Some of his private investments, such as his deal for The Post, are marked even more by a fascination with pursuing lofty goals requiring extremes of perseverance.
Bezos has invested millions in a space flight company, a reflection of his passion for “moonshot” innovations, and, perhaps most symbolic of his endurance, he is also helping to lead an effort to build a clock that will tick for 10,000 years.
“It’s a special Clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking,” he has written of the machine, which is to be built inside a mountain in West Texas. “As I see it, humans are now technologically advanced enough that we can create not only extraordinary wonders but also civilization-scale problems. We’re likely to need more long-term thinking.”
In a letter to Post employees, Bezos said that “journalism plays a critical role in a free society.” In other remarks he has made clear his belief that journalism will endure despite the challenges wreaking havoc across U.S. newsrooms.
Bezos has said he reads newspapers only in their digital form and warned that the industry’s prosperity depends on its transition to new media.
“Journalism is not going to disappear,” Bezos told the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung in a November interview.
“We have found out that people are willing to pay for their newspaper subscriptions on their tablets,” he said. “Tablets will further influence our everyday life. Soon every household will have more than one tablet. This will be normal. And these trends will strengthen newspapers.”
When asked whether the Kindle Fire or iPad could save newspapers, Bezos said: “I would not go that far and speak of saving newspapers. The enduring transition period from printed to digital newspapers is difficult to handle for many publishing houses businesswise, because they have to offer print and digital at the same time. They have to be present at both fields, and that is a problem.”
He predicted in the interview that printed newspapers will not be commonly used in 20 years.
Born in 1964 in Albuquerque to a 17-year-old mother, Bezos never met his biological father. He was adopted by Mike Bezos, who married his mother just before he was born. Jeff took his stepfather’s last name.
The family moved around a bit, and Bezos graduated as class valedictorian from a high school in Miami-Dade County, already harboring dreams of being a space entrepreneur. He attended Princeton, from which he graduated summa cum laude majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. While working at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in New York and researching the possibilities of e-commerce, Bezos realized that one of the most obvious things to sell online was books.