Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world at the moment, has long lived as a rather rich man.
He gave very little money to charity, but no one noticed it. He was not the Golden Globes toast or in the pan of the camera at the Super Bowl. The CEO of Amazon was not anonymous, but he could avoid the personal projector sufficiently to devote himself entirely to the ruthless execution of his business.
It's finish. And Bezos knows it.
From Bezos extraordinary move Wednesday releasing private emails from his executioners to the National Enquirer was the clearest evidence that the once lonely Seattle leader now recognized that he was a public figure in good faith – and that it meant that he had to fight as such. Rather than shyly playing the defense and doing everything in its power to maximize its darkness, the richest man in the world is trying the offensive for the first time.
With a mean response, Bezos has turned a twisted tabloid scandal into a striking, timestamped drama that extends from scenes of the White House to Saudi Arabia. He threw gasoline on the fire, sending the media, politics and tech circles into flames – thus increasing the public profile of himself, his divorce and his extramarital affair.
Who knows what would have been the reaction of the world to the alleged photographs of the Enquirer, especially since the salacious texts had already flowed. But Bezos chose to amplify it. By many
And that allowed him to frame it. Suddenly, it is no longer a story of photographs under the waist, but of extortion. It's a professional media shot that you can only create when you decide that you want to be a professional media player rather than shrinking purple more and more.
Bezos has never reversed the roles. At best, he nodded at the examination. L & # 39; Amazon the founder only decided to commit to philanthropy once the The New York Times was preparing a story about his parsimonious gift, possibly publishing a statement on the eve of its publication. (All right, he did it to a point applaud to Donald Trump.)
But let's take a look at how Bezos publicly handled the Enquirer's first series of stories: with an almost silly statement that simply said he respected the reporting on his life. This is the old billionaire's book: minimize, minimize, minimize.
But minimizing simply does not work once you have reached a certain level of wealth. Control has the means to find you.
Charles and David Koch used to close the retrospective media of their donors in extremely rich conclaves, which reinforced their perception. Things would flee again and journalists are now regularly invited. They are no longer the ghosts that they once were.
Documents such as the Panama Papers and emails published by WikiLeaks put an end to the curtain on how the rich live and exert their influence (while unveiling their email addresses and mobile numbers).
And if you run for president, people have a way of find some of your tax returnseven if you do not want them to be released.
This is a point that other billionaires have been slow to learn. Bezos just got it.
And not a moment too soon. At a time when critics ask if billionaires should be abolished as a species and others specifically train their reticle on the power of the Amazon market, enter the hero, Jeff Bezos. A killer of singing masters and – for the first time in a long time in Silicon Valley – an oppressed people wants to take it to.
Bezos, of course, is not an outsider in almost any other respect. You might forget that there are calls to break Amazon and concerns about antitrust regulations. But the National Enquirer has given him an ephemeral gift, and he should reserve the victory as much as he can – before more scrupulous critics overthrow him.