Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Amazon's kingpin, Jeff Bezos, now owns the "Washington Post."
Why? Did he buy it to "kindle" it, e-book-ify it in some new way? Will it enable him to do more buying and selling -- of what?
Is Bezos maybe going into Super-PACing? Based on what I've read, I don't think he's into controlling politics -- he's an oddball liberal. Bezos donated $2.5 million to pass a same-sex marriage referendum. He's donated $16,000 to Democrats, and just $2,000 to Republicans. He's spent $42 million to fund the first full-scale Clock of the Long Now, that's designed to last 10,000 years.
That's far, far out, but he's clearly not a man who wants to control who gets elected.
Reading about his childhood and early years, I think that he's a rather wonderfully weird guy, who started out as a precocious brainy, but mosltly average American kid -- a tinkerer -- a youngster who was into sci fit scientific stuff and outer space.
He got a BA degree at Princeton, followed by a job on Wall street where he went into investments, garnering job experience here and there in the money-making businesses, and built a strong resume for a young man who was heading for millionaire-dom.
Bezos is just 49 now, married to the same woman, his first and original wife, with four kids, and, oh yes -- he is a billionaire nowadays. In 1994, while driving to Seattle to attend a conference, (with his wife driving the car), he huddled over a yellow pad, worked out an idea for electronic books. Suddenly, he quit all his jobs, and started his own business.
When I first heard about the Kindle, (brilliant name, I've got to say,) I attacked the idea in a video blog, yelping "Kindle is a stick for firing up a fire -- not for reading!"
I love the feel and look of a printed page. Dreaming of being a best seller writer, (though I'm not), I've have written six books on a computer, so sure, I got into the marvel of analog, then digital computerized words.
But Bezos has changed the world of books. Like Gutenberg back in 1450, whose printing press could produce an amazing 3,600 pages per work day and got the world reading books -- boom -- electronic books was in the news, and selling like hot cakes. By 2010, Kindle and e-book sales hit $2.38 billion.
Today; hardcover books are still being bought; other companies are creating/selling e-books and bookstores all over the world are selling them. Even so, Bezos' Amazon (the guy's got a talent for names) has captured 95 percent of the U.S. market for books in electronic form.
Meanwhile, Bezos' Amazon has gone from being presented as "Earth's biggest bookstore," to the earth's biggest anything store. "Our vision," Bezo has said "is the world's most customer-centric company -- the place where people come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."
Gulping down more products -- anything, everything -- Bezos been creating a giant super store that offers more for less -- pennies less, dollars less, even hundreds of bucks less -- with guarantees, refunds, exchanges and on line, off line help by friendly humans. Whatever you want, you ought to take a look at what Amazon has at a better price.
What does Bezos want?
He reminds me of Thomas Alva Edison, who, just before he died, was working on making synthetic tires out of the goldenrod that grew in his backyard.
Bezos' eye translates, (sort of kindalizes) everything we need, use, crave, dream of, into a new form. I think the child Jeff's dream of outer space is where he lives. and where he's heading physically and spiritually. Out there in a "space" that we can't really conceive of yet, this guy is seeing, shaping, furnishing a world that doesn't exist yet, with things he intuits, senses, that I need, you need, we need, or will need someday.
Is there's a bit of Steve Jobs in him, and also a bit of Bill Gates and yes, even of Mark Zuckerberg? Maybe.
I think Jeff Bezos is one of the super-smart good guys, who's compelled by his own dreams to create a bigger, better, freer world.