People might know who he is, but they certainly know his company — Amazon. From what started out as a small bookseller in 1994 has grown into the global leader in eCommerce. The man behind all of the innovation, which includes Prime, the Alexa personal assistants, free two-day shipping, robots in the warehouse — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Bezos is currently the world’s richest person. According to Forbes, he’s worth about $177 billion, just edging out Elon Musk, who checks in at second place with just $151 billion. Musk is known for his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, and he appeared in “Iron Man 2” and was mentioned on “Star Trek: Discovery.”
“I actually like ‘Star Trek,’ because that shows a utopian future,” Musk said in an interview.
Unlike Musk, Bezos loves “Star Trek” and pulled some strings to appear in “Star Trek Beyond.” Rather than just get a mention like Musk, Bezos actually appeared in the film, though in heavy makeup and prosthetics.
Bezos in ‘Star Trek Beyond’
“For years, I have been begging Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, to let me be in a ‘Star Trek’ movie,” Bezos said in a GeekWire article. “I was very persistent, and you can imagine the poor director who got the call, you know, ‘You have to let Bezos be in your “Star Trek” movie.’”
“I said, ‘Look, I’ll put any amount of makeup on,” Bezos said in the article. “I’ll be invisible, nobody will know it’s me. But I want a speaking part, and I want it to be in a scene that is central to the storyline so that I cannot end up on the cutting-room floor. Those were my requirements, and they honored those requirements.”
Bezos is the world’s richest Trek fan, and he has been for years, and the franchise’s influence has remained strong through the years. As a youngster, Bezos and his friends used to play “Star Trek.”
“We would fight over who got to be Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock, and somebody played the computer too,” Bezos told the USA Today. “It was really fun. We made little cardboard phasers and tricorders. Good days.”
When he gave his valedictorian high school speech, he quoted the “Star Trek” mantra, “Space, the final frontier. Meet me there.”
Later, when he was deciding what to call his new company, he considered MakeItSo.com instead of Amazon.com because that’s what Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) said. Before he launched the company (which he did end up naming Amazon), he held a party to watch an episode of “The Next Generation.”
Bezos in Space
But, like Elon Musk, Bezos dabbles in the aerospace industry with his side hustle, Blue Origin. Yesterday, it was announced by the company that Bezos and his brother, Mark, would be passengers on the first human flight of their New Shepard spacecraft. The ride will include one other person, and that will be decided by a bidding process. The bidding stands at $2.8 million for this third and final seat into outer space, launching on July 20th.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” said Bezos on Instagram. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
While Bezos is obviously a huge ‘Star Trek’ fan, and Musk likes Trek, both are pushing to ‘boldly go’ into space. To boldly goMusk’s mission for SpaceX is to get to Mars, while Bezos wants to simply “build a road to space” with Blue Origin.
Both of these highly wealthy men cite Trek as an inspiration for their plans for space travel, but they must like the fact that in the 24th Century, there are no taxes — at least, according to “Star Trek” canon. According to CBS Marketwatch, Bezos and Musk have not paid federal income taxes for some time.
The Terran Rockets
Interestingly, a new player has stepped onto the field in the race for the stars, and they too have a connection to “Star Trek.” The firm Relativity Space ‘Terran R rocket’ is being touted as a direct competitor for Musk’s SpaceX. It will carry 20x the payload as the Terran 1 rocket did.
Trek fans might giggle at the name “Terran,” as it is used as the name of the terrible humans who inhabit Earth in the Mirror Universe. In defense of Relativity Space, the word ‘Terran’ can be defined as “of the Earth as a planet,” and not necessarily as someone who will mind-meld with their doctor, rather than have a calm discussion.