed to benefit gifted and talented children. The school Bezos attended was called River Oaks Elementary School. In the fourth grade, it was at River Oaks that Bezos first learned about computers and computer programming. That year clearly had a large impact on Bezos because he went out of his way to wish his fourth grade teacher a Happy 80th Birthday in 2018.
You can watch a KHOU Houston news report about Bezos’ birthday message by following the below YouTube link.
Bezos’ Years in Miami and Attending Princeton
When Bezos’ father was transferred to the Miami area for work, the entire family moved. Jeff attended high school at Miami Palmetto High School and while there like almost everywhere, he made his mark.
As this Wired article highlights, “Besides securing the valedictorian’s title, Bezos was also one of three members of his graduating class awarded a Silver Knight Award, a prestigious academic honor in south Florida high schools, sponsored by Knight Ridder’s Miami Herald.”
After graduating from high school, Bezos moved to New Jersey to attend the ivy league university Princeton. Much the same as in elementary and high school, Bezos maintained a high GPA and after graduating worked in New York City. At first he debugged code, but quickly worked his way into the world of executives. He was the youngest Vice President at not one, but two different companies.
Why Seattle for Amazon’s HQ?
With Bezos’ connection to the south and east coast of the United States, you are probably wondering why he moved to the other side of the country to start his business. He had two very good reasons.
The first reason would be taxes. Washington state is one of only nine states that does not have any income tax. That means that whatever money he was making off of Amazon, he wouldn’t have to pay taxes on. But wait, two states that he had already lived in were on that list too: Texas and Florida. Well, Washington state still had more to offer other than being a tax haven.
The second reason would be that there was a much larger pool of programming and engineering talent in Seattle than any other of the tax haven states. Bezos would have access to some of the country’s top talent without having to pay to relocate new hires. He would also be closer to Silicon Valley, the other area where top talent sits. California is one of the most heavily taxed states and that is why Bezos did not choose to locate his headquarters there.
Even though he didn’t have a connection to Seattle, Washington, locating Amazon there really did make sense. From a business perspective, Bezos was able to save himself tons of money and have access to some of the world’s top talent. As has been proven time and time again, there is no decision that Jeff Bezos makes without looking at every angle.