Jeff Bezos, the CEO of the world's biggest online store, could be the richest man alive, but he needs $5 billion more to net that accolade.
Jeff Bezos Needs $5 Billion More To Topple Bill Gates
By contrast, Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft, currently holds the title with a total net worth of $89.7 billion. Both Gates and Bezos appear to be heading toward different directions entirely: Gates vowed to give away at least half of his money throughout his lifetime via philanthropy, while Bezos rapidly attempts to expand Amazon's retail business, especially with its purchase of Whole Foods.
In fact, Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods helped bring a surge to the company's stock, adding $1.8 billion to Bezos's net worth. As the Amazon boss gets richer, Gates, on the other hand, created Giving Pledge with Buffett, asking millionaires to commit to give away at least half of their money during their lifetimes. Over 150 have signed this pledge. Bezos has not, nor is there any telling if he will in the future.
Based on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos sits behind Gates with a $84.6 billion total net worth. Spanish business tycoon Amancio Ortega perches third, while business magnate Warren Buffett and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg take fourth and fifth places, respectively. Notably, four of the world's richest people hail from the tech industry.
How Bezos Can Reach First Place
• Whole Foods acquisition: Gates shelling out cash for philanthropic causes gives Bezos an opportune time to balloon his net worth even further if he wants to push past Gates in the top billionaire's list. He needs $5 billion more, and it's quite safe to assume that his extensive plans to expand Amazon as a physical business — helped no less by the Whole Foods purchase — will help get him on top.
• Amazon Video: Perhaps Bezos could focus on Amazon Video's library. Sure, its original shows have been garnering accolades aplenty, having given Amazon a few Emmy awards under its belt. But for it to be on par with what Netflix offers, Amazon has to aggressively create more compelling shows that'll attract more subscribers. It already has Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, and The Man in the High Castle. It needs to offer shows that offer plenty of hype for viewers, like something along the lines of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.
With those points in mind, Bezos could take the top spot faster than we expect. His space travel side venture, Blue Origin, still has a long way to go before it could reach SpaceX-levels of innovation and profitability, but it could further Bezos's net worth and in turn advance interest in space exploration, too. Time will tell, of course.
All told, it appears Bezos himself isn't rushing to get to the top spot, anyway. In fact, he might even be planning to up his philanthropy game, having asked Twitter how he should spend money for philanthropic work. If you have any ideas, send Bezos a message.