Recently Jeff Bezos the founder and the CEO of Amazon created quite a tension around Sri Lanka for his recalling of a Sri Lankan student back in the day at the University of Princeton, who helped him solve a math equation. This interview was held at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. on the 13th September
Economic Club of Washington established in 1986 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created to strengthen ties among the diverse and growing business community-based in Metropolitan Washington D.C and with the diplomatic community. This is a stage where Internationally renowned speakers address global industry trends at breakfast, luncheons, and dinner Signature Events. The Club also hosts programs that provide top executives with opportunities to exchange insightful business-focused information.
Jeff Bezos, CEO Of Amazon was the invite for the September 13th conference where he addresses the secret sauces of Amazon. During this interview, the host questions “How come you wanted to go to Princeton?” to which he replied exaggerating the Sri Lankan Yasantha Rajakarunanayake solved his Math equation. Watch the links to see Jeff recalling his experience.
Here’s the full interview:
This is what Bezos said:
“I can’t solve this partial differential equation. It is really, really hard. (I was) studying with my roommate Joe, who is really good at maths. The two of us worked on this homework for three hours. And we got nowhere.”
“We finally said ‘Yasantha’, because he was the smartest guy at Princeton. And we went to Yasantha’s room. And he was Sri Lankan. And in the Facebook, which was an actual paperbook at the time, his name was three lines long. He was the most humble, wonderful guy. And we show him this problem.”
“He looks at it, stares at it for a while and says ‘Cosine’. We are like ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘That’s the answer’.”
“He brings us into his room and writes out three pages of detailed algebra. Everything crosses out and the answer is cosine. I said ‘Listen Yasantha. Did you just do that in your head?’ 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 it was immediately obvious that the answer was cosine’.
“That was an important moment for me because that very moment I realized I was never going to be a great theoretical physicist.”
This great storytelling of Bezos created the buzz around the Sri Lankans, taking pride to know, that a Sri Lankan made the world’s richest man understand he was not for the theoretical physicist.
According to the print, Yasantha R, had an impression that he had been hacked following the conference of Bezos.
“I think Jeff had done the interview on 13 September, and by 15th, I was getting spam in my LinkedIn inbox,” said Yasantha.
“Several people were asking me,’Are you Jeff Bezos’ Yoshanta’. I thought someone had hacked my Linkedin and was quite worried. They had misspelled my name as well.”
This was finally seen by Yasantha by the 18th September and hailed him through a tweet.
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