“If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”
By Jeff Bezos.
Jeff Bezos has spent more than 30 million euros on a 60-meter clock built to last 10,000 years on a mountain in the Texas desert. “I do it as a symbol of long-term thinking,” explained Amazon’s founder last year. “If you look in the long term you can solve problems that you can not fix otherwise,” he said about the project, one of the few that makes Bezos secretive.
Also in Texas, the founder of Amazon has set up a space plant where he tries to build a vehicle to transport astronauts to the international station (at the moment with little success, since he has had to destroy the first prototypes). Spend money to recover the remains of Apollo 11 on the Florida coast or to explore mining on other planets. But the project of the clock, baptized ‘The Long Now’, is perhaps the one that best represents him.
“Unlike the typical financial investor, Jeff Bezos is truly focused on the long term, taking advantage of any opportunity to reinvest the potential benefits of today into an exciting project that can bear fruit tomorrow,” explains Henry Blodget, director of Business Insider. an economic website and until now the only journalistic project financed by Bezos.
Jeff Bezos, is elusive when he is interrogated by concrete plans, including minutiae. His name appears in a patent for an ‘air-bag’ for mobiles, but he does not recognize working on the invention.
In his few public statements, Bezos often talks about innovation. Already in 1982, just after finishing high school and recently rewarded with a national science award, he told the Miami Herald that he wanted to “build hotels in space, playgrounds, yachts and colonies for two or three million people orbiting around the earth. “
Bezos was born in Albuquerque (New Mexico), but grew up in Miami with his mother, Jackie, and his adoptive father, Mike Bezos, a Cuban who arrived as a teenager in the United States thanks to an aid plan for poor children that ended up working for the oil company Exxon. The Cuban, who officially adopted Jeff when the child was four years old, is the only father the entrepreneur knows.
Although he studied engineering at Princeton with the intention of dedicating himself to space, Bezos found a job in an investment fund on Wall Street and began to think about more earthly tasks, such as electronic commerce. At the age of 30 he moved with his wife, novelist, to Seattle, and created Amazon in his garage.
Shipping on line
What started as an online bookstore now sends out washing machines. But Bezos continues to answer customer e-mails. A former employee remembers that a few months ago the boss wanted to keep track of a package that had arrived a day late and did not stop until he discovered that the fault was in a half minute delay in loading a truck.
His big public fight is about how to avoid state taxes on his shipments. He has also appealed to freedom of expression to sell Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ and not censor comments from users. He is not very interested in politics, but he donated nearly two million euros to support the referendum to legalize gay marriage in the state of Washington (the “yes” won).