Jeff Bezos appreciates your efforts to get Jeff Bezos to space

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After landing from his little jaunt to the edge of space, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos thanked the people who let him do it. “I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this,“ he said.

No, really, he said that.

Going to space had been a dream for Bezos since at least high school; his valedictory speech included discussion of creating permanent human colonies aboard space stations, according to Brad Stone’s The Everything Store. His high school girlfriend is also quoted in the book: “The reason he’s earning so much money is to get to outer space.” In some sense, Amazon was a means to an end for Bezos. Blue Origin, founded in 2002, was always the point.

Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 after leaving DE Shaw, an investment firm; Amazon initially operated out of his house. The store began by selling books, but over time expanded to, well, just about everything. The company’s first profit came in 2001, during the dot-com bust. He is now one of the richest men — and sometimes the richest man — in the world.

Bezos is known as an especially abrasive leader, giving feedback such as “Are you lazy or incompetent?” “If I hear that idea again, I’m gonna have to kill myself,” and “Why are you wasting my life?” He was, by all accounts, particularly focused on the customer experience at Amazon, and hyper-competitive. When he stepped down as CEO earlier this month, Andy Jassy — formerly the head of Amazon Web Services — took over.

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