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Jeff Bezos Talks Amazon, Blue Origin, Family, And Wealth

May 01, 2020
- Jeff, welcome to Berlin. - Thank you, it's great to be here. - I have to tell you that when we were sitting in the front row just a couple of minutes ago when the heart was there, Jeff looked at me and I was inhaling and exhaling and he looked at me and asked me: "Matías, are you nervous?" I said, "Yeah, I'm always nervous on occasions like that." And he said, "Me too." I said, "Really?" The richest man in the world is nervous "because he receives the Axel Springer award." So cut yourself some slack, we're both nervous.
jeff bezos talks amazon blue origin family and wealth
Jeff, we are so happy to be able to celebrate you tonight. The most important thing, apart from all the reasons we hear, is that you are a role model for other young founders, entrepreneurs who really have great ideas, crazy ideas, unconventional ideas and need encouragement to just do it and go for it, and you have demonstrated it. the world. So, to me, that's really the most important thing and, in that context, the first question: you worked in New York as an investment banker. So an investment banker is actually the exact opposite of an entrepreneur, they're delegating risks to other people and basically how did you know or how did you think that you should go from investment banking to actually launching a company? - I think I always wanted to do it, even since I was a child, I had the idea, every time I look at something, it seems like it could be improved, there is something wrong with it, so I revise it as I could.
jeff bezos talks amazon blue origin family and wealth

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jeff bezos talks amazon blue origin family and wealth...

This restaurant would be better, so I've always had that kind of idea. By the way, before we get into this, how about this incredible production that you and your team have put together? This is really amazing in its


ality, like these boxes that you were filming live, which are incredibly cool, so thank you. (audience applause) It really is incredible. But I think the best thing about humans in general is that we are always improving things. And so entrepreneurs and inventors follow their curiosity and their passions and they discover something and then they figure out how to make it better and they're never satisfied.
jeff bezos talks amazon blue origin family and wealth
And, in my opinion, you need to harness that energy primarily in your customers and not in your competitors. That's why I sometimes see that companies, and even small, young, entrepreneurial startups, fail if they start paying more attention to their competition than to their customers. And I think in large mature industries that could be a winning approach in some cases, following closely, letting other people be the pioneers and letting go of blind allies, there are so many things that an inventive new company tries to win. It doesn't work, so those mistakes and failures cost real money. And maybe in a mature industry where growth rates are slow and change is very slow.
jeff bezos talks amazon blue origin family and wealth
But as is increasingly seen in the world, there are not many mature industries, change is happening everywhere. You see it in the automobile industry with self-driving cars, but if you look at all industries you will see it. - Do you have any idea where your ambition really comes from? What drove you? - I really do not know. I have always been passionate about certain things and fell in love with computers in fourth grade. I was very lucky. My elementary school had a teletypewriter that connected to a mainframe computer, and a company in downtown Houston also donated some computer time.
I mean, you can imagine these teletype machines, they had the perforated tape and they had a 300 bot modem, you dialed the phone and you put it in the base. So we spent some time sharing that mainframe computer and none of the teachers knew how to use it, so me and two other kids stayed after school and figured out how to do it, figured it out and taught ourselves how to program. books. I think one thing is that I was very lucky early in my childhood. Look, we all receive gifts, we have certain things in our lives that we are very fortunate for and one of the most powerful is who your first role models are. - It was your grandfather. - It was in a great sense.
My mom and my dad but my grandfather too. My mom had me when she was 17 and still in high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico and this is 1964. I can assure you that being a pregnant teenager in high school was not good in Albuquerque, New Mexico at that time. time. So it was difficult for her. My grandfather fought for her, they tried to kick her out of school, they are incredible. So the gift I had was having this amazing


. - Could you describe a little the role of your grandfather? Because John brought it up and I think it was really important. - It was super important to me and I spent an unusual amount of time with my grandparents, especially with my grandfather on the ranch.
So he had a ranch in South Texas and I spent summers there from the age of four to 16. And when I was four years old, they took me away for the summer to give my parents a break because they were so young and it was helpful. I was a handful, I'm sure. Anyway, when I was four I got the illusion that I was helping him on the ranch, which of course couldn't have been true, but I believed it and then when I turned 16, of course, I was actually helping. in the ranch. Ranch. I can fix prolapsed cattle, we did all our own veterinary work.
