It is an unfortunate fact of life that it takes many years of diligent and conscientious effort to build a good reputation and only one bad deed to negate it all.
No one is immune from this grim reality. Not even Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, a company which needs no introduction; the founder of space venture Blue Origin which aims to take people to the Moon; and the owner of The Washington Post, the seventh most circulated newspaper in the US of A.
Jeff Bezos, once touted as a hero, rising from middle-class quiet geekiness to be the richest man in the world, is no longer perceived positively by most people. According to measurement firm Crimson Hexagon, which looks at public conversations online on Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, blogs, comments, and forums, 92% of people view him unfavorably. This is after it came to light – that Jeff Bezos threw all maturity and common sense to the wind when he acted like a teenager with raging hormones and texted his mistress off-color words and pictures; that compared to other billionaires in his league, his contribution to charity is minimal; that Amazon did not pay a cent in taxes in 2018 in spite of being valued at $800 billion with $11.2 billion profit; that Amazon pushes its warehouse workers to a point where they cannot take bathroom breaks lest it be used as a point to terminate their job and, it suppresses formation of labor unions that fight for better treatment of its workers.
But despite all these downs, Mr. Bezos is trying to bounce back.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “It’s not about how many times you fall down, but how many times you get back up”.
Mr. Bezos has fallen indeed. And he is trying to bounce back.
By not appearing in public with his mistress and slashing off during the Super Bowl the advertisement for Blue Origin that was supposedly done by her, Jeff Bezos is trying to avoid further negative publicity with regards to his personal life and to an extent, is succeeding.
With his open letter to Mr. Pecker, the publisher of National Enquirer, Jeff Bezos has sought to nullify the impact of other damaging photos of his that might come out, and to an extent, he has succeeded. For with that direct communique on Medium, he has garnered the support of some people who were previously not so well inclined towards him.
Media is now reporting that he is the most charitable giver of 2018 giving $2 billion to charities as opposed to only millions given by other mega-donors. Off course, his total charitable giving over the years until 2018 is a pitiable amount of $145 million, compared to, for instance, Bill Gates who gave $4.8 billion to charity in just 2017.
Lately, there are news stories of his motivational and inspirational talks. At various events and in interviews, Mr. Bezos has said that the key to success is following your passion with hard-work. “You can’t really be proud of your gifts, because they were given to you,” he said in the 2017 Q&A at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. “You can be grateful for them, and thankful for them. But, your choices — you choose to work hard, you choose to do hard things — those are choices that you can be proud of.” I cannot but help agree with the wisdom of these words especially when he says that we not be proud of the talents given to us, but rather derive pride from the choices we make.
Mr. Bezos has said that “My motivation is people who are counting on me”.
That is a noble motivation which I believe motivates many people. However, by the derelictions in his family life, he has not been true to his words. All we can hope is that he will make it up to his family and to all others in the public who have their money invested in Amazon and have Alexa in their house entertaining them with news, weather and inspirational quotes by none other than Jeff Bezos himself.