It was only a matter of time. After years of being in second place—excluding a 12-hour stint on July 27th, earlier this year—Jeff Bezos has become the latest man to earn this exalted title: World’s Richest Person. The Amazon founder and CEO—and current owner of The Washington Post—saw his company’s stock surge last night, rocketing his own bank account to $90.6 billion. (Bill Gates, the frontrunner since time immemorial, clocks in at $88.5 billion.) But as it turns out, there’s a lot more to the guy than a bunch of zeros. Here, the nine craziest facts you didn’t know about the newly crowned world’s richest person. And if you want to pad your own savings with some more zeros, Here’s How to Earn $500,000 in Your Spare Time.
He used to be a Wall Street guy.
As a post-grad, Bezos headed to Wall Street. He worked at Fitel, Bankers Trust, and D.E. Shaw before realizing the moneymaking potential of a then-nascent Internet. Of note: Bezos met his wife, MacKenzie, at D.E. Shaw.
He created the Amazon business plan on the road.
Once they quit D.E. Shaw, Bezos and MacKenzie drove across the country, from New York to Seattle, to break into a burgeoning tech industry. Legend has it that Bezos drafted the entire business plan—to completion—for Amazon on this road trip. We wonder if he was driving any of the 10 Best Droptops to Embark on a Road Trip With.
You can email him directly.
After a New York Times ran a bombshell in 2015 about Amazon’s corporate culture Bezos publicly disseminated his direct email address, imploring any disgruntled employees or unsatisfied customers to contact him with any concerns. (Shoot him a cold email at firstname.lastname@example.org!)
He’s a secret movie star.
Jeff Bezos is a diehard fan of Star Trek. However, Bezos leveraged his immense power and wealth to badger Viacom CEOs into giving him a speaking cameo. Eventually, they relented; Bezos has a cameo in the most recent film, 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. He’s completely covered in makeup as an alien, and only has two words: “Speak normally.”
He’s sworn off helicopters.
In 2003, Bezos was involved in a helicopter crash. Thankfully, he walked away relatively unharmed—the guy suffered just a few minor head lacerations. However, the crash (rightfully!) scared Bezos away from helicopters for good: He hasn’t ridden in one since.
He cares deeply about his safety.
It’s fitting for the richest man in the world: Jeff Bezos spends $1.6 million per year on person security guards to protect him and his family. (An aside: According to Chris Pine, he showed up to the Star Trek Beyond set with three limos and nine individual guards.)
He once invested in Google.
Back in 1998, Bezos invested $250,000 into a little search engine that could: Google. Today, that $250,000 is worth $3.1 billion. Bezos Expeditions, his investment fund, has gone on to put money into Airbnb, Uber, and ZocDoc. And for more on the behemoth search engine, learn the 15 Craziest Facts About Google.
He’s involved in building the world’s craziest clock.
Deep in a mountain—buried 500 feet under the peak—in Texas, a group of engineers are constructing a clock that will last 10,000 years. The kicker? It ticks only once a century. Bezos has put up the cash for the whole endeavor—and supplied the land.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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