Jeff Bezos Talks Amazon, Blue Origin, Family, And Wealth
If. Welcome, to Berlin thanks it's great to be here I have, to tell you when we were sitting in the first row just a couple of minutes ago when the heartbeat. Was. There Jeff looked at me and I was breathing in and out and he looked at me and asked what years are you nervous he said yes I'm always nervous on occasions, like that then, he said so. Am I really. The, richest man the world is nervous because he received the Oxford Springer award. So. Be, a, bit forgiving. We. Are both nervous. Jeff, we are so glad to, really celebrate you tonight, most. Importantly, apart from all the reasons, that. We heard, because. You are role model for other young. Founders. For, entrepreneurs, who really have great. Ideas crazy, ideas, unconventional. Ideas and need. Encouragement to simply do it and go, for it and you have shown it to the world so that is, really for. Me the. Most important, thing and in. That context, the first question you. Used to work in New York as an investment banker so in an investment banker is actually the exact opposite, of an entrepreneur, he's delegating, risks to other people and basically. How. Did you find out how, did you think. That you should move from Investment. Banking to really launch a company I. Think. I'd always wanted, to do it even since I was a kid I had the idea of, the people who every time I look at something it, looks like, it could be improved, you know there's something wrong with it so I go through it like how, could, this restaurant. Be better how could you, know and so, I've always had that kind of idea by, the way before we really, get into this the, how about this amazing, production. The, you and your team have put together this is truly incredible it for, its originality, like, these boxes. That you were filming live that's just crazy, cool, so thank, you like it. It's. Incredible, but, I think, the. Great thing about humans. In general is, we're, always improving things and so entrepreneurs. And. Inventors. And. You know if they follow their curiosity. And they, follow. Their passions, and they figure something out and then they figure how to make it better and they're never satisfied. And. And, you need to harness that in my view you, need to harness that energy. Primarily. On your, customers. Instead. Of on your competitors. And so where I see I sometimes see, companies. And even young small. Startup companies entrepreneurs go, awry is they start to pay more attention to their competition than, they do to their customers, and I, think that that I, think.
That In big mature industries. That. Can be that might be a, winning. Approach, in some cases kind, of close following, let other people be the pioneers, and you. Know and, go, down the blind alleys there's many things that a, new inventive, company, tries won't work, and. So those mistakes, and errors and failures do cost real, money and. And and so maybe in a mature industry that we're growth rates are slow and changes, very slow but, as you see in the world more and more there. Aren't very many mature. Industries, change is happening everywhere, you know we see it in the automobile industry with. Self-driving, cars and but, you could go right down the line of every industry and you would see it but, wait do you have any idea where where your ambition, really comes. From what was, driving you I really. Don't know, you. Know my I've been passionate about certain, things, forever. And I fell, in love with computers, in fourth grade I got very lucky my. Elementary, school had. A teletype. That got connected to a mainframe computer that, some business, and, downtown. Houston, donated, a little bit of computer, time to this is you know you can picture these teletypes. They had the punch tape and they. Had 300. Baud modem you, would dial up the phone and put it in the cradle and so, we had some time sharing on that mainframe computer, none, of the teachers knew how to use it so me and two other kids date after school and sort of figured out how to do it and figure it out and kind of taught ourselves programming. From, books I think, one thing that is I. Got. Very, lucky early, in my childhood look we all get, gifts. And. We, get certain. Things our life that our that. We're very lucky about and one, of the most powerful one is who your early role models are you know you could think it was your grandfather. It was in a big sense maybe my mom and dad but my grandfather too, and. You. Know I had my mom had me when she was. 17. Years, old and she, was still in high school in, Albuquerque New Mexico and, this, is in 1964. I can assure you that being. A pregnant, teenager. In high school was not cool in Albuquerque, New Mexico at, that time and. So. It's. In, so. It was a very it, was difficult for her my, grandfather, went to bat for her they, tried to kick her out of school and you know he, they're. Incredible, I had so, the gift I had is I had this incredible, family could, you describe a little bit the role of your grandfather, because sure let's mentioned it I think it was it. Was super, important, for me and and I spent, an unusual, amount of time with. My. Grandparents. And especially with my grandfather, on the ranch so he had a ranch in South Texas and, I. Would spend my summers there from age 4 to 16, and, they when I was four they were taking, me for, the summer to kind of give my parents a break you. Know it's sort of because they were so young. And. It, was useful and I was a handful, I'm sure and. And. Anyway, hee, hee hee, hee created. The illusion for me when I was 4 years old that I was helping, him on the. Ranch which. Of course could, not have been true but. I believed, it and, and. Then it's by the time I was 16 of course I was actually helping on the ranch I you know I could I can fix prolapsed, cattle, I can you, know we did all of our veterinary. Work some. Of the cattle even survived. And we. Fixed windmills, and laid you, know water pipelines, and built fences, and barns, and fix, that fixed the bulldozer that you guys talked about and so, one, of the things that's so interesting about, that, lifestyle. And about my grandfather, is he. Did everything himself. You, know he didn't call of that if one of the animals was sick he figured out what to do himself and.
