Home » Amazon » The tax-avoiding ‘Bond villain’ who’s trying to take over the world: His insatiable lust for money has seen Amazon boss Jeff Bezos amass a £40billion fortune

The tax-avoiding ‘Bond villain’ who’s trying to take over the world: His insatiable lust for money has seen Amazon boss Jeff Bezos amass a £40billion fortune

4 January 2016

From The Daily Mail:

Ambitious New Year’s Resolutions are always a hostage to fortune, so credit where credit’s due to the American billionaire Jeff Bezos.

The intensely driven founder and boss of Amazon, the world’s biggest internet retailer, evidently wrote ‘Take over the world’ some time ago on the top of his ‘to do’ list.

And every year appears to take him and his controversial business empire one step closer to that goal.

. . . .

This week it was the turn of both British supermarkets and Hollywood film studios to come under his covetous gaze — the company has quietly been making some successful drama series for some time, but is now planning to up its game.

‘We want to win an Oscar,’ Bezos told a German newspaper with typical self-confidence. ‘Amazon has already won Golden Globes and Emmys.

Our current target is to produce 16 home movies a year.’ If that wasn’t enough empire-expanding, a few days later, Christopher North, Amazon’s UK boss, put the thumbscrews on the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda by announcing it will dramatically expand the range of groceries it sells.

. . . .

Amazon Pantry, launched in November, offers customers a range of 4,000 food and household products, charging £2.99 to deliver a large box.

Fresh food — already delivered to Amazon customers in New York and Los Angeles — is expected to be next on the agenda with London targeted soon, followed by cities across the world.

. . . .

Bezos, 51, is also a magician with his own finances. The self-proclaimed champion of the consumer pays himself a salary of just £57,000 yet, according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he managed to double his personal fortune in 2015 to around £40 billion after a single year of rocketing sales figures.

As owner of 18 per cent of Amazon, he is reckoned to be the fourth richest man in the world, comfortably beating the founders of Facebook and Google.

It’s not hard to see why. Quite apart from Amazon’s global reach, Bezos is unlike his Silicon Valley rivals who pontificate about the internet’s mission to connect people and increase the sum of human knowledge — he doesn’t try to hide the fact that it’s really all about making money.

. . . .

The usual spin on Bezos’s notorious stinginess is to say he is an ardent believer in self-reliance, a value that was instilled in him in childhood.

The child of teenage parents in New Mexico, who broke up within a year of his birth, Bezos was four when his mother married Mike Bezos, an engineer who fled Cuba as a boy.

Young Jeff displayed a passion for dismantling things from an early age when he took apart his cot as a toddler. He fell in love with computing but went to work for a New York hedge fund.

. . . .

He is a father of four with his wife, a novelist named MacKenzie Bezos, and the couple say they are determined not to let their children become isolated by their enormous wealth.

Although the family live in a secluded $28 million home on Lake Washington, Mrs Bezos is often seen tootling around the neighbourhood in a modest Honda people carrier.

She says her husband provides enormously useful input by reading her manuscripts at single sittings and then giving her copious notes on her work.

She must be about the only novelist who has a good word for him. Most loathe him for the damage they say he is doing to publishing.

Link to the rest at The Daily Mail and thanks to Barb for the tip.

PG says a small obstacle like the Atlantic Ocean is no barrier for Amazon Derangement Syndrome to leap from New York to London.

PG read The Daily Mail very sporadically, if at all, prior to starting The Passive Voice. He can’t think of any US paper that is quite the same, although he doesn’t profess to be an expert on The National Enquirer New York Post. The only content he remembers from the Enquirer Post is one of its headlines, “Headless Body in Topless Bar.”


40 Comments to “The tax-avoiding ‘Bond villain’ who’s trying to take over the world: His insatiable lust for money has seen Amazon boss Jeff Bezos amass a £40billion fortune”

  1. And this ‘writer’ is trying to get something by riding on Bezos’ coattails somehow.

    It didn’t take long into the ‘article’ to find the envy.

  2. Tom Leonard #IpersonifytheSmartSet

  3. MOST WRITERS LOATHE JEFF BEZOS?? Has the author of the article actually talked to any writers? Has he any idea how amazon has freed us up? No? I thought not.

    • I’m sure they mean trad authors, not writers like us.

      • He’s using the Whale Math(TM) of the Authors United clan.

        Meanwhile, the market is tanking today so AMZN stock is on sale. Get ’em while you can.

  4. This is going to show up as “truth” in my Facebook feed and I’ll be tagged by well-meaning friends in 3…2…1…

  5. Just wait until the Daily Mail finds out Bezos is consulting with Neal Stephenson about setting up the Amazon Autonomous Clade–which, for the record, I will be applying for citizenship in as soon as I find the forms.

  6. I don’t loathe Mr. Bezos.

  7. Most people make mistakes, but it is an art form to manage to get absolute everything wrong. Amazing.

  8. Ex-journalist checking in to say the Enquirer could only wish they could write “Headless Body in Topless Bar.” It was the New York Post.

