As the lawyers like to say, res ipsa loquitur, or the thing speaks for itself. But I wanted to add a comment to this section of a section from a lightly edited Q&A held with Jeff Bezos at the Yale Club, published in Business Insider. Another factor that helped boost Amazon sales was its avoidance of charging sales taxes to buyers….a practice that gave it great advantage over brick and mortar retailers.
As Lambert summed it up, “Bezos as much as says he exploited public infrastructure to make his fortune, and wants to spend it on ginormous phall– uh, rockets.” And he pretend he’s not building on all of the work that NASA, the USSR and later Russia, have done on launching rockets and orbital satellites. There’s tons of basic and applied research developed on the public’s dime that he’s improving on….and he pretends he’s doing greenfield development.
I had wanted to give a comment on Amazon abandoning its HQ2 plans for New York City….hopefully I can get to that before it’s too stale.
Bezos: I’ve witnessed this incredible thing happen on the internet over the last two decades. I started Amazon in my garage 24 years ago — drove packages to the post office myself. Today we have 600,000-plus people, millions and millions of customers, a very large company.
How did that happen in such a short period of time? It happened because we didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting. All of the heavy-lifting infrastructure was already in place for it. There was already a telecommunication network, which became the backbone of the internet. There was already a payment system — it was called the credit card. There was already a transportation network called the US Postal Service, and Royal Mail, and Deutsche Post, all over the world, that could deliver our packages. We didn’t have to build any of that heavy infrastructure.
An even more stark example is Facebook. Here’s a guy who literally, in his dorm room, started a company — Mark Zuckerberg started a company in his dorm room, which is now worth half a trillion dollars — less than two decades ago.
How do you get that kind of entrepreneurial [advancement] in space? You need to lower the price of admission right now to do anything interesting in space because it requires so much heavy lifting and so much infrastructure development. The entry price point for doing interesting things is hundreds of millions of dollars. Nobody is going to do that in their dorm room. You can’t have a Mark Zuckerberg of space today. It’s impossible. Two kids in their dorm room can’t start anything important in space today.
I want to take the assets that I have from Amazon and translate that into the heavy-lifting infrastructure that will [help] the next generation to have dynamic entrepreneurialism in space — kind of build that transportation network. That’s what’s going on, that’s what Blue Origin’s mission is. If we can do that, then the whole thing will take off and there will be thousands of companies doing creative things.