The news of Jeff Bezos stepping down as CEO of Amazon was initially surprising, but upon further thought, it may be perfect timing. In his memo to Amazon employees, he states he will now have the time to focus on other passions, including the aerospace company he founded in 2000 - Blue Origin. I believe the so-called billionaire space race is fixing to heat up, and the significance of Bezos focusing more energy around Blue Origin deserves some attention.
Bezos vs. Musk
There's a plethora of reasons why people like to compare Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk. They are currently the two richest men in the world, both wildly successful entrepreneurs, and both intent on outcompeting one another in space innovation. As opposed to Bezos' vision of free-floating space colonies, Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the overall mission of colonizing Mars, a mission that Bezos disagrees with.
"Go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first and see if you like it, because it's a garden paradise compared to Mars." - Jeff Bezos (Feb. 2019)
SpaceX vs. Blue Origin
As far as the two companies are concerned, Blue Origin has fallen behind in recent years. SpaceX has paved the way in reusable launch vehicles and cost reduction, has completed over a hundred missions, and recently became the first private company to send astronauts into space to the International Space Station. Blue Origin has yet to launch humans in any of their rockets.
“The rate of progress is too slow and the amount of years he has left is not enough, but I’m still glad he’s doing what he’s doing with Blue Origin.” - Elon Musk (Jul. 2020)
The two companies have many similarities - and big plans respectively. They are both focused on perfecting a reusable launch system, and ultimately making space travel cheaper and more ac
cessible, to the benefit of the growth and future of humanity.
The Bezos Effect
Jeff Bezos is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all-time. In 1994, he started Amazon out of his garage. In 2021, over 82% of households in the US have an Amazon Prime membership, and the company has successfully expanded into what feels like every area and category of commerce (despite its many flaws). In his control, Amazon became the world's most valuable brand, and gave him the title of world's wealthiest man for many years straight.
He has been funding Blue Origin by selling about $1 billion of Amazon stock each year, but he brings an operational and business expertise to Blue Origin that could kick the company into high gear in all areas. Bezos has previously called the company the most important work that he's doing, and his decision to relieve himself of continuous obligations at Amazon should not to be taken lightly.