    Copy editors never make news, but the headline was so notorious that it’s writer, V.A. “Vinnie” Musetto, made the papers when he died last year.

    The Enquirer used to write headlines like “Boy Trapped in Refrigerator Eats Own Foot.”

    (Oh, wait, that’s from “Airplane!” Never mind.)

  9. Oh my, oh my – not for nothing is the Daily Mail known as the Daily Fail over here. I’m a writer. I don’t loathe Bezos. He pays me every month, on the nail. And (having spent the past month wrangling endlessly with appalling Vodafone over a month’s lost signal for about 200 people in this village) I can state categorically that Amazon customer service is second to none. Essentially, my response to this is to say Bog off, Leonard. You don’t know what you’re talking about. But yes – this will show up on my Facebook timeline, and in conversation, and will drive me daft.

    • That’s what we call it over in the states, as well. This paper first crossed my desk in 2012 when it reported the preposterous claim that Bruce Willis was funding legislation to make digital purchases inheritable. (that was fiction, of course)

    • “Bog off”? I like that. I really, really like that. Sorry, Catherine, I’ll be stealin’ it any minute now.

    • Catherine, Bog off? A beaut. Can you say more about the origin of this phrase? Bog as in ‘bug’ or bog as in boglands or bog as in???

      We heavily footnote our works citing where we first heard facts, phrases, concepts. I’d love to have your beautiful name in one of those notes, as ‘first person we heard ‘Bog off,’ from, was Catherine Czerkawska.

      Really, our London agent, has such lovely manners that are slightly ascerbic in phrasings. Have you thought of writing a small book of ‘isms’ you know?

  10. 2013 called. It wants its article back.

  11. . . . evidently wrote ‘Take over the world’ some time ago on the top of his ‘to do’ list.

    If he doesn’t own a cat then he doesn’t intend to do this. Cat ownership is a prerequisite for taking over the world; you must hold them in your lap and stroke them while planning your evil plans for evil-doing. I believe you want a Persian cat for this purpose, but I think a Siamese or a Russian blue could work as well. They look regal, as befits an ambitious despot. We will not discuss that one cat that doesn’t have hair. Not being able to own a cat is why Pinky and the Brain always failed.

    Sigh. This article was silly. Writers hate the largest bookstore? The place where everyone goes to buy books? Okay. Sure.

  12. She must be about the only novelist who has a good word for him. Most loathe him for the damage they say he is doing to publishing.

    Frankly, I love Jeff Bezos… for the damage he is doing to publishing. As Clay Shirky points out, he helped to turn publishing from an industry into a button. The more damage that does to the ‘intermediary parasites’ (George Bernard Shaw’s phrase), the better for readers and writers.

    • I agree, Tom. The best thing that happened to writers since the printing press is the existence of KDP. People like to yap about some tsunami of swill thing, but the truth is, there are writers making a living for the first time because of Amazon. The fact that I’m not one of them — YET — is all on me, and things are a changin’!

      Also, evil villains who own cats only think they’re going to take over the world because the cats let them think that. Meanwhile, back at the food dish, the real plans are being made.

      Just sayin’.

  13. First, even if you buy into the notion that Amazon has damaged publishers (and they seem awfully healthy and profitable for all the weepy tears), that is not “publishing.” It is a select group of publishERS, specific companies that have no divine right to rule their industry forever.

    To me, publishing, as in the delivery of books to readers, seems to be enjoying somewhat of a golden age.

  14. I don’t hate him. He’s made it possible for me, and many others like me, to publish. He pays on time every month now, and while I could wish for a less messy spreadsheet, I can easily keep track of what I’ve sold, and what I’ve earned.

    So his personal goals notwithstanding, I’m able to work with his model to do what I want. No reason for hate from me over that.

  15. We have more books available to more people at lower prices than at any time. Maybe publishers have been damaged. So what?

  16. Daily Mail is basically click-bait toilet paper – except wiping your behind with a screen is somewhat unwieldly. It’s called “Daily Fail” and “Daily Hate” for a reason.

  17. Do I detect more than a wiff of envy, jealousy, and spite here?

    “That jerk Bezos. He’s rich, famous, and living the life he wants.

    Me? Not so much. In fact, not at all.”

    Waaaa… 🙁

  18. Is The Daily Mail the UK’s equivalent of The Onion?

    …Only they’re serious? 🙂

  19. “Young Jeff displayed a passion for dismantling things from an early age when he took apart his cot as a toddler.”

    This is easily my very favorite line from the whole piece. WTF is that supposed to prove???? He’s been a Bond villain since birth? LOL Like Bezos’s best friend, Baby Dr. Evil, would watch Bezos dismantle his crib while he pet his miniature kitty? That is probably one of the dumbest things I have ever seen in a supposed journalistic article.

  20. Elon Musk is a much better Bond Villain. Now there’s a billionaire that has terrifyingly fast electric cars and actual rocket ships!

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