Jeff Bezos has left an undeniable mark on retail, the internet, and his brand Amazon has become a model for internet sales since its 1994 creation. Now, with an estimated net worth of $20 billion, the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will attempt to join the likes of other rich and powerful eccentrics such as Howard Hughs and Sir Richard Branson by creating a 200-foot-tall grandfather clock termed “The 10,000 Year Clock” deep inside a West Texas mountain.
Jeff Bezos has already transformed the world as we know it by reinventing retail and spearheading a new generation of online retailing. Bezos began selling books in 1994 from a Seattle garage. Amazon went public three years later but did not make a profit until 2001. Now, with plenty of cash to spare, Bezos will attempt a project on a scale larger than life, and perhaps even, longer than the span of human existence.
Deep inside a mountain on his West Texas property, Jeff Bezos has begun construction of the colossal creation. Bezos has financed a group, the Long Now Foundation, to build what he calls “The 10,000 Year Clock.” It’s a grandfather clock on a grander scale, said Bezos.
For comparison, Bezos’ 200-foot-tall grandfather clock will not measure up to the world’s largest four-faced, chiming turret clock, the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, known widely as “Big Ben,” which is over 315 feet tall, according to the U.K. Parliament’s “Big Ben” website.
The name is misleading though as the clock is reportedly designed to play an elaborate cuckoo sequence for the anniversary of every year, decade, century, millennium and 10 millennia. This clock, inexplicably, is designed to last an infinitum. But, one need not have to worry about waiting until the dawn of the next millennium to hear the next chime. Visitors to the site will be treated to a daily tune choreographed by musician Brian Enos.
Jeff Bezos has long been a forward thinker. With products that have reinvented such basic things as even reading, it is no surprise that with an estimated $42 million he will now attempt to conquer the finality of existence with a timepiece that will last for eternity.
A former Amazon executive hinted at the CEO’s motivations for the project. David Risher said that his former boss “thinks in decades and centuries. . . Unlike most of us, Jeff is hard-wired for the very long term.”
"The reason I'm doing it is that it is a symbol of long-term thinking and the idea of long-term responsibility," Jeff Bezos has said of his $42 million investment. "We humans have become so technologically sophisticated that in certain ways we're dangerous to ourselves. It's going to be increasingly important over time for humanity to take a longer-term view of its future."
Jeff Bezos has contributed to other extraordinary projects in the past. Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, is working on a spaceship that will transport astronauts to the international space station but has suffered a setback after a failed test flight in August of last year.
Jeff Bezos has also successfully conducted an operation to recover the five Apollo 11 engines from the ocean floor. Bezos’ team of undersea experts has reported success in finding the engines, and the Amazon CEO has made his intentions of returning them to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds,” Jeff Bezos said of his work. “It sure inspired me, and, with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youths to invent and explore.”