Some of the livestock even survived. And we fixed windmills and laid water pipes and built fences and barns and repaired the bulldozer that you guys talked about and one of the things that's so interesting about that lifestyle and about my grandfather is that he did everything himself. He didn't call the vet if one of the animals was sick, he decided what to do himself. - What does it mean then that there is no delegation? - Being resourceful, I think, is, if there's a problem, there's a solution, and of course, as you mature and get into the business world and anything you do in a team, you quickly realize that It's not just about your own ingenuity, it's about the ingenuity of the team and how it works.
But that attitude of my grandfather was very, but it was full of wisdom. John mentioned the story of the words my grandfather said to me at one point: "It's harder to be kind than it is smart." That story, the slightly longer version of that story, because it 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 I was probably, I don't know, 10 years old, so this was around 1974 and it was in a period of time where there were a lot of radio ads, like anti-smoking radio ads, that were trying to convince the people to stop smoking.
And one of the ads had a figure that said something like: Each puff of a cigarette takes so many minutes of your life, I think it was two minutes, but I don't remember. So I sat in the back seat during this long car ride and calculated how many years she had taken from her life and, in my 10-year-old mind, she had been extremely smart to do this. And so, when I was done with my arithmetic, I proudly announced how many years she had taken from her life and got a reaction I didn't expect: she burst into tears.
Then my grandfather stopped the car and pulled me out of the car and I had no idea what was about to happen because he had never said a cross word to me and I thought, he might actually be mad at me, but he wasn't. . He took me out so we could have some privacy with her and he said these incredible words, he said, "One day you're going to find out that it's harder to be kind than it is to be smart." - Marvelous. Actually, your brother plays too. an important role, you have a very good relationship.
Is it really true that he is still a firefighter? -It is, he is a volunteer firefighter in Scarsdale, New York. He is also the funniest person I know. When I'm with him, I laugh continuously. First of all, I'm a good audience. I laugh easily but he is actually very funny and so is my sister, we are all very close and I have to thank my mother for that because she worked. It's hard to make sure as we've gotten older we stay together and she takes all of her grandchildren for a week every summer so my sister and I and our spouses can go on trips together.
So we ended 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 that is very moving because it shows how you really started from scratch and also illustrates symbolically. that launching Amazon was really something they did together. Could you describe a little bit what Mackenzie's role was? - Well, first of all, Mackenzie, she had married a stable guy who worked 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 with Internet. bookstore." And Mackenzie, of course, like everyone I explained this to, her first question was, what is the Internet?
Because no one knew, this is 1994. But before I could even say what the Internet is, she said, " Great, let's go." Because she wanted to support him and she knew that I had always had this passion for invention and starting a company. And again, I think Mackenzie is an example of this, but I was talking to my mom and dad. , who is a Cuban Immigrant, and you have, he came to the US when he was 16 and to the refugee camp in the Everglades, they are so loving and supportive that when you have loving and supportive people in your life like Mackenzie , my parents, my grandfather, my grandmother, you end up being able to take risks because I think it's one of those things where it's not like that, you know someone has your back and then it's just...
I don't even think you're thinking about it. Logically, it's something emotional. - That's really interesting, do you think that unconditional love, if you feel and experience unconditional love, helps you take risks? - And by the way, I think this is probably true for all kinds of risks in life, not just starting a business. Life is full of different risks. So I think when you think about the things you'll regret when you're 80, they're almost always things you didn't do, they're acts of omission. Very rarely will you regret something that you did and it failed and it didn't work out or whatever, except acts of omission, and again, I'm not just talking about business stuff, it's like, I loved that person and I never told them. them and 50 years later you will say, why didn't I tell them, why didn't I go after that?
So that's the kind of life regret that it's very hard to be happy about when you're telling yourself in a private moment that story of your life. So I think anyway, I won that lottery, I won the lottery of having so many people in my life that have given me that unconditional love and I think Mackenzie is definitely one of those. So we moved and then Mackenzie, who basically has no skills in this area, really, I mean, you're the least suitable person for this, she did our accounting for the first year, was it the first year?
