Musk Vs Bezos: A Rivalry for the Ages


January 20, 2021 | AtoZ Markets – Just last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made headlines yet again for pushing past Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man.

A few days later, however, Bezos redeemed his position on the Billionaire’s Index as Amazon stock climbed further upwards. At the time of writing, Bezos’ net worth stands at $181.5 billion, while Musk holds the second position with a net worth of $179.2 billion.

With a few billion dollars between them, the race to become the world’s richest man resembles a game of snakes and ladders. But did you know that the rivalry between Musk and Bezos –two of the world’s most powerful CEOs –can be traced back to more than a decade ago?

15 Years of Fury

Some might say that it takes a good amount of competitiveness to become the world’s richest man. As a result, the two high profile tech innovators have a long streak of back-and-forth competition existing between them, and it all boils down to space.

Apart from Bezos leading the Amazon empire and Musk manning the ship at Tesla, both CEOs share a similar ambition: space exploration. Indeed, Bezos’ Blue Origin and Musks’ SpaceX project have contributed to the brewing rivalry between the two billionaires, which hasn’t always been so subtle.

As Amazon and Tesla grew, so did their CEOs’ ambition, creating ample opportunities for investors and traders to profit from the public companies’ shares along the way!

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So, how did it all begin?

In the early 2000s, Bezos was heading an Amazon that was very different from the one we know today (read: pre-Prime). His interest in space had already been established, as Blue Origin was launched in 2000 as a start-up focusing on human spaceflight.

Musk was already a millionaire back then -although he had not yet become Tesla’s CEO -as a result of selling Kimbal, a start-up launched with his brother, for $300 million. Meanwhile, Musk had been working on building PayPal, which he would later sell to eBay for $1.5 billion. He would soon use the profit from that sale to launch SpaceX in 2002.

In 2004, the two space-enthusiasts met to discuss their ambitions. The meeting did not go too well according to Musk who said Bezos had ‘ignored’ his advice, and the pair would go on to keep their projects to themselves in the future.

Blue Origin and SpaceX went on to compete for the use of a NASA launchpad, which Musk eventually won. He later took a swipe at Bezos, saying ‘[Blue Origin] has not yet succeeded in creating a reliable suborbital spacecraft, despite spending over 10 years in development… Frankly, I think we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct.’

In 2020, SpaceX successfully launched two Nasa astronauts into space for the first time in history. The past year saw Musk’s company launch a total of 26 space missions, including its 100th space mission overall. Both companies are working on submitting designs to NASA to send humans to the moon by 2024.

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