Elon Musk vs Jeff Bezos: Impacts, portfolio, history & philanthropy

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk keep exchanging first and second positions on the world's richest list. But, who are they, what do they do, and why are they so rich?

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are currently two of tech’s most financially successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders. They both gained traction on the internet and are equally pursuing space-flight dreams.

On the surface, both men have had impressive business careers. But look a little deeper and you will find two entirely different personalities.

Bezos is the classic geek, though he has switched style in recent years. Musk, on the other hand, is a bad-boy scientist. A real-life Tony Stark from Iron Man, if you like.

Here is a closer look at both men.

Elon Musk vs Jeff Bezos

Jeff BezosElon Musk
Born:January 12, 1964June 28, 1971
Citizenship:United States of AmericaSouth Africa
United States of America
Net Worth (April 2021):$196 billion$170 billion
Marriages:MacKenzie BezosJustine Wilson
Talulah Riley (2x)
Girlfriends:Lauren SanchezClaire Elise Boucher (Grimes)
Blue Origin
The Washington Post
Rethink Robotics
The Boring Company
Notable Philanthropy:$10 billion in 2020Half – half fortune promise
Companies Founded:Amazon
Blue Origin
Boring Company
Cloud computing
Space travel
Electric mobility
Space travel
Notable rivalries:Blue Origin
Known vices:Whiskey
Media pranks

Early Years

Jeff Bezos was born in 1962 in New Mexico, USA as Jefferey Preston Jorgensen. His parents divorced while he was still a baby and his mother re-married to Mike Bezos, a Cuban immigrant. Bezos adopted Jeff when he was four years old.

Elon Reeve Musk was born in 1971 in South Africa to a Canadian model mom and a South African father. His parents also divorced in 1980. Musk lived for a while with his father, before moving to Canada in June 1989.

Between both entrepreneurs, Bezos seems to have had easier adolescence and early adulthood than Musk, who is estranged from his father. Bezos graduated college in 1986 and had good-paying jobs, before deciding to start Amazon, for which he got $300,000 from his parents.

Musk graduated college in 1997 and started Zip2 with about $15,000 in total funding from himself, his brother, and a friend. He had a much tougher time both living with his mum in Canada and living on $1 per day during his Zip2 programming days. But the eventual sale of the company put an end to it all, as he finally became rich and started pursuing other ventures.


Jeff Bezos met his wife MacKenzie in New York, while she worked as his assistant in 1993. They dated for 3 months and got married. Their marriage lasted for 25 years, coming to an official end in 2019. She received 25% of Bezos’ stake in Amazon and has since given billions away from it and re-married to a science teacher.

Elon Musk, on the other hand, has been married three times, but to two women. He first tied the knot with Justine Wilson in 2000 and divorced her in 2008.

Then he married the English actress Talulah Riley in 2010 and divorced her in 2012. Then he married Talulah one more time in 2013 and divorced her again in 2016. He is currently dating the Canadian musician Grimes.

Elon musk has 7 children while Jeff Bezos has 4.

Net Worth (April 2021)

Both men’s net worths are tied to stocks, which have been pretty volatile in recent times. Bezos became the world’s richest man in 2018, surpassing Bill Gates for the first time and keeping the position to date.

Musk, on the other hand, has been a billionaire but was nowhere near the top. That was until Tesla stocks exploded in 2020 and he gained over $100 billion in net worth, relatively overnight.

Musk briefly surpassed Bezos in January and March 2021 to become the world’s richest person, but the Tesla stock rallies and cools off, bringing Bezos back to number one. Musk is currently worth around $170 billion against Bezos’ $196 billion.


Most of Musk’s net worth is tied to Tesla stocks, just as Bezos’ is tied to Amazon shares. However, both men have other interests, both business and personal, which expand their portfolio. Here is how things are looking.

  • Jeff Bezos – Bezos reportedly owns over 10% of Amazon and that’s after selling over $10 billion worth of its stocks in 2020. Keep in mind that Amazon owns a ton of subsidiaries, including Whole Foods, Zappos, Ring, Twitch, Audible, and so on.

    Then, he owns The Washington Post through a separate holding company. He also owns Blue Origin, the aerospace company, and Bezos Expeditions, which is his venture capital investment vehicle.

  • Elon Musk – Aside from the over 22 million Tesla shares Musk owns, he also owns a large part of SpaceX. Since it is still a privately held company, there are no records to prove anything, but his holdings in the company are estimated at over 50%.