Something like that. And she did it well, that's what's amazing. My wife is a novelist, she won the American Book Award. Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize-winning author who was Mackenzie's teacher at Princeton, said on the Charlie Rose Show that Mackenzie, Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize winner, said of Mackenzie that Mackenzie was her best student of all time. Anyway, Mackenzie is a very talented novelist, but she's not an accountant, but she did it. Once again, we all do what we have to do. -Did she then suggest that at first she focus on the book business as an author? - No, I chose books, it's true, she is a great reader, I am a great reader but I didn't choose books for that reason.
I chose books because there were more items in the book category than in any other category and thus a universal selection could be created. In 1994, when she was crafting this idea, there were three million, three million different books active in print at any given time and the largest physical bookstores only had about 150,000 different titles. Then I could see how you could create an online bookstore with a universal selection, every book ever printed, even the out-of-print ones, was the


al vision of the company and that's why the books. -And when did you know that Amazon was going to be something much bigger than a simple bookstore? - Well, funnily enough I knew that the books, because I was very prepared for this to take a long time, I knew that the book business was going to be successful in the first 30 days.
I was surprised by the number of books we sold. We were poorly prepared. At that time we only had 10 people in the company and most of them were software engineers. So everyone including me and the softwares were packing boxes, we didn't even have packing tables and we were on our knees on a concrete floor packing the boxes and around one or two in the morning I told one of my Colleagues at software engineering, I said, "Paul, this is killing my knees, we need knee pads." And Paul looked at me and said, "Jeff, we need packing tables." And I was like, "Oh my God, that's a good idea." The next day I bought packing tables and that doubled our productivity and probably saved our backs and knees too. - However, Amazon had serious crises.
In 2002, you were almost gone. in bankrupt. So what went wrong and what did you learn from it? - We had so many, there have been so many, I have not had any crisisexistential, knock on wood, I don't want to curse anything but us. "I have had many dramatic events. I remember that at first we only had 125 employees when Barnes and Noble, the great American bookseller, opened its online website to compete against We had had a window of about two years We opened in '95, they opened in '97 and at that time, all the headlines and the funniest ones were talking 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 dollars and a m and Barnes and Noble at that time had 30,000 employees and about three billion dollars in sales.
So they were giants, we were small and had limited resources and the headlines were very negative about Amazon and the most memorable one was just


.toast so I called an all-hands meeting which wasn't hard to do with just 125 people and we got into a room because we were all really scared of the idea that now we finally had a great competitor who literally everyone's parents would call and say, "Are you okay?" Usually it was the mothers who called and asked their children: are they going to be okay? And I said, "Look, it's okay to be afraid" but don't be afraid of our competitors "because they will never send us money," be afraid of our customers. "And if we focus on them instead of obsessing about this big competitor we just had, we'll be fine." And I really believe it.
I think if you stay focused and the more drama there is and everything else, no matter what the drama is, whatever the external distraction is, your response should be to double down on the customer, satisfying them, not just satisfying them. , delighting them. - Today Amazon employs 566,000 people. You are probably the biggest job creator in recent times. At the same time, unions and the media aggressively criticize him for paying low wages and inadequate working conditions. How do you face these accusations? - Well, first of all, when there is any criticism, my approach to criticism and what I teach and preach within Amazon is that when you are criticized, first look in the mirror and decide if your critics are right.
If they are right, change, don't resist. - They are right? - No, not in this case, but we have had criticism before and we have changed. We've made mistakes and I can go through a long list of them, probably one of the most painful is that it's so stupid it's hard to believe how we did it, but in the beginning with the Kindle maybe the first year of the Kindle. In the second year of the Kindle, we had accidentally sold or illegally given away, I guess, copies of the famous 1984 novel because it had a complicated copyright history, it was copyrighted in the US and not the UK Kingdom or something strange like this. so it was public domain but only in certain geographies and we had screwed it up and somehow, and this is the kind of mistake that only a corporation can make, an individual cannot make this mistake because somehow it happens at the intersections of the different equipment.
Then you have the legal department saying, “Oh shit, we made this mistake,” and you have the book team. Anyway, the answer the company came up with was to, without notice or warning, simply break into the Kindle of everyone who had downloaded that book and simply disappear. Then it would be like we walked into your room in the middle of the night, found your bookshelf, and took that book. And so we were rightly criticized for that and responded to that. On the issue of working conditions, I am very proud of our working conditions and I am very proud of the wages we pay.
