Elon Musk’s main rival: ten interesting facts about Jeff Bezos

When we mention an owner of private space company who has ambitious plans, we usually mean Elon Musk. However, there is another multibillionaire on Earth who is actively interested in space and has long been trying to challenge Elon. We are talking about Jeff Bezos. In this article, we have collected ten interesting facts about one of the richest people of our time.


He used to work at McDonald’s

When Bezos was a 16-year-old teenager, he worked part-time at McDonald’s during the summer vacation, where he stood on the order processing line and assembled burgers. According to Bezos, this made him more responsible and able to work under pressure. His experience at McDonald’s also sparked his passion for service automation, customer service, and employee management.

Founded Amazon in a garage

The story of the famous Amazon company created by Bezos began in 1994 with the launch of a website for online book sales. Its first office was located in the garage of a young entrepreneur. To save money, the desks were made of sawn and nailed together parts of a wooden door.

Jeff Bezos at the beginning of his career, when he was still selling books. Source: Getty Images

Interestingly, Bezos originally planned to name his company Cadabre, but changed his mind after his friends mistakenly heard cadaver. The future billionaire had other ideas for the name, including MakeItSo and Relentless, but in the end he chose Amazon because it started with the letter A and he liked the association with the largest river in the world.

Became a millionaire at the age of 33

Jeff Bezos earned his million when he was 33 years old. At the age of 35, he became a billionaire. As of November 2023, his fortune was estimated at $170 billion.

Jeff Bezos. Source: Amazon Photo

Founded his space company before Elon Musk

On September 8, 2000, Jeff Bezos founded his own space company called Blue Origin. This happened two years before Elon Musk created SpaceX and Richard Branson created Virgin Galactic.

He raised the engine of the rocket that sent people to the moon from the seabed

In 2013, Bezos organized a series of marine expeditions to search for the remains of a Saturn V rocket used to fly to the Moon. They were successful. Bezos’s team managed to recover several fragments of F-1 engines that were on the first stage of the Saturn V from a depth of 4.5 km. They were later restored and exhibited in a museum.

The remains of the first stage of the Saturn V found by the Bezos expedition. Source: Bezos Expeditions

A big fan of Star Trek

Since childhood, Jeff Bezos has been a big fan of the Star Trek series. In 2016, he realized his long-held dream and played a cameo role in the movie Star Trek: Infinity. However, he is almost unrecognizable. The fact is that Bezos got the role of an alien, and therefore he was heavily made up.

Jeff Bezos (right) in the movie Star Trek: Infinity. Source: Justin Lin

He was a parody character in South Park

Due to his influence and status, Jeff Bezos, of course, did not escape the fate of becoming the subject of various jokes and parodies. The most famous of them was shown in the TV series South Park, where Bezos appeared as a mutant with a disproportionate head who communicates through telepathy.

A parody of Jeff Bezos in the South Park TV series. Source: Comedy Central

For several years, he was the richest man in the world

On July 27, 2017, Jeff Bezos overtook Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world for a few hours, after which Gates regained his position. In 2018, Bezos surpassed Gates again and remained in first place until Elon Musk replaced him in 2021.

He flew into space

In July 2021, Jeff Bezos made a suborbital space flight on the New Shepard spacecraft built by his company Blue Origin. The billionaire was accompanied by his brother Mark, 82-year-old pilot Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Damen, son of Dutch billionaire Joss Damen. In total, the flight lasted 10 minutes. The maximum altitude reached was 107 kilometers.

Джефф Безос на фоне капсулы New Shepard
Jeff Bezos in front of the New Shepard capsule. Source: Blue Orion

He is the main competitor of Elon Musk

Despite the fact that Blue Origin cannot boast of the same success as SpaceX, Jeff Bezos is currently Elon Musk’s main competitor. Their rivalry is conducted in several directions at once. Blue Origin is building a heavy New Glenn rocket with a reusable first stage and is involved in a project to create a commercial orbital station. In addition, the company has a NASA contract to build a lander for several lunar missions under the Artemis program.

Jeff Bezos and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson at the Blue Origin factory. Source: Bill Nelson

As for Amazon, the company is developing the Kuiper satellite Internet system, which is intended to compete with Starlink. Its first prototypes have recently been launched into orbit.