So. What does it mean no delegation being resourceful, I think is the you know that you can always you can't if there's a problem there's. A solution and of. Course as you as you mature, and, and get into the business world and anything you do on a team you very quickly realize that it's, not about just your own resourcefulness. It's about team, resourcefulness, and how does that work and, but. That attitude, of my grandfathers was. Very but he was full of wisdom you know John, mentioned the story about the, words, my grandfather gave to me at one point of it's. It's harder to be kind than clever that, story, the the slightly longer version of that story because this was really powerful wisdom. Is that, I made my grandmother, burst into tears and the. Way I did it was we were driving. On a long road trip and she. Was a chain-smoker. And this, was I was probably I, don't, know ten years old so this was around. 1974. And, it. Was in a period of time where there were heavy, radio, advertisements. Sort of anti-smoking. Radio. Advertisements. Trying to convince people to stop smoking and, one, of the advertisements, had. This figure. In it it said something like, every. Puff of a cigarette takes, so. Many minutes off of your life I think it was two minutes but I can't remember every, puff of a cigarette so I sat there in the backseat on this. Long, car. Ride and calculated. How many years, she. Had, taken off of her life and, in. My ten-year-old. Mind, I had been extremely clever to do this and so when, I was finished with my arithmetic, I. Proudly. Announced to her how, many years she had taken, off of her life, and I. Got a reaction, I did not expect. With, her bursting into tears and so, my grandfather stopped, the car, and he. Took. Me out of the car and I had no idea what's about to happen because he, had never said a cross word to me and I thought his he might actually be angry with me but he wasn't he took me out just cuz so she we had some privacy from her and he, said this these incredible. Words that you're gonna he said you're gonna figure out one day that. It's harder to be kind than clever. Actually. Your brother also plays an important role you have a very good religiously. Try that he's still a firefighter, he is he's a volunteer firefighter, in Scarsdale New York he's also the funniest person I know when. I'm with him I'm just laughing continuously. First of all I'm a good audience, I you know I I. Laugh, easily. But, but, he he, is really. Very very. Funny and my sister too we're all very close and I, have my mother to, thank for that because, she worked hard to make sure as we grew up that we stayed close together and she. Takes all the grandkids for one week every summer so that me and my sister and our spouses can go on a trip together so, we end up spending a lot of time together, for. Me the most moving image that we saw tonight is the one that John showed. Where, you and Mackenzie are preparing. The, table the famous table, which, is very. Moving because it shows how he really starts from the very scratch, I mean and, also. It illustrates, symbolically, that it was the the launch of Amazon was really something that you did together. Oh yeah but you tried a little bit what, Mackenzie's, role was. Mackenzie. You know she had married this stable, guy working, on Wall Street and a. Year after we got married I, went to her and said I want to quit my job, move. Across the country and, start this. Internet. Bookstore, and Mackenzie. Of course like everybody that I explained this to her. First question was what's the internet because, nobody knew this is, 1994. And, but. But, she even, before she could say what's the internet she said great let's go, because, she, wanted to support. It and she knew that I had always had this passion for invention. And and. And and starting a company and so. Again. I think you, know McKenzie. Is an example of this but. It's. Talking about with my my mom and my, dad who's a Cuban immigrant and you have he, came to the, US when he was 16. And refugee. Camp in the Everglades, they. Are, they're. So loving, and supportive, that when you have loving and supportive people in your life like McKenzie my parents my grandfather, my grandmother you.