In Germany we employ 16,000 people and pay the highest for any comparable job. - Will the union fight because it wants to make sure you are unionized or what is the true substance of the conflict? - Well, it's a good question and this is my longer version of how to deal with criticism. There are two types of critics, there are well-intentioned critics who are worried that it won't work, but want it to work. so I could give you an example of customer reviews, it would be one of those. When we first did customer reviews 20 years ago, some book editors were unhappy because some of them were negative, so it was a very controversial practice at the time, but we thought it was right and that's why we stuck with it and we had a deep keel over that and it didn't change.
But there is a second type of critic who is the interested critic and they come in all shapes and sizes. So they can be any type of institution, competitors of course, and when you do something in a new way and if customers adopt the new way, what will happen is that the incumbents who practice the old way will not like you and will be interested critics. in themselves. And so, as you look in the mirror, you need to try to separate those two things. In our opinion, we of course have advice for workers and we have very good communication with our employees.
So we don't think we need a union to be an intermediary between us and our employees, but of course, at the end of the day, it's always the employees' decision and that's how it should be. But we would surely be very naive if we believed that we would not be criticized. That's just part of the story, you have to accept it. Another thing I tell people is that if you're going to do something new or innovative, you have to be willing to be misunderstood. If you can't afford to be misunderstood, then for the love of God, don't do anything new or innovative. - Maggie Thatcher said: "Leadership is not about being content with the moment." But her most prominent critic right now is the president of the United States.
It is even said that he might be willing to prepare initiatives to break up Amazon because it is too big, too successful, too dominant in too many sectors, or for other reasons. First of all, is this breakup scenario something you take seriously or do you think it's just a fantasy? - For me, again, this is one of those things where I focus and ask our teams to focus on what we can control and hope, whether it's the current US administration or any other government agency in Any part of the world. Amazon is now a large corporation and I hope we are scrutinized, we should be scrutinized, I think all large institutions should be scrutinized and scrutinized, it's reasonable.
One thing to note about us is that we have only recently grown in absolute terms. So we've always grown rapidly in percentage terms, but in 2010, just eight years ago, we had 30,000 employees. Thus, in the last eight years we have gone from 30,000 employees to 560,000 employees. So for us, in my opinion, I'm still delivering the packages to the post office, see what I'm saying? I still have all the memories of hoping that one day we could afford a forklift. And obviously my intellectual brain knows that that's no longer the case, we have 560,000 employees around the world and I know that we should be scrutinized and I think it's true that large government institutions should be scrutinized, large nonprofit institutions should be examined. , large universities should be looked at, it just makes sense.
And that is, by the way, why the work that the Washington Post and other big newspapers around the world do is so important because they are often the ones doing that initial scrutiny even before government agencies do. . - But in some ways, the general sentiment towards large innovative technology companies has changed. Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, they used to be seen as the good guys in t-shirts who are saving the world and now they are sometimes portrayed as the evil guy in the world. And in the debate over the big four or the big five, The Economist suggests a split, other powerful people like Josh Soros are giving speeches in Davos, the EU Commission is taking some pretty tough stances here.
Do you think there is a change of mentality in society? And what should big tech companies do, what should Amazon learn from that or do with that? - Sorry, I'm thinking about it again, I think it's a natural instinct. I think humans, especially in the Western world and especially within democracies, are programmed to be skeptical and aware of large institutions of any kind. We are always skeptical about our government in the United States, state governments, local governments, I guess it's similar in Germany, it's healthy because they are big, powerful institutions, the police, the military, whatever, it doesn't mean that you don't trust them or that they're bad or evil or something, they just have a lot of power and control and that's why you want to inspect them, maybe that's a better word, right? of always wanting to be inspecting them.
And I think if you look at the big tech companies, they've gotten big enough to be inspected. And by the way, it's not personal. I think some of them 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 go astray on this, you might start taking it personally, like why am I? do you inspect? And I think I wish people would just say, "Yeah, okay." - The general attitude towards data protection and privacy has always been different between Europe and the United States, but is currently also changing in the context of Cambridge Analytica in the United States.
