Jeff Bezos is best known as one of the richest people on Earth with his current worth estimated at $190.4bn according to Forbes which tracks billionaire fortunes in realtime. He jockeys for first place with Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, and Bernard Arnault, owner of LVMH.
As of late July though, Mr Bezos also became the richest person ever to leave Earth as a newly minted commercial astronaut. The billionaire founder of Amazon went to space after the successful launch of the Blue Origin rocket’s first passenger flight.
Using a conventional rocket with a space capsule atop it, Blue Origin launches and lands vertically, with the whole trip taking just 11 minutes from liftoff to landing.
In that 11 minutes fulfilling his dream of going to space, Mr Bezos, who has stepped aside from running Amazon in favour of pursuing this passion, continued to add to his personal fortune.
There are two ways of calculating by how much – by using data on his income or his change in net worth.
Mr Bezos had a relatively modest income in his time at the helm of Amazon. His base salary of $81,840 remained unchanged since 1998.
However, on top of his salary, additional compensation brings his total income to $1,681,840. Broken down, this works out as $140,153 per month, $32,343, a week, $4,608 per day, $192 per hour, or $3.20 per minute.
Possibly not as impressive as you might imagine for the world’s richest man, especially considering other billionaires’ take-home pay was many hundreds of times more. Mr Musk reportedly earned $595m in 2019.
However, if you calculate Mr Bezos’ increase in net worth – thought to have gone up by $75bn in 2020 according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index – you get a very different set of figures.
This works out as $6.25bn per month, $1.44bn per week, $205m per day, $8.56m per hour, and $142,667 per minute.
Therefore, during the 11-minute Blue Origin flight, Mr Bezos’ personal wealth potentially increased by $1.57m.
Following a short career in finance after having graduated from Princeton University, Mr Bezos founded Amazon in Seattle in 1994 out of his garage, originally as an online bookstore.
The company has since grown into the online retail behemoth it is today and is the world’s largest internet company by revenue and the world’s largest provider of virtual assistants and cloud infrastructure.
Mr Bezos channelled his passion for space into Blue Origin, which he founded in 2000, with the New Shepard spacecraft reaching space for the first time in 2015.
Among his many other investments is the newspaper The Washington Post, which he purchased in 2013 for $250m.
Mr Bezos is believed to have been the first centibillionaire, crossing a net worth of $100m in 2018, and $200m during the Covid-19 pandemic as online shopping became a necessity during government-enforced lockdowns.
He stepped down from his CEO role at Amazon on 5 July, and is now executive chairman, with Andy Jassy, who led the company’s cloud computing division, replacing him.
In January 2019, Mr Bezos and his wife of 25 years MacKenzie Tuttle announced they were divorcing after a long period of separation.
As part of the settlement, Ms Tuttle received 25 per cent of the couple’s Amazon stock, amounting to approximately $35.6bn or four per cent of the company.
She immediately became one of the wealthiest women in the world and is known for her generous philanthropic work, having given away $8.7bn to more than 750 nonprofit groups in just two years.