End Up. Being. Able to take risk because. I think it's one of those things you know it, doesn't. You. Kind of know somebody's, got your back and, so it's just as you're. Thinking about it logically it's an emotional, thing so, for, me you, think that unconditional laughs if you feel and experience unconditional laughs it's I think. By. The way I think it's probably true of all kinds of risks in life not just starting, a business I mean life is full different risks and I think that when. You think about the things that you will regret when, you're 80 they, are almost always, the things that you did not do they are acts of omission they're. Not you're not very, rarely are you gonna regret. Something that you did and it failed and didn't work or whatever but the acts of omission the, thing you know it's, not and I got I'm not just about business things it's like you. Know I, loved. That person and I never told. Them and then you know 50. Years later like why didn't I tell her you know why didn't I go after it so, that's the kind of that's, the kind of life regret, that is very hard to. Be. Happy about when. You're telling, yourself in, a private moment that. Story, of your life, so. I think it's it's anyway, I have been I've. Been won that lottery I won that lottery of having so, many people in my life. Who. Gave, have given me that unconditional. Love and and I do think you know Mackenzie's definitely one of those and so we moved and then, Mackenzie, who. Has officially no. Skill. In this area at all really. I mean you're the least suited person for this she, did our accounting. For. Like the first year was, it the first year something, like that and, she. Did it well I mean that's really that's, what's amazing my, wife is a is a novelist, she's won the American Book Award. You, know Toni. Morrison, and the Nobel Prize winning author who, is Mackenzie's, teacher at Princeton, so, did she, said. On Charlie, on the Charlie Rose show that, Mackenzie, Toni Morrison, the no oppressor said about Mackenzie the Mackenzie, was. Her best student ever and. So anyway, she's Mackenzie, there's a very talented novelist, but she is not an accountant. But. She pulled it off and then you know again you know just we all get done what we need to get done did she then suggests that you focus on book business at the beginning the author no I there was you already I picked, books it is true you know she's a big reader I'm a big reader but the but, that's not why I picked books I picked books because. There. Were more items, in the book category, than any other category and, so you could build, Universal. Selection, there were three million in 1994. When I was, pulling. This idea, together the. The, the three million different books active, and in print at any given time in the largest physical bookstore has only had about a hundred and fifty thousand, different titles and so, I could see how you could make a bookstore, online with Universal, selection, every, book ever printed even, out of print ones was the original vision for the, company and so that's why books and when did you know that Amazon, is going to.
Be Something way bigger than just a bookstore well, I knew that the books strangely. Because I was very prepared for this to take a really long time I knew that the books. Business, was gonna be successful in the first thirty days I was shocked, at. How many books we sold we were ill-prepared. You. Know I had we, had all the we, had only ten people in the company at that time and most of them are software engineers and so everybody including, me and the suckers were all like packing boxes, we, didn't even have packing, tables, and down, we were on our hands and knees on a concrete floor packing, the boxes, and about. You know 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning I said to one of my software. Engineering colleagues, I said. You. Know Paul, we. This is killing my knees we, need to get knee pads and Paul. Looked at me and he's like Jeff we, need to get packing, tables. And. I was, like oh my, god that is such a good idea the, next day I bought packing, tables and it doubled our productivity, and probably, saved our backs and our knees to. Amazon. Had serious, crisis is in 2000, oh you went almost. Bankrupt. So what, went wrong and what did you learn we, had, so many there's been so many we. Haven't had any existential, crisis. Knock on wood if, I don't, want to jinx anything. But. We've had a lot of, kind. Of dramatic. Events I remember. There. Early, on we. Only had 125. Employees. When. Barnes and Noble who the big you at united states bookseller. Opened. Their online, website. To compete against us Barnes and noble.com we'd had about a two year window we opened in 95, they. Opened in 97, and at, that time all of the headlines and the funniest were about how we were about to be destroyed. By this much larger company we had 125. Employees and. 60. Million dollars, a year in, annual sales, 60 million with an M and, that. And. Barnes, and Noble at the time had, 30,000. Employees and. About. Three, billion dollars, in sales, so, they, were giant, we were tiny and we. Had limited resources and, the, the headlines, were very. Negative about Amazon, and the. One that's most minimal our memorable, was just, Amazon, toast. And. And. So. I called, it All Hands meeting which. Was not hard to do with just 125, people and, we got in a room and because it was so scary. For all of us this. Idea that now we finally had a big competitor, that, literally. Everybody's. Parents were calling and saying you know are you ok is the figure it's, usually the moms, calling. And asking their, children are you gonna be ok so and, I said look you know it, it's okay to be afraid but. Don't be afraid of our competitors, because they're, never going to send us any money, be afraid of our customers, and if we just stay focused on them and. Instead. Of obsessing. Over, this big competitor, that we just got that. Will be fine, and. I really do believe that I think that if you stay focused then the more. Drama. There is and, everything else no matter what the drama is whatever the external, distraction, is the. The what your response, to it should be to double, down on the, customer. Satisfying. Them not just satisfying their delighting, them yeah today. Amazon, is. Employing, five, hundred sixty, six thousand people you're probably the biggest. Job creator of recent. Times at. The same time you aggressively. Criticized, by unions, and by media. For, paying. Low. Wages for. Inappropriate. Working, conditions, how, do you deal with these, accusations, well. First. Of all when any criticism.