What are the consequences for a company like Amazon? - My take on this for Amazon... - Is it hysterical or inappropriate? - Honestly, I think this is one of the great questions of our time. I think about the Internet, so the Internet is a big, powerful new technology, it's horizontal, it affects every industry, and then if you think even more broadly about technology, machine learning, big data, and all these kinds of things, They are great horizontals. powerful technologies and, in my opinion, we have been at scale. The internet is pretty old at this point, it's been around for a long time, but at scale, it's really only been about 10 or 15 years, because if we go back 20 years in time, it was very small.
And at scale, the Internet has only been around for 10 or 15 years and we haven't learned as a civilization, as a human species, we haven't learned how to operate it yet. So we're still, as a civilization, still figuring that out. And that's why it has fantastic capabilities, it gives us fantastic capabilities. The fact that I can look up almost anything on Wikipedia in five seconds is an incredible capability that just didn't exist 20 years ago and so on, there's so much good stuff, but we're also discovering it. that these powerful tools also enable some very bad things, such as allowing authoritarian governments to interfere in free democratic elections around the world.
It's incredibly scary. - So you are advocating a balance between, say, entrepreneurs who are really moving their businesses forward, politicians and regulators who are finding a certain framework, a society, journalists who ask unpleasant questions? - So my opinion on Amazon's role in this, which is what you asked me, is that I think, first of all, we have a duty on behalf of society to try to help educate the regulators, give them our point of view on this with sincerity and without any cynicism. or skepticism, this is what we believe, but ultimately it is not our decision.
So we will work with whatever set of regulations they give us. Ultimately, society decides that we will follow those rules regardless of the impact they have on our business and find a new way, if necessary, to delight customers. So we will always be, again, some of these things, what we have to worry about is the problem, what I would not like to happen is not wanting to block invention and innovation. So that's always one of the unintended consequences of regulation is that it really favors incumbents. Now Amazon, right now, is an incumbent, so maybe I should be happy about that, but I wouldn't be because I think society really wants to see continued progress.
So to the extent that we have regulation, we need to be sure that it incentivizes innovation and doesn't block it and, at the same time, protects it. But data security, privacy and encryption, how do you safeguard people's physical safety against terrorists and bad actors around the world and how do you balance that with privacy? These are very challenging questions. - We're running out of time but I have a couple of... - We won't answer them even in a few years. I think it will be something continuous. - But will data security and privacy be a competitive advantage for companies or a disadvantage if they are not respectful of it? - I agree with this 100% and I think that with customers, one of the reasons why we have been able to expand into new business areas and new product categories, for a long time, justWe sold books and then we started selling music, DVDs and electronics. and toys, etc. and then we have expanded to electronic reading with kindle.
The reason customers have been largely receptive to our new initiatives is because we have worked hard to earn their trust. Earning customer trust is a valuable business asset, and if you misuse their data, they will know and find out. Customers are very intelligent, you should never underestimate them. - People are getting hungry but I have some short questions left. They are preparing a second headquarters, it will be in the United States. Why didn't you consider doing it in Europe? - I wanted it in a time zone, we looked at Canada, the United States and Mexico... - So it is not an anti-Europe decision, it is for practical reasons. - It is not an anti-Europe decision. - I'm glad to hear that.
When you bought the Post, there were people who said: well, it's just a personal toy, it wants to have some political influence. Other people thought this was a new strategic element of Jeff's strategy. So what was it? -Yes, of course, you can explain things to people, but you can't understand them. So all I can do is say what my thought process really was. And I wasn't looking to buy a newspaper. It hadn't even crossed my mind and so when the opportunity arose, it only arose because I had known Don Graham at the time for over 15 years.
Any of you who are lucky enough to know Don know that he is the most honorable gentleman you will ever meet, you know Don very well, he is an extraordinary guy and he loved The Post so much that he believed, even though this was a huge sacrifice personal to him because it had been in his


for so long that he needed to find it a new home. I think so, there were certain buyers that I hoped wouldn't end up buying The Post because I wanted it to remain independent. So when he approached me with this I said, "I'm the wrong person" 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 someone who knows a little more about the Internet." And the Post was in a very difficult financial situation at the time, so for me I had to decide if it was useless.
And I didn't think it was useless; was optimistic that the Post could change. And then secondly, I had to decide if I wanted to put my own time and energy into this. And that for me just had to ask the simple question: is it an important institution? And the answer to that question is yes, it was very obvious to me, as soon as I thought that way. I thought, okay, I think I can really help, I can help in two ways. I can provide financial resources while this change occurs and I can also help with my internet skills.