    Musk also owned a large part of SolarCity, but it got purchased by Tesla. Then there are AI investments, including DeepMind, which has been sold. As well as NeuroVigil and Vicarious. There is the fintech company Stripe, Hyperloop TT, and the non-profit OpenAI.


Another thing they have in common is being relatively stingy. Sure, both men have made donations in the past, but the sums pale in comparison to their wealth. Bezos recently pledged $10 billion to combat climate change and Musk pledged to give away half his fortune for Martian endeavors and the other half for the earth. But keep in mind that pledges are not donations.

Companies founded

While Jeff Bezos founded just Amazon and Blue Origin, Elon Musk, on the other hand, has often been described as a serial entrepreneur. He sold his first game at age 12 for $500 and co-founded Zip2 in 1995. They sold the company for $307 in 1999 and Musk received $22 million from it.

He then went on to found X.com, an online bank, which later merged with Confinity to become PayPal. eBay bought the company in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk invested part of his share from the sale into Tesla and founded the SpaceX company as well.

Bezos, on the other hand, founded just Amazon.com in 1994. He left his job at a hedge fund to chase this dream and even moved from New York to Seattle with his wife MacKenzie. The online shop initially sold only books.

He took the company public in 1997 and raised $54 million. Then diversified it into online music and video sales. Things grew from there and Amazon currently has over 100 in-house brands, including specific products such as AWS, Alexa, Fire, Kindle, Prime, Drive, and so on.


Elon Musk’s disruptions include online finance with X.com and PayPal, space travel with SpaceX, and electric mobility and AI with Tesla.

While Jeff Bezo’s founded just Amazon.com, the business has grown to include a wide range of products and over 40 subsidiaries. This gives it a far wider reach and impact than most people imagine.

Amazon focuses primarily on e-commerce, digital streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. But it is also very active in publishing, movie production, consumer electronics, the internet of things, logistics, robotics, groceries, and so many more.


Asides from the “world’s richest” title competition, both tech entrepreneurs are also facing off in two super-hot industries – space travel and computer vision.

  1. Space travel – Although Elon Musk’s SpaceX tends to catch most of the spotlight, Jeff Bezos first launched Blue Origin in 2000, two years before SpaceX. Since then, both companies have fought over NASA contracts, launchpad rights, patents, and even talents.

    Taking a space ride is a dream for many, so civilian space tourism is a hot industry with many potentials. Blue Origin aims to offer such trips for about $200,000 while Musk’s SpaceX plans to offer a one-way ticket to Mars for about $500,000 a pop.

  2. Computer Vision – Musk and Bezos are also set to battle it out in the computer-vision industry, another promising new tech sector. While most people know Tesla as an electric vehicle brand, few realize that it is also a self-driving car brand.

    Tesla offers an autopilot mode, which lets the car completely take over driving. And by April 2020, the brand has recorded over 3 billion miles driven autonomously on public roads.

    Amazon bought Zoox in June 2020 for $1.2 billion. Zoox is a self-driving car startup that aims to create a fleet of self-driving taxis. The company owns a highly developed and impressive computer-vision technology, which could become a major competitor to Tesla’s technology.

Vices, Stunts, & Eccentricities

We all have our vices and so do these two as well. Musk is known for his Twitter jokes, alcohol, and cannabis use. He tweeted a Tesla Tequila April Fool’s joke in 2018 and teased that it was coming soon in 2020. And surely, it did. The bottles sold for $250 each on the Tesla website and were quickly sold out.

Elon Musk is also known to play other pranks and publicity stunts, including selling caps and a flame-thrower to fund his boring company. But his most outstanding was smoking weed live with Joe Rogan on his web show.

For Jeff Bezos, not much is known about him, compared to Musk anyway. Still, he is said to like a whiskey now and then, although he confirmed in an interview that he still did the dishes every night with his then wife, even after becoming a billionaire.

In January 2019, news broke that Bezos loves to sext with his new girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. He got divorced months later.


Coming to the end of this side-by-side look at two of tech’s most notable entrepreneurs, you can see that anything is possible in life because life is what you make of it.

Technology is currently empowering humans across the globe and producing riches for those who create it.

Nnamdi Okeke

Nnamdi Okeke

Nnamdi Okeke is a computer enthusiast who loves to read a wide range of books. He has a preference for Linux over Windows/Mac and has been using
Ubuntu since its early days. You can catch him on twitter via bongotrax

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One comment

  1. Elon Musk has really been tweeting about Bitcoin. His tweets about Tesla’s BTC have been affecting the market substantially. I have a lot invested through Coinbase. He really needs to stop messing with the market.

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