On Monday, The Washington Post Co. announced that it had sold The Washington Post to Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for $250 million in cash. Soon thereafter, Bezos sent a letter to the Post's employees, outlining the vision he has for the paper's future.
There will of course be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there. I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention. [The Wrap]
As the folks at the Post (and the readers in Washington and, basically, anyone with a WiFi connection) get ready for a new chapter, we figured it'd be a good idea to take a closer look at the guy who just dropped a quarter of a billion dollars for a chance to revolutionize the news industry.
- Time selected Bezos as its "Person of the Year" in 1999.
- As a boy, he spent his summers on his grandfather's ranch in Texas, laying pipes and fixing pumps.
- He started Blue Origin to lower the cost of space travel.
- Bezos started Amazon.com in his garage in Seattle because that's how everything successful starts. Watch him explain how his company became a thing.
- He goes fishing for rocketships. No, really.
- He's No. 11 on the Forbes 400 list.
- Bezos is a Princeton grad. In 2010, he delivered the commencement address at the university's graduation ceremony.
- He and his wife donated $2.5 million in an effort to get gay marriage legalized in Washington state.
- In a piece published in January, Quartz asked (about Bezos), "How do you compete with someone who isn't interested in profit?"