Aren't, My approach to criticism, and what I teach. And preach inside, Amazon is when. You're criticized, first. Look, in a mirror and decide. Are your critics right if. They're right, change. Don't. List no, but. Not in this case but we've had critics be right before and we've changed we have we have made mistakes and. You know I can go I can go through a long list though probably the one, of the early most painful, ones it's. It's so stupid, it's hard to believe how. We, ever did it but, I'm in, the early. On with the Kindle maybe the first year of the Kindle or the second year of the Kindle we. Had, accidentally. Illegally. Sold. For. Given, away I guess copies, of the. Famous. Novel 1984. Because. It had a complicated, copyright, history it was in. Copyright, in the US and not in the UK or something strange like this so it was in the public domain but only in certain geographies. And we, had screwed that up and. The. Somehow. And this, is this is a kind of mistake that only a corporation, can make an individual, can't make this mistake because. Somehow it's like it happens at the at. The intersections. Of the different teams so you've got the legal department saying. Oh crap we've made this mistake and, and, you've got the books team anyway. The. Answer that the, the, company. Came up with was. - without. Any notice or warning just. Electronically. Go, into, everybody's, kindle who had downloaded that book and just disappear. It. So. It would be as if we walked into your bedroom in. The middle of the night found. Your bookshelf, and just. Took. That book away and. And. So it was a hit so we were rightly criticized, for that it, was and, and and we we, responded, to that on the condition, and the issue of of, working, conditions I'm, very proud of our working conditions and I'm very proud of the wages that we pay you know in Germany we employ. 16,000. People we, pay at the high end of the range for any. Comparable, work so, is it a union right because, the union want to make sure that you are unionized, or what, is the real substance of the code it's a good question I you know and this is in my longer.
Version, Of how to deal with critics, because there are two kinds of critics. There. Are well-meaning, critics. Who. You. Know they, they're. Worried, it's not gonna work but, they do want it to work and so, it could be I can give you example customer reviews and be one of those when. We first did customer, reviews, 20. Years ago publishers. Were some book publishers, we're not happy about it because some of them are negative and, so it was very controversial, practice, at that time but we thought was right and so we stuck to our guns and, and and. And had a DP on that and didn't didn't didn't change. But. There's. A second kind of critic, which, is the self-interested. Critic and they come in all shapes and sizes you know they're so. They can be any kind of institution. Competitors. Of, course, and so, when you are doing some in a new way and if, customers, embrace, the new way, what's. Gonna happen is, incumbents. Who are practicing the older way are, not, going to like you and they're. Gonna be self-interested, critics, and so you do need if you're looking yourself in the mirror to try and tease those two things apart you. Know in our view you, know we have Verret, we have we, have workers councils, of course and we have very good communications. With our employees so we don't. Believe that we need a union to be, an intermediary, between us, or our employees but. Of course at the end of the day it's always the employees choice and, and. That's how it should be so we're but. But for sure we would be very naive to, believe, that, we're not going to be criticized, I mean that's just part of the terrain. You have to accept that when I tell people is if you're gonna be if you're gonna do anything new or innovative, you. Have to be willing to be misunderstood. If, you, cannot, if, you can't afford to be misunderstood. Then for goodness sake don't do anything new or innovative Maggie. Thatcher said leadership is not to be pleased by the moment, perfect. But. Your. Most prominent, critic at the moment is the President of the United States people. Are even saying that he may be willing, to prepare. Initiatives. To break up Amazon because it's too big it's too successful. It's too dominant in too many sectors, or for very other reasons, first, of all is this scenario. Of a brake of something that you take, seriously or. You. Think it's just a fantasy for. Me again, this is one of the things where you.
