Jeff Bezos

(Image Credit: Success)

Date of Birth: 12th January, 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Nationality: USA

Place of Residence: Seattle Washington

Net Worth: USD $131 billion

Source of Wealth: Self-made, source of wealth: Amazon.com

Education: Princeton University Bachelors degree

Career: Founder and CEO of Amazon

Social Media: Twitter

Political Position: Libertarian-Left 

In His Own Words: 

A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.
There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.
Interactions:

Electioneering:

Bezos has only voted in 4 of the last 24 elections.  He rarely gives more than $10,000 and never more than $100,000 directly to candidate campaigns. However, “as Amazon has beefed up its lobbying efforts, its PAC has steadily increased its contributions to political candidates, giving $1.17 million this cycle compared to $515,200 in 2016 and $151,170 in 2014. Between its PAC and its employees, Amazon has given more than $2.1 million to candidates this cycle, $1.66 million of which was sent to incumbents.” (Open Secrets)

Lobbying/Advocacy:

Bezos donated $2.5 million for a campaign for same-sex marriage inclusion in Washington. He also gave over $100,000 to a campaign against Initiative 1098 in Washington, a bill meant to increase taxes on earners of more than $200,000 annually.  

“Federal records show that Amazon.com Inc. lobbied more government entities than any other tech company in 2018 and sought to exert its influence over more issues than any of its tech peers except Alphabet Inc.’s Google” (Bloomberg). Amazon spent $14.2 million on lobbying in 2018.

Opinion Shaping:

In 2013, Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million. While Bezos has claimed that he wants the paper to remain in its past form and for no major changes to be implemented, the power that he holds as the owner and his ability to guide information that is seen by the general public is tremendous. Many skeptics (including President Donald Trump) believe that he will use the Washington Post to express his libertarian views.

Bezos also influences the public through Amazon.  He will not allow any of the 90,000 employees to unionize.

Philanthropy:

Bezos has made several significant philanthropic donations including $15 million for a new Princeton neuroscience center and $20 million for immunotherapy research. On top of this, Bezos has put $42 million towards the prototype of a project referred to as the Clock of the Long Now, a clock meant to keep time for 10,000 years. 

In 2018, Bezo and former wife make the highest charitable donation; “a $33 million gift in early 2018 to help give college scholarships to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — a.k.a. Dreamers.” And later that year, he launches a $2 billion fund to support homeless families and education programs in underserved communities. Bezos wrote; “I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”

Controversy:

Divorce Scandal affecting Jeff Bezo’s business ownership and net worth. 

Further Reading:

The Politics of Jeff Bezos