Jeff Bezos: Super CEO or supervillain?
Your tech company's CEO is a bold, visionary leader recognized far and wide as an innovator in the industry. He or she never shies away from embracing Big Ideas or taking risks that most of us would dismiss as foolhardy. The press hangs o this charismatic technology guru's every word, waiting to see what wisdom he or she will reveal next.
And the CEO of your tech company is, in all likelihood, a supervillain.
The eerie similarities between the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley and the banes of the Superfriends' existence have been staring us in the face for a while. Tech CEOs build wondrous gadgets? So do supervillains. Tech CEOs amass wealth and power that mere mortals can only dream of? That's a move straight out of the supervillain playbook. And tech CEOs do all this from sprawling campuses, with the assistance of an army of eager employees? Swap in "lairs" and "henchmen" for "campuses" and "employees" and you may as well be describing the Legion of Doom instead of Google or Apple.
Consider the case of Jeff Bezos, recently profiled on 60 Minutes. The television news program portrayed Amazon's CEO as a forward-thinking titan of digital industry; but as we watched the segment, we felt the unmistakable buzz of our Spidey Sense tingling. To answer the question on nearly everyone's lips this week -- Is Jeff Bezos a Comic Book Supervillain? -- we broke out a list of six sure signs of supervillainy to see where the Amazon CEOs ranks among the Doctor Dooms and Sinestros of the universe.
Your CEO has a fascination with rockets
Earlier this year, a Bezos-led expedition recovered rockets that were used to power Apollo moon missions--and that's not the only time Bezos has dallied with rockets. His Blue Origin private firm wants to build reusable rocket-powered space vehicles.
Hey, we all need hobbies, right? And rockets seem like a perfectly harmless way to pass the time--unless, of course, it's a rocket being built to destroy the Earth, like the one assembled in the Breakworld at the behest of Powerlord Kruun in Astonishing X-Men.
Still, we're sure Bezos's interest in space travel is perfectly harmless and not at all part of a plan to emulate the villainous Magneto, who lives in a satellite orbiting the Earth. Or is it?
Does this mean Jeff Bezos is a supervillain? Possibly.
Your CEO wants to control the media
More than a few eyebrows were raised this summer when Bezos ponied up $250 million to buy the Washington Post. Why would the CEO of an online retailer want to become a newspaper owner? Maybe the deal was the part of some grand vision to develop news content for Amazon's assorted Kindle devices?
Well, they asked the same question when Lex Luthor bought the Daily Planet and when Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn acquired the Daily Bugle. And neither of those cats bought newspapers because they wanted something to read on their Kindle Paperwhites.
Does this mean Jeff Bezos is a supervillain? It doesn't mean he's not a supervillain.
Your CEO has obtained his own island
There's nothing like having your own private retreat, away from the cares and worries of the everyday world and--more importantly--the prying eyes of any meddling superheroes who might foil your various plots. As Arcade needed his Murderworld, as Magneto needed his Genosha, today's tech titan needs an island far from pesky laws that might otherwise hinder his or her schemes and plans.
Jeff Bezos continues to operate out of the Seattle area which--as of the posting of this article--has yet to descend into a hellish dystopia ruled by the iron fist of a Doctor Doomlike strongman. But if Bezos starts calling fellow CEO Larry Ellison to inquire about what it takes to buy an island, we might want to keep the Bat Signal at the ready.
Does this mean Jeff Bezos is a supervillain? No island lair, no supervillainy.
This week, a National Transportation Safety Board judge dismissed a $10,000 fine that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had lodged against a photographer who had used a drone to take aerial photos for the University of Virginia. The judge found that the FAA hadn't actually issued any enforceable rules regarding the use of commercial drones.
If you've got a Windows XP machine -- either at home or in the office -- consider yourself lucky. In the past, you'd upgrade to a more recent Windows operating system without a thought. Today, you have many options.
It's designed for the 3.5 billion people who have feature phones today. It solves technical problems Google is not interested in and is a better fit for the pre-paid phones popular in developing countries. The only trick is getting developers on board.
The cloud has overcome a lot of its technical challenges, especially when it comes to security. But the biggest problems in cloud computing now are cultural.