Know I focus. On a NASCAR. Teams to focus on what we can control, and I. Expect. Whether, it's you know the current US administration or. Any, other government. Agency anywhere in the world Amazon. Is now a large. Corporation. And I, expect, us to be scrutinized we. Should be scrutinized I think all large institutions. Should be. Scrutinized. And, examine, it's it's, reasonable. And, what's. You know one thing to note about us is that we. Have. We. Have we, have gotten, big, in absolute, terms only very recently so we've always been growing fast and percentage, terms but. In, in. 2010. Just eight years ago we. Had 30,000. Employees so. In the last eight years we've, gone from 30,000. Employees to, 560. Thousand employees so. For us it's. Kind of you know in my mind I'm still delivering, the packages, to the post office myself, you see what I'm saying I still it. I still have all the memories of, you. Know hoping that one day we could afford a forklift, and, so. Obviously, that's my my, intellectual, brain knows that's just not the case anymore, we have 560,000. Plays all over the world and, and. I. Know we. Should be scrutinized, and I think it's true of big government institutions. Should be scrutinized big, nonprofit, institutions, should be scrutinized big, universities. Should be screwed it just makes sense is it's a and that's by the way why. The work that the Washington Post and the other great newspapers, around the world do is so important, because they're, often the ones doing. That initial, scrutiny, even before the government agencies, do but in a way the general sentiment, towards the, big innovative. Tech companies. Has. Changed I mean Facebook. Google, Apple. Amazon. They used to be seen, as the nice guys in t-shirts that, are saving the world and now they're sometimes portrayed, as, the kind of evil, of the world, and. The, debate about the. Big four or the big five The. Economist, is, suggesting. Split, up. Of. Other, powerful. People, like, George Soros are giving speeches in Davos. The. EU, Commission is taking. Pretty tough positions, here do, you think that there is a change. In mindset in the society, and what should the. Big tech companies, what should Amazon, learn. From that or do with that I I think, I do sense I mean I think again I think it's a natural instinct, I think we humans, especially in, the Western world and, especially inside. Democracies. Are, wired. To, be. Skeptical. And, mindful. Of large, institutions of, any kind, skeptical I'm sure we're, skeptical of our government, always in the United States state, governments, local governments. I assume, it's similar in Germany it's. Healthy, because. They're big powerful institutions. You know the the police the military whatever, it is it doesn't mean that you don't trust them or that they're bad or evil. Or anything like that they're, just they have they. Have a lot of power and control and so you want to inspect them maybe that's a better word you kind of want to always be inspecting, them and I think if you look at the big tech companies, they. Have gotten, large enough that. That they, need they're going to be inspected, and and by the way it's not personal I think where some of the you can go astray on, this if you're the founder, of a company, one. Of these big tech companies or any other big institution, if, you, if you go astray on this you might start to take it personally, like, why are, you inspecting, me you. Know and and and I think that you, know I. Wish. That that. People would just say yes it's. Fine the whole attitude towards. Data. Protection, and privacy yeah, has always been different between Europe, and the United States but it's also at the moment, in. The context, of Cambridge and alayka changing, in the United States. What. Are the consequences for a company like Amazon and. I. Don't. You know my, view on on this, for, Amazon, is it is hysterical. Or is it I. Think. This is one of the great questions of our age you know we have I. Think. Of the internet so the Internet is this big new. Powerful. Technology. It's horizontal it affects every industry, and then if you think of even more broadly tech, and machine, learning and Big Data and all these these, kinds of things these, are big horizontal. Powerful. Technologies. And, in my view so, we've been at scale, the Internet is quite old at this point it's been around a long time but. At scale it's really only been around you know 10. Or 15 years it's so it's because, you know go back in time 20 years it was tiny and, so. At scale, units are only 10 or 15 years and, we. Have learn as a civilization, as, a human, species we, haven't learned how to operate it yet, so.
