If I titled this blog “Joy Covey, RIP” it is likely that no one would look at it because they probably don’t know Joy Covey by name.
Last week, Joy Covey died at 50 years old in a cycling accident – a collision with a car – in San Mateo County, California. Joy Covey was an amazing person who should be of interest to entrepreneurs, libertarians, autodidacts, and generally, those who reject the status quo.
Joy’s short story is that she dropped out of high school in her freshman year because she was bored. She chose to work at a grocery store in Fresno while she obtained her high school equivalency exam so she could attend Cal State – Fresno. She graduated with her BBA at the age of nineteen and obtained her certification as a Certified Public Accountant. Her score on the CPA exam was the second highest in the United States for that sitting of the exam. She later received a JD and MBA from Harvard, and she described her years at Harvard as “not fitting in.” It’s great to note why she was bored and chose a different, more accelerated path away from the conventional wisdom: her IQ was 173.
She became a CFO in her twenties and later went to work for Amazon at the point where the company had only 150 employees. She was the company’s first CFO and guided the company’s IPO. Joy was so sure where Amazon would go in terms of size and success that she took a salary of less than $100k and instead chose to receive stock options. Forbes later declared her net worth to be more than $200 million.
I love this quote from a New York Times piece on Covey:
8:14 pm on September 27, 2013 Email Karen De Coster
In its early days, Amazon prided itself on its unconventional hires, telling staffing agencies to “send us your freaks.” Ms. Covey did not have a traditional background.