And so it is an institution worth saving? You bet. It is the most important newspaper in the most important capital of the Western world. Crazy for not saving that newspaper. I will be very happy when I am 80 years old that I made that decision. (audience applause) - I suppose you have seen Steven Spielberg's movie, The Post. - Yes, yes, I've seen it a couple of times. - So what's the lesson you learned from this? Can you also imagine buying and saving other newspapers? - No, that request comes to me monthly, I really do and I tell them, no, the Post is for me, I am not interested in buying other newspapers.
But I saw that movie and it's helpful, I love that movie and also reading Katherine Graham's memoir, which won a Pulitzer Prize and is an incredible book because it prepares me. As the owner of The Post, I know that sometimes The Post will write stories that make very powerful people very unhappy. -Does it bother you if they write critical stories about Amazon, which they do? - No, I'm not angry at all. - Did you call and interfere? - Never, it would humiliate me to interfere. I would be very embarrassed. I would turn bright red and it has nothing to do with it, I don't even go that far, I just don't want to.
For me, it would be disgusting, disgusting. It would be one of those things that when I'm 80 I'd be so unhappy with myself if I interfered. Why would there be? I want that newspaper to be independent. We have a fantastic editor in Marty Baron, we have a fantastic editor in Fred Ryan, the head of our technology team, a guy named Shilesh, he's fantastic. Surely they don't need my help in the newsroom. First of all, that is also an expert's job. It would be like me getting on the plane and coming to the front of the plane and saying the pilots should step aside, let me do this. - You don't get on the plane but you send workers to space. - By the way, that is the best segway there is. - Could you briefly share with us the vision of Blue Origin and the idea of ​​a type of space tourism with renewable rockets? - This is super important to me.
I believe in the longer time frame and I'm really thinking about a time frame of a couple hundred years, so for many decades, I believe and with each passing year I have a growing conviction that Blue Origin, the space company, it's the most important job I'm doing. And that is why there is a whole plan for Blue Origin. - Actually? So would you say that retail, online e-commerce and publishing are less relevant than the space project? - Yes and I'll tell you why. 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 was five years old, but that's not why I pursue this work. .
I continue with this work because I believe that if we don't, we will eventually end up with a stasis civilization that I find very demoralizing. I don't want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to lie in a civilization of stasis. We all enjoy a dynamic civilization of growth and change and think about what drives it. We are not really limited in terms of energy. So let me just give you a couple of numbers. If you take your body, your metabolic rate as a human being as if it were just an animal, you eat food, that's your metabolism, you burn about 100 watts, your power, your body is about 100, it's the same as a 100 light bulb. watts.
We are incredibly efficient. Your brain consumes about 60 watts of that, incredible. But if we extrapolate in developed countries where we use a lot of energy, on average in developed countries, our civilizational metabolic rate is 11,000 watts. So in a natural state where we are animals, we only use 100 watts. In our current state of developed world, we use 11,000 watts and it is growing. For a century or more, our energy use as a civilization has been increasing by a few percent annually. Now, if you take the baseline energy use, globally, around the world, and add just a few percent annually for a few hundred years, you have to cover the entire surface of the Earth with solar cells .
So that is the real energy crisis and it is happening soon, that is, within a few hundred years. And then we don't really have that much time. So what can you do? Well, you can have a life of stagnation where you limit the amount of energy we can use, you have to work only on efficiency. By the way, we have always been working on energy efficiency and still increased our energy use. It's not that we've wasted energy, we've gotten better at using it with each passing decade and we still grow it. So I think stasis would be very bad.
Now let's take the alternative scenario where you move to the solar system. The solar system can easily support a billion humans and if we had a billion humans we would have 1,000 Einsteins and 1,000 Mozarts and, for all practical purposes, unlimited solar energy resources, etc. Why not? That is the world I want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in. And by the way, I think we will take all the heavy, in that period of time, we will take all the heavy industry off the Earth and off the Earth. It will be divided into residential and light industrial zones and will basically be a very beautiful planet.