We're Still we're, we as a civilization, are, still figuring that out and so, it. Has, fantastic, it, gives us fantastic. Capabilities. I mean you know the fact that I can look up almost anything on Wikipedia. In five, seconds, is an unbelievable. Capability. That just simply didn't exist 20 years ago and. And. So, on and so on and so on there's so many good things but we're also finding, out that. That these powerful, tools enable. Some very bad things - like you. Know letting, authoritarian. Governments, interfere, and free. Democratic, elections around the world this is fall that's an incredibly, scary, thing. Advocating. A balance of let's say entrepreneurs, who are really, moving. Their businesses forward politicians. And regulators who, are defining a certain framework, society. Journalists. Who are asking. Role. In this which is what you asked, me is I think first, of all we have a duty, on behalf, of. Society. To try and help educate. Any. Regulators, you know give them our point of view on this sincerely. Without any cynicism, or skepticism this is what we believe and then. But. It's not altima our decisions, so we, will will. Work with any set of regulations that we're given ultimately, that society, decides, that we, will follow those rules regardless. Of the impact they have on our business, and we, will find a new way if need be to, delight customers so we will always, be, again. Some of these things which have to worry about is the. Problem, what. I would not want to see happen is. That. Is. You don't want to block invention. And innovation so, that's always the, the one. Of the things one of the unintended consequences. Often of. Regulation. Is that. It. Really, favors, the incumbents, now. Amazon, at this point is an incumbent so maybe I should be happy about that but but I wouldn't be because, I think for a society, you. Really want to see continued, progress you really want to see so to, the degree that we have regulation, you, want to be sure, that, it is. Incenting. Innovation, and not blocking it while at the same time protecting but data security, privacy. Encryption. You, know how do you. How. Do you safeguard. People's. Physical. Safety, against. Terrorists. And bad actors, all over the world and how, do you balance that, against. Privacy. These. Are very challenging questions, and, we. Are running out of time but we're going to answer them in a no in even a few years I mean I think it's going to be an ongoing thing for but data, security. And. Privacy, is, going to be a competitive, advantage for companies or disadvantage, is very respectful, with it I hundred. Percent agree with this and I think you know with, customers. One. Of the reasons we have been able to extend into new business areas, and first, of new product category is that going way back we just saw books and then we sort of soy music and DVDs, and electronics. And toys and so on and that we've extended in into. Electronic. Reading with Kindle the, reason customers, have been receptive in large part to our new initiatives, is because.
We Have worked hard, to earn trust with them earning. Trust with customers is is. A valuable, business asset and if, you. Mistreat. Their data they. Will know, they will figure it out customers. Are very smart, you should never underestimate customers. People. Are getting hungry but I have some brief, questions left, you. Aren't, preparing, a second headquarter it's going to be in the US why didn't you consider to do it in Europe I wanted. It in a time. Zone either in. We looked at Canada u.s. and Mexico, and. We. Still Toronto. It's. Not. When. You buy when you bought the post there. Were people saying well that's just a personal, toy he wants to have some political influence other people thought, that is a new strategic element, of Jeff's strategy, yeah, I. Yeah. Of course you can explain things to people but you can't understand, things to people and so I can I can, you. Know. All. I can do is is say, what really my thought process, was and, I, was not looking to buy a newspaper. I had, it, had never even crossed my mind. And. So. When the opportunity, came up because. I only came up because I had known Don Graham at that point for more than 15 years any. Of you who are lucky enough to know Don knows that he is the most, honorable, gentleman. That, she will ever meet you, know Don very well. He's. A remarkable guy and he, so loved the post that. He. Believed. Even though this was a huge personal, sacrifice, for him because I've been in his family for so long that he needed to find a new home for it, I think, he was I think, he didn't there were certain, purchasers, he was hoping would not end up buying the post. Because. He wanted it to remain independent. He. Went, so when he approached me with. This I said. You know I'm the wrong guy because, I don't know anything about the newspaper business and he, said that's okay because we have a lot of people at the post who know a lot about the newspaper, business and, what, we really need is somebody. Who knows something more about the Internet, and. The. Post was in, very difficult, financial, position, at that time and. So for. Me I had to decide.
What. It wasn't, hopeless and I didn't believe it was hopeless I thought I was optimistic that the post could be turned around and. Then, second. I had to decide did. I want to put my own time and energy into this and. And. And that for me I just had to ask the simple question is it an important, institution and. The answer is that question is yeah it was very obvious to me as soon as I thought about that way it's, like okay I think I actually can, help I can help in two ways I can provide the. Financial resources while, this turnaround occurs, and I, can also help with my internet knowledge and then, is it worth is it an institution, worth saving, you bet it's the it's the most, important, newspaper in, the most important. Capital, city in the, Western world crazy. Not to not. To save, that newspapers you're gonna be very happy when I'm 80 that I made that decision. I. Assume, that you have seen Steven Spielberg's film the post yeah yeah. I've seen it a couple of times so what is the lesson that you learned from that and could you imagine also to buy and save other newspapers, no, I I get that I get that request. Monthly. Yeah I get I get I really, do and I yes. And I told, them I know, I'm the post, is it for me I'm not in I'm, not interested, in