1/ You’ve all heard it by now, #JeffBezos will be stepping down as #Amazon CEO soon. He isn’t going anywhere too far though, he’ll become Executive Chairman instead. You also probably know this viral image of him from 1999, but check out some stuff you might not have, below.
2/ Despite their fierce rivalry today, the Amazon founder was one of the earliest investors in Google. He is said to have invested $250k in 1998 after “falling in love” with Larry and Sergey. His 3.3 million stocks would have been worth ~$5 billion now.
3/ There is an Indian connection to the deal since Bezos was brought to the table by Ram Shriram who had just sold his online comparison-shopping business #Junglee to Amazon. Shriram himself was an early investor in Google and is still on the Alphabet board as a founding member.
4/ Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, taking it public in 1997 - riding the dotcom boom. He was already a billionaire in the picture above, despite the scrappy appearance. He refused to change his car - a Honda Accord, saying in a “60 minutes” interview it was “a perfectly good car”.
5/ He even used to deliver books and packages himself in that very same car, which he was seen using at least until 2013. Today, Amazon employs ~1.3 million workers (full time and temp), roughly the same as Indian Railways and 5 times that of State Bank of India.
6/ His current net worth is ~$197 billion, so he won’t be losing much sleep over the Google investment. He will focus instead on the Day One Fund, Bezos Earth Fund, The Washington Post & his private space company @blueorigin. A space race against @elonmusk's @SpaceX looms.
7/ Bezos calls Blue Origin his “true legacy”, and has funded it since its establishment in 2000 by selling ~$1 billion worth of his Amazon stock every year. He purchased The Washington Post in 2013 for ~$250 million, mostly to improve his standing in political circles.
8/ The Day One Fund, with a corpus of $2 billion, focuses on providing full-scholarship pre-school education to children of underserved communities with a network of Montessori-like institutions. The Earth Fund, with $10 billion to its name, will strive for a cleaner future.
9/ Of course, the feel-good news above doesn’t exactly negate the many allegations of poor working conditions for Amazon’s lower-rung employees and its support to many of its fellow top global polluters. But we’ll leave that for another day. For he’s a jolly good fellow!