- During an interview at The Economic Club of Washington, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told a funny story about the time in college when a friend helped him with a difficult math problem.
- “That was the very moment when I realized I was never going to be a great theoretical physicist,” Bezos said.
- The friend he mentioned, Yasen Rajakarunanayake, responded on Twitter, saying it was “amazing” that Bezos remembered the interaction after 34 years.
Even the richest man in the world struggled with his math homework back in the day.
During a recent interview at The Economic Club of Washington, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the crowd about the time a friend helped him with a difficult math problem while he attended Princeton.
After Bezos struggled with the math problem, a partial differential equation, for three hours, he visited his friend, Yasantha Rajakarunanayake. Without writing anything down, Rajakarunanayake solved the equation in seconds.
“He brings us into his room, he sits us down, he writes out three pages of detailed algebra, everything crosses out, and the answer is cosine,” Bezos told the audience. “And I said, ‘Listen, Yasantha, did you just do that in your head?’ And he said ‘No, that would be impossible. Three years ago, I solved a very similar problem. And I was able to map this problem onto that problem, and then it was immediately obvious the answer was cosine.'”
“And that was an important moment for me: that was the very moment when I realized I was never going to be a great theoretical physicist,” Bezos said, as the audience laughed.
WATCH! The world richest man and Founder & CEO of Amazon, @JeffBezos Explains how a Srilankan guy, Yoshantha, helped him to solve most difficult math problem when he was in Princeton university. and why Srilankan names are three lines long ???? #lk pic.twitter.com/fNrIxrDWCK
— Podi Malli (@PodiMalli) September 17, 2018
Rajakarunanayake, who Bezos described as “the smartest guy at Princeton,” saw the video of the interview and responded on Twitter, saying it was “amazing” that Bezos remembered the interaction after 34 years.
Wow! Jeff is talking about me. Amazingly he remembers interacting with me 34 years ago. What a memory! Also no Amazon if it weren’t for this, since he decided not to pursue physics! https://t.co/kZrB9Qhjf6
— Yasantha R (@yasantha62) September 18, 2018