4 hours agoCreated a post • 87 points @flowerlad
It’s the billionaire race not only did he reach outer space as he said he would, I know he wanted to be the first BILLY to do it. Branson bear him to it.. so he says ok.. I wasn’t the first to do it but I’ll be the first to dig into my bag and give away some life changing money. Which will spread the news of Blue origin even further.Reply
All the critics lobbing cynicism against Bezos, Branson, and Musk saying, in essence, that their money is better spent here at home reminds me of a wonderful scene from The West Wing when one character asks why we have to go to Mars:
"'Cause it's next. For we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill, and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean, and we pioneered the West, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on the timeline of exploration, and this is what's next."
I personally don't care that these billionaires are spending their money on vacations to orbit. It's how we get to the moon and Mars and how we survive as a species. It's what's next.Reply
The really interesting thing to me about this announcement is that it's the first time I think I've ever heard about such a large gift being given to individuals, instead of a foundation or non-profit. Curious if Bezos is just testing to see if this type of philanthropy has better results.
I'm also interested in the logistics of a gift this large. I mean, Bezos would have to pay a large gift tax for gifts sent directly to individuals. Obviously he can afford it, but curious if there was some attempt to save on taxes if the end desire is for all of this money to go to charity.Reply
If I had $200 million lying around, I'd be more inclined to give $1 million each to 200 people.Reply
If billionaires entrust their money to more or less random people for philanthropic objectives I rather have them be taxed higher and let a (somewhat inefficient) government decide how to invest the money.
At least I had a role in electing the government and can change my vote based on their performance.Reply
More like a bribe/payoffReply
There will be a lot of cynicism on this post from the HN crowd, but these are unbelievably good recipients. I have interacted with Jose Andres many times, and go to his DC restaurants when I visit, and he is truly a wonderful soul who spends all his effort helping others. I don’t know much about Van Jones beyond what I see on TV, but if he’s of the same character as Jose Andres, that is stellar and they will both do wonderful things for our world with that money.Reply
Great donations, we need more bridges among different groups of people, and we should all work to make hunger a problem of the past, around 800 million people sleep hungry every day.Reply
Kind of genius… My understanding as a Brit is that CNN are known to be supportive of progressive economic policies. I suspect they’re also critical of the existence of billionaires like Bezos in a society where many struggle to feed their families.
Bribing influential CNN contributors who hold progressive or far-left economic policies is probably one of the better ways to help shift the media narrative towards one that benefits Bezos.Reply
Bezos isn't known for being dumb with his money. So, I am curious about his motivation in this case. What is the deep reptilian part of his tycoon brain telling him? Is he buying positive press after yesterday's show? Does he care about the cause? Or is he buying a 1990 Cutlass Supreme from Jones on the down-low?Reply
As a percentage of net worth, this is like me donating $200. He can afford to give away $100M every week forever on compounding interest alone. When I'm a billionaire the space suits will be purple.Reply
The recipients seem like earnest people who have done a lot of good, and the money will supercharge what they do.
Personally, I think that if I had a really good plan for $100m I could probably raise it because there is a highly competitive sellers market for things that you can put that much money into and create value from it.
There are a zillion holes to throw money down, but something that can sustain its value and grow? Bezos' decision was probably the same as a regular investment "team, market, product" call: there's a real problem that a lot of people have, and here is a long list of people who want to solve it but nobody has a complete solution yet, and if I had to choose the top ones to get exposure to - to make a difference on this problem, these two guys are the best ones I can find to figure out what the solution is, so I'm in for $100m apiece. Same game as any angel or startup investor, he's just playing at the three-comma table.
I genuinely believe the path to that table starts by challenging ourselves to think bigger, which means doubling down when it's the hardest, and testing assumptions when it's easy. It's not sufficient, but it is the necessary condition.
Think of a problem that people with effectively infinite resources would invest in solving and start working on it. To them $100m is a rounding error, what they don't see are credible plans or track records for making the change they would invest in. Jones and Andres had it. The money isn't a prize, it's an investment and a bet. I wish them luck.Reply
I just think this money shoulda been paid in taxes so we could collectively solve problems instead of some guy hand picking a couple lottery winners.Reply
It's seriously distracting that the headline describes these recipients as "CNN contributors"....Reply
So this money is for the recipients for to use as they please, including for personal use? Or are they required to donate to causes they care about?Reply