buying other newspapers. But. I do I, do I watch that movie and. You. Know it's it's, helpful I love. That. Movie and also reading Catherine Graham's memoir. Which won a Pulitzer, Prize is an amazing, book. Because. It, it. Gets, me ready you know I as. The owner of the post I know that at, times the post is going to write stories they're gonna. Make. Very, powerful, people very unhappy, and you upset if they have writing critical stories about Amazon we do know I know when. I first bought the book. And. I never I would be humiliated. To interfere I would be so embarrassed, I would I would. Turn bright red and there's. Nothing to do with, I. Don't, even get so far I just don't want to for, me it would feel icky, it would feel gross. It would feel it would be one of those things when I'm 80 years old I would, be so unhappy, with myself if. I interfere why, would I, I want, that paper to be independent. So it's, in well we, have a fantastic editor, and Marty Baron we, have a fantastic publisher. And Fred Ryan the head of our technology, team a guy named Charlie she's fantastic. They. Don't need my help in the newsroom for sure, first, of all that's also an expert's job it would be like me getting on the airplane and going up to the front of the plane and saying the pilot should move aside let me do this you know. Could. You share with us briefly the vision of Blue. Origin and the idea of kind of space tourism with, renewable rockets super, important. To me in if I. Believe. On the longest, time frame and I really here I'm thinking of a time frame of a, couple hundred years. So. Over many decades I believe. And I get increasing, conviction, with this with every passing year the Blue, Origin the. Space company, is the most important, work I'm doing, and, so there is a whole plan. For. Blue rages so you'd say. Retail. Online. E-commerce. Publishing. And that's. All less relevant, yes and I'll. Tell you why and so first, of all of course I'm interested in space because I'm passionate about it and I've been studying. It and thinking about it since I'm a 5 year old boy but. That is not why I'm pursuing, this work I'm pursuing, this work because. I, believe. If we don't we will eventually, end up with a civilization. Of stasis, which. I find very.
Demoralizing. I don't want my great. Grandchildren's. Great-grandchildren. To live in a civilization, of stasis we, all enjoy us a dynamic, civilization. Of growth, and change and, and, let's, think about what powers, that we. Are not, really. Energy, constrained, and so let. Me give you just a couple of numbers, if. You take. Your. Body your, metabolic, rate, as a human, as just an animal, you eat food that's, your metabolism. You. Burn about a hundred, watts your power your. Your your body is about a hundred bits the same as a 100 watt light bulb, we're incredibly efficient, your, brain is about 60 watts of that amazing. And so. We. But. You know but if you extrapolate. In, developed, countries, where we use a lot of energy on average. In developed countries our. Civilizational. Metabolic, rate is 11, thousand, watts so. Our. If. In a natural, state you know where we're animals, we're. Only using a hundred watts in our. Actual developed, world state we're using eleven thousand, watts and it's, growing for, a century or. More it's been compounding. At a few percent a year our, energy usage as a civilization now. If you take baseline. Energy. Usage, globally. Across, the whole world and. Compound. It at just, a few percent a year for just a few hundred years you. Have to cover the entire surface, of the earth, in solar cells. So. That's the real, energy crisis, and it's. Happening, soon. And by soon I mean within just a few hundred years and so, we don't actually have that much time so what can you do well. You can have a life of stasis where you cap how much energy we get, to use if to work only on efficiency, by, the way we've, always been working on energy efficiency and, still. We grow our energy. Usage it's, not like we have been squandering, energy, we have been getting, better at using it with every passing decade and still, we've got so. Stasis. Would be very, bad I think now, take, the alternative, scenario where. You move out into. The. Solar system the solar system can easily support a trillion, humans and if. We had a trillion, humans, we, would have a thousand, Einsteins, and a thousand, Mozart's and, unlimited. For all practical purposes. Resources. From, solar power and so on why. Not that's that's. The world I want my, great grandchildren's. Great grandchildren, to live in and by. The way I believe that we will move all heavy, in that timeframe we. Will move all heavy, industry. Off, of, Earth and, earth. Will be zoned, residential. And light industry and it, will basically be, a very, beautiful planet we have robotic. Probes to. Every, planet in this, solar system now and believe. Me this is the best one, it. Is not even close but Jeff when can it buy the first ticket to do a little space we're gonna beat so that the first tourism, vehicle, will, we. May fly we won't be selling tickets yet but we may put humans in it at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year, we're. Getting very close you can work out from our engineers we're building a very large orbital, vehicle we've been working on that for more than five years it'll. Fly for the first time in 2020. And the, key is reusability, so, you mentioned, it the the, we cannot, this, civilization. I'm talking, about of you know getting. Comfortable living and working in space and having millions of people and then billions of people and then finally a trillion people in space. You, can't do that with space vehicles that you use once and then throw away it's. A ridiculous. Costly. Way to, get into space the most recent thing. That Amazon is planning is home Roberts assume. It's more than Alexa, walking, so, what's the vision behind it which I saw that rumor, in the press and I can't comment on that okay I see so it seems to be very serious. One. Of the most long-term, thinking. Entrepreneurs. If. It is about companies, and products, and services if, it is about, philanthropy you, recently. Said that you are very short-term think are you really want to deal with them now and here can, you explain that approach I think that's yeah, and. I'm gonna end up doing a mixture of things. We. Started, doing in Seattle. There's. A homeless, shelter called.
