Over the past few years, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have shared a highly public rivalry, aiming at one-ups in space exploration and self-driving vehicles. The two men who occupy the top two slots on the Bloomberg Billionaires List are chomping at the bit to get ahead of each other and the rivalry between the CEOs of Tesla and Amazon gives the people of Earth everything they need to gain from: longevity and imagination.
In their respective industries, the two most influential men in the world, Bezos being at the helm of the most dominant business in the world of e-commerce, and Musk emerging with Tesla to accelerate towards renewable energy. There is a lot of money at stake, a lot of influence, and a lot of prestige, and the rivalry between the two men consists mainly of healthy competition to outdo the other. However, the two men share a connection in their plan to help society move forward, and it lies inside their aerospace companies: Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin. But it’s not a rivalry that has always been in good spirits and balanced. It has also resulted in inconsistencies between name-calling and Twitter, revealing that even the world’s two richest men can share a very public rivalry while helping the rest of us.
Musk has of course has been the most prolific entrepreneur in the space exploration and self-driving vehicle front in recent years. His two companies are Tesla, the world’s largest automotive maker in terms of market cap, and SpaceX, which has been launching global Internet access satellites via Starlink and sending astronauts on missions to the International Space Station. It is no secret that Musk has an astonishing lead in those sectors over Bezos, and he has no intention of selling consumer products, even if after calling Amazon a monopoly.
But Musk’s lead must leave a portion of Bezos feeling left out. Musk is certainly getting more praise for his work and more kudos. He has made legacy car manufacturers adjust their strategies to move forward, pushing them to operate on all-electric powertrains, and SpaceX has again made it possible for human space flight. Bezos must thrive on competitiveness and the effort it takes to make things more competitive and better than anyone else, being the incredibly successful individual he is.
Musk and Bezos were both struggling entrepreneurs in the early 2000s who worked to transform their organizations into the biggest and most profitable companies in the world. Bezos, who once maintained an office above a Chinese food restaurant in a shady part of Seattle, had a desk that was not level, and an uneven canvas in blue spray paint on the wall that said “amazon.com.” He drove a run-of-the-mill sedan and shared an incredible joy for his work, which was then just an online bookstore.
Musk, meanwhile was fresh from his sizeable PayPal deal. He invested his money in Tesla again, and he slept on the floor of his office building. Musk and his brother Kimbal were both subjected to the genuine battle of start-up life at the YMCA in Los Angeles: long hours, less-than-luxurious living conditions, and minimum wage.
A few years on and thanks to their impact on their respective industries, the two men are among the most influential people on Earth. But the rivalry they share with each other is what is really moving things forward. The constant desire to exceed the other person is apparent, and the views based on the two men continually motivate the other person to work a little harder.
Ultimately, personal competitiveness has helped us all. SpaceX and Blue Origin are both working to accelerate the probability of normalized space travel. Amazon is making it easy to purchase consumer products, and Tesla is making fun, quick and affordable electric cars.
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