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Jeff Bezos flying into space this summer

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In an Instagram post on Monday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he is traveling to space with his brother and the winner of an auction held for one of the passengers seats on the first crewed flight of a rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin, on July 20th.

Video Transcript

- As we look elsewhere this morning, and we're trying to figure out movers and what people are talking about, not necessarily a market mover, but a people mover, literally and figuratively-- Jeff Bezos is going to space, Myles Udland.

MYLES UDLAND: Yeah, Bezos announcing today that he and his brother will join the top bidder for the Blue Origin flight to space on July 20. Now, the significance here to me is that Jeff Bezos's last day as CEO of Amazon is on July 5. And I think this raises a notable point about why Jeff Bezos has decided to step down as CEO of Amazon, which is that if you're the CEO of Amazon, you're not allowed to go to space.

I mean, maybe, maybe you could beg the board to write in some kind of language, in some sort of specialty D&O-- directors and officers-- insurance policy that maybe gets a waiver for you as the CEO of a major publicly-traded company to get on a speculative rocket that's going to leave the Earth's atmosphere and then hopefully come back all in one piece. But this came up during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in the context of whether Berkshire would write an insurance policy on Elon Musk going to Mars or doing something else. And, you know, we played the video of Ajit Jain, who runs Berkshire's insurance op, saying, I don't really want to be on the other side of an Elon trade, Warren Buffett suggesting maybe there would be a price at which they would write that policy.

But again, Jeff Bezos is a pretty young guy. He's an extremely rich guy. I think-- tally changes all the time, but I think he's still the richest person in the world, maybe second or third, something like that, depending on where Amazon stock goes. But he's got essentially unlimited resources, but like all humans, does not have unlimited time.

And there are certainly questions around what Bezos leaving Amazon means for that business. And we've done the whole what does it mean that Andy Jassy is now stepping in, where does the direction of the business go. But to me, a big part of the story is that Jeff Bezos has other stuff he wants to do. And we often forget that as the CEO of a public company, you have a pretty limited menu of, like, crazy rich guy stuff that your board will go let you do because it's important that you stay alive and stay the CEO of the business, you know, in your free time.

- Well, it's also still important that he does stay alive because he will continue to be the face of Amazon. And no disrespect to Andy Jassy-- I mean, it's still Jeff Bezos you think of when it comes to Amazon. He's still the executive chairman.

And let's just be real. I mean, you have the world's richest person going up into space and still being the face of the company he founded. If something should happen, that is just not going to be good for Amazon in the present day or for the next decade and decades after that.

Number two, if anything does happen-- and it's important to lay these things out-- it could set the space program-- NASA, Elon Musk's SpaceX-- it could set them back many, many years. So this is a big event, and I'm sure there will be more details to come in the coming days.

- You know, I'm also-- have you guys been keeping track of the tally of the billionaires who are going to space, right? Didn't-- Richard Branson says he's going, right, at some point? He says he's flying.

Musk, though-- I mean, is this, like, the one thing that Elon Musk, who gives no Fs about anything else, is this the one thing that the board actually succeeded in preventing him from doing? Because he hasn't said he's going, right?

MYLES UDLAND: Yeah, I mean, I said it jokingly, but I'm actually serious. You can know when Elon is gonna step down to Tesla when he starts saying, like, a date on when he's gonna get on a rocket and go to space. And I'm sure viewers out there who follow him more closely than I do, he may have already set a date that he wants to go, you know, get on a Falcon X and try to go up to space.

But yeah, I mean, I think-- it makes sense, right? If life is a game and the point of the game is to acquire as much money as possible, you've essentially conquered Earth by having hundreds of billions of dollars. And so the only logical thing to do is then try to go to space. I mean, I don't have $100 billion. But if I did, I could understand why it would seem, you know, that the rest of the galaxy was the only place for me because, you know, who needs more property on Earth, right? You pretty much have it all.

- Nice little vacation spot on the moon or Mars-- well, who can put a price on that?

MYLES UDLAND: This is why none of us are gonna have $100 billion. But if we did-- if we did-- this might be [INAUDIBLE].

- Sure.