Mary's. Place run, by a woman named Marty and. And. That has really impacted my. Thinking. On this issue. Because. What I'm seeing, is that, when you of. Course I'm in, favor of all the I mean long-term, oriented. Philanthropy. Also is a good idea so, I'm not against, that it's. Just I'm finding I'm very motivated, by, the, here-and-now there so seeing, you know a lot of the homelessness that Mary's place works on is Tran and homelessness so when, you go study homelessness. They're, a bunch of causes, of homelessness. Mental. Incapacity. Issues, are very hard, to cure problem. You. Know serious. Drug addiction a very hard to cure problem. But. There's a the, other kind another bucket of homelessness which is transient, homelessness, which. Is you know a woman, with kids. The. Father runs away and he was the only person providing, any income and, they. Have no support. System they have no family, that's transient, homelessness you can really help that person and, you by the way only need to help them for like six to nine months you get, him trained think, you get him a job they're. Perfectly, productive. Members of society. Last. Week we have Bill Gates for dinner here and he said that he has a ridiculous, amount of money and it's so hard to find, appropriate, ways, to do good with the money so, what does money mean for you being the first person in, history that, has a net, worth of three. Digit amount of billion the only way that I can see to. Deploy. This much, financial. Resource, is by. Converting, my Amazon, winnings, into. Space. Travel, so, that's basically, Blue. Origin is expensive, enough to. Be able to use that fortune. And. I'm, currently. Liquidating. About a billion dollars a year of, Amazon, stock, to fund Blue. Origin and I. Plan, to continue to do that, for. A long time so. And you, know so because, you're in you're right you're not gonna you're, not gonna spend it on like a second, you know dinner out you know there's no. It's. You're not you know that's not what we're talking about so so, for me I'm very lucky because I feel like I, have. A. Mission, driven purpose, with Blue Origin that. Is I, think incredibly important. For civilization. Long-term and. I am gonna, use my, financial. Lottery, winnings from Amazon, to fund that with, regard to your personal lifestyle there are no guilty pleasures that you are doing doing unreasonable things with that, guilty, I mean I I. Have lots of pleasures, and you know we. Just came back from an amazing, trip. With. The kids McKenzie, and I did she. Planned the whole thing it was her birthday trip but she planned it all we went to Norway. For three days and we stated an ice hotel, we. Went dog sledding, we. We. Went. To a wolf preserve, and actually. Got to interact with you, know these. Timberwolves. I mean it was really an incredible. Vacation. Of, an incredible, holiday and all we got it all done in three and a half days so, it, was really it was amazing, wonderful Jeff Jon mentioned that's the last question John, mentioned that, you are an ideal, family, man. Kids. Are extremely important for you just mention that when we spoke earlier if. We would talk to your kids. Would. They criticize, their dead they would make. Fun of my singing oh okay. No. God okay, no they. Would. Make. Fun of my inability to remember exact. Words. I'm always quoting, like Churchill, or something and getting it wrong you know he he's, in there like that's not even close, to what, Churchill, said. They. Would. They. Would probably. Depending. On the moment they, might. Criticize. My, laughs. Their. Kids you know. But. But I I'm, lucky I have a very good relationship with him this work life harmony thing, is what I try. To teach young. Employees, actually in senior executives, at Amazon too but especially the, people come in I get we're asked about work-life balance all, the time and.
My View is that's a debilitating. Phrase. Because. It. It. Implies. There's a strict trade-off, and the reality is if I'm happy at home I come, into the office with tremendous energy and if I'm happy at work I come home with tremendous energy and so, it, actually is a circle, it's not a balance, and, and. I think that that is. It's. Worth everybody, paying. Attention to you want happier you never want to be that guy and we all know we, all have a co-worker, who. Is that person who, as soon as they come into the meeting they drain all of the energy out of the room you. Can just feel the energy level go that. You don't want to be that guy so, you want to come into the office and, give, everybody a kick in their step. Jeff. We thank, you very much we congratulate. You for you, have achieved thank you matt has a very. Nice.