We have sent robotic probes to every planet in this solar system and believe me, this is the best. It's not even close. - But Jeff, when can I buy the first ticket to take a little space tour? - So, the first tourist vehicle, we will not sell tickets yet, but we may put humans in it at the end of this year or early next year. We are getting very close. We've been working on it for over 10 years and we're building a very large orbital vehicle, we've been working on it for over five years. It will fly for the first time in 2020 and the key is reusability.
So you mentioned it. We cannot, this civilization that I speak of, feel comfortable living and working in space and having millions of people and then billions of people and finally a billion people in space, you cannot do that with space vehicles that They are used over and over again. then discard it. It's a ridiculously expensive way to get to space. - The latest thing Amazon is planning are domestic robots. So I assume it's more than Alexa walking. So what is the vision behind this? - I saw that rumor in the press and I can't comment on it. - I see, so it seems to be very serious.
Jeff, you are one of the most long-term thinking entrepreneurs. If it's about companies, products and services, if it's about philanthropy, you recently said that you think very short-term and you really want to address the now and the here. Can you explain that approach? I think that's also very innovative. - And I'm going to end up doing a mix of things. We started getting a homeless shelter in Seattle called Mary's Place run by a woman named Marty and that has really impacted my thinking on this issue because what I'm seeing is that when, of course, I'm for all the Long-term oriented philanthropy is also a good idea.
So I'm not against that. It's just that I'm discovering that I'm very motivated by the here and now. Many of the homeless people Mary's Place works with are transient homeless people. So when you study homelessness, there are several causes of homelessness. Mental incapacity problems are a very difficult problem to cure, serious drug addiction, a very difficult problem to cure, but there is another group of homeless people, which is transient homelessness, which is a woman with children , the father runs away and he was the only person who helped them. no income and no support system, no family.
That's transitional homelessness. You can really help that person. And by the way, you only need to help them for six to nine months, you train them, you get them a job, they are perfectly productive members of society. -Last week we had Bill Gates for dinner here and he said that he has a ridiculous amount of money and that it is very difficult to find appropriate ways to do good with that money. So what does money mean to you, being the first person in history to have a triple-digit billion net worth? - The only way I see to deploy so much financial resource is by converting my Amazon profits into space travel.
Basically, Blue Origin is expensive enough that I can use that fortune and I am currently liquidating about a billion dollars a year in Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin and I plan to continue doing so for a long time. Because you're right, you won't spend it on a second dinner. That's not what we're talking about. So for me, I'm very fortunate because I feel like I have a mission-driven purpose with Blue Origin that I think is incredibly important for civilization in the long run and I'm going to use my winnings from the Amazon financial lottery to fund it. - Regarding your personal lifestyle, don't you feel guilty for doing irrational things? - Well, I don't think they're that guilty.
I have many pleasures and we just got back from an amazing trip with the kids, Mackenzie and I did it, she planned everything, it was her birthday trip but she planned everything. We went to Norway for three days and stayed in an ice hotel, went dog sledding, went to a wolf reserve and actually got to interact with these timber wolves. It was truly an amazing vacation, an incredible vacation and we accomplished it all in three and a half days. So it was amazing. - Marvelous. Jeff, John mentioned, it's the last question, John mentioned that you are an ideal family man, your children are extremely important, you just mentioned that when we talked before.
If we talked to your children, where would they criticize their dad? - They would make fun of my singing. - Okay, can we get one? - No, God no. They would make fun of my inability to remember exact words. I'm always quoting Churchill or something like that and I'm wrong and they're like, "That's not even close to what Churchill said." They'd probably, depending on the moment, criticize my laugh. They're kids. I'm lucky, I have a really good relationship with For them, this work-life harmony thing is what I try to teach young employees, in fact, and the senior executives at Amazon as well, but especially the people who come in.They ask us about work life. balance all the time and my opinion is that it is a debilitating phrase because it implies that there is a strict compensation and the reality is that if I am happy at home, I arrive at the office with tremendous energy and if I am happy at work, I return home with tremendous energy.
And so it's actually a circle, it's not a balance. And I think it's worth everyone's attention to that. You never want to be that guy and we all know it, we all have that coworker, who is that person who, as soon as he walks into the meeting, drains all the energy from the room. You can feel the energy level decreasing, you don't want to be that guy. So you want to walk into the office and give everyone a kick in the step. - Jeff, thank you very much. We congratulate you for everything you have achieved and congratulations. - Very nice, thank you.

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