Smart! He must be smarter than me; he’s the richest guy in the world.
Jeff Bezos wasn’t always in that position. In fact, the early days of the New Millennium were really tough years for him. Between 1999 and 2002, he lost 85% of his net worth. From that “low point” – his paltry $1.5 billion in late 2002 – he has realized an incredible recovery. Since last July, he has been the world’s wealthiest person; as of March, his net worth is pegged at $130 billion.
Amazon was conceived as an online bookseller; Bezos wrote the business plan while on a road trip, driving from New York to Seattle. The company was birthed in his garage in July of 1994. Four years later, he proposed enterprise diversification, and that inflection point allowed the explosion into the status they now enjoy. Their thirst for growth – new products, new services, new cultures – has not slaked; their future will likely unfold in both predictable and unpredictable paths.
You’d think that Amazon and its dominance in this consumer driven culture would be the most dominant intellectual preoccupation for Mr. Bezos… but you would be wrong. Blue Origin LLC is the space exploration company he founded in 2000 when his own finances were in chaos. Today, he sells about $1 billion in Amazon stock each year and pours the proceeds into privately-held Blue Origin. That company’s pursuits are, in Bezos’ own words, “the most important work I am doing.”
Mr. Bezos believes that the colonization of space is not just an adventure for wealthy Earthlings: “it’s necessary for long-term human survival.” He says that future generations won’t be able to survive on earth without expanding into other parts of the solar system. “We will have to leave this planet, (and) we don’t have a lot of time.” Moon and Mars: here we come!
He’s a self-described space geek and lifelong reader of science fiction novels, according to the Wall Street Journal. For him, it’s not fantasy that diverts him from reality: he’s putting his time, talent and treasure into a future that seems unlikely to most, but non-negotiable to him.
Jeff Bezos is brilliant. High school valedictorian, National Merit Scholar, he finished Princeton undergraduate studies with a 4.2 GPA. Smart guy? No question. But is hesmart about everything?
There are lots of interesting details about Jeffrey Preston Bezos available online, but his faith is a dimension of his life that is unclear. “Christian” is the default identity, but no comment or commitment about him is known to reinforce that assumption.
He’s right: Earth – as a life-friendly ecosystem – has an expiration date stamped on it. That’s fact, not fantasy. Given that reality… what’s the strategy for sustaining human life?
This is not from a science fiction fantasy or a Blue Origin business plan; it’s from the last book of the Bible: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:1-4)
That sounds better than the Moon and Mars! Who gets to go? “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (21:27)
Money won’t get anyone into that City; only faith in Jesus will open the door to Eternity. What’s better than the Forbes List? The Lamb’s List…