Friday 20 April 2018

Six things you may not know about Amazon's Jeff Bezos who was (briefly) world's richest man

Chief executive Jeff Bezos
Chief executive Jeff Bezos

Cara McGoogan and Matthew Field

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has passed milestone after milestone this year as the online retailer's value has surged. At the end of July he became the world's richest person, for a brief moment, outstripping rival Bill Gates.

Here are six things you didn't know about Jeff Bezos, now worth around $90.8bn.


His first job was at McDonald's

The Amazon founder has had a long and varied career that started decades ago in a local McDonald's. Bezos, who was born in Albuquerque in 1964, worked at the fast food chain as a teenager, flipping burgers and cleaning up ketchup in a local branch of the restaurant .

He has previously said the work taught him skills not available in school, including responsibility and being serious:

He was an early investor in Google

Despite being one of Amazon's arch rivals now, Bezos is an investor in Google. He was one of the first backers of the search giant, investing $250,000 in 1998.

Back then Google shares were worth $0.04. They are now $966 per share meaning, if Bezos had held onto them all, they would be worth around $6bn.

Read more: Amazon's Bezos tops world rich list

He is building a mystery clock in the desert

One of Bezos' more left field ventures is a large mechanical clock being built in the desert that is designed to run for 10,000 years. Bezos has invested around $42m in the Long Now foundation's durable clock, which is being built 500 feet into a mountain in Texas. It is designed to withstand weather erosion, earthquakes and the passing of time. Powered by human winding and solar power Bezos hopes it will outlive the Pyramids and Amazon.

"We humans have become so technologically sophisticated that in certain ways we're dangerous to ourselves," Bezos told the Wall Street Journal in an interview about the clock. "It's going to be increasingly important over time for humanity to take a longer-term view of its future."

Young Bezos is almost unrecognisable

Bezos has somewhat transformed his image compared to the geeky, Silicon Valley worker of the 1990s. While photos of 1990s edition Bezos, fresh from Amazon's IPO, show a scrawny, brown-jumpered look, modern Bezos is something else.

He owns the 'Amazon Washington Post'

In 2013 Jeff Bezos moved into news, buying the 140-year-old Washington Post for $250m. Since then, the Post has achieved major digital growth.

His stake in the Post has not pleased everyone. In fact, Donald Trump has taken consistent aim at the internet mogul’s stake in one of the US’ biggest publications, repeatedly branding it the “Amazon Washington Post”.

He starred in the Star Trek Beyond film

Bezos has been a fan of Star Trek since his childhood, even saying the Amazon Alexa AI assistant was inspired by the computer on board the Enterprise.

So Bezos managed to fullfill a childhood dream of appearing science fiction franchise in the latest film Star Trek Beyond. However, his part is easy to miss. In the film, Bezos is heavily made-up as an alien officer of Star Fleet and is only on-screen for a few seconds.

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