Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us how grotesquely rich Jeff Bezos is

Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us how grotesquely rich Jeff Bezos is
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Image: Rick Kern/WireImage

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is keen on calculations, has put Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ wealth into a space-themed perspective for us.

In the last year, Bezos became $40 billion richer, ballooning his wealth to over $130 billion. If this were put into dollar bills, each 6.14 inches long, Tyson calculates that the chain of greenbacks would “circle Earth 200 times then reach the Moon & back 15 times then, with what’s left over, circle Earth another 8 times.” 

For a deeper perspective — not that you asked — the moon’s average distance from Earth is about 238,000 miles, and the Earth’s circumference is about 24,900 miles.

Bezos’ wealth, of course, is driven by Amazon’s success. And a foundational component of Amazon’s success is an “obsession” with giving the customer what they want, as Bezos said in a 2016 letter to shareholders. 

“Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf,” he said. “No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.”

Now, Amazon is backed by so much wealth, it can innovate in wild, futuristic ways, and simply absorb the costs or potential failures at no threat to the company’s sustainability. Take, for instance, the development of Amazon’s autonomous Prime Air delivery drones.

“One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road,” Amazon maintains.

Bezos’ wealth, backed by Amazon stock, will almost certainly continue to trend up. For now, people are coming to terms with Tyson’s current analysis of the Amazon founder’s bank account.

But one history professor pointed out to Tyson — who likes to point out obvious things to people — that his calculations aren’t tenable:

(☝ There’s a whole thread to unpack, in case it’s not clear.)

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