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Jeff Bezos asks his Twitter followers for ideas on how to spend his billions

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Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia
Having more money than he knows what to do with has prompted the eye-wateringly wealthy boss of Amazon to ask his Twitter followers for advice on how to spend it.

Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post and space company Blue Origin, is believed to be worth a colossal $82 billion, which makes him the second richest person on the planet after Bill Gates.

Aware that he’s unlikely to think up enough projects on which to spend his fortune before his time’s up — even a wildly intense shopping session on his own web store would unlikely make a dent in his cash pile — Bezos turned to his 228,000 Twitter followers on Thursday, June 15 with “a request for ideas” on what to do with it all. Or at least, some of it.

The 53-year-old tech and retail entrepreneur said he was “thinking about a philanthropy strategy” that’s geared toward “helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”

With ears wide open, Bezos encouraged anyone with ideas to simply post a reply to his tweet, adding that he also welcomed opinions from those who disagreed with his approach.

Offering an example of the “here and now,” Bezos referenced Mary’s Place in Seattle, a homeless shelter that Amazon recently promised to build alongside a new office that it’s constructing in the city.

Hundreds of wide-ranging ideas from Bezos’s Twitter followers have already rolled in — you can check them out by clicking on the tweet above.

Giving it away

While fellow tech billionaires such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have for some time made efforts to back good causes, Amazon’s CEO has come under scrutiny in some quarters for his apparent unwillingness to follow suit. However, in recent years Bezos has been showing greater enthusiasm to get in behind projects and spread the wealth generated by his business endeavors. For example, a few years back he made a donation to fund cancer research at the Fred Hutchinson Center, and before that gave money to Princeton University to create a center in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. And as he hints in his tweet, he’s also putting huge amounts of his own money into Blue Origin’s reusable rocket system, technology that he believes will ultimately help to protect the planet and help all Earthlings as heavy industry moves into space.

In Thursday’s tweet, Bezos didn’t say how much he’s put aside for funding new projects, but we’re certainly looking forward to finding out more about the plans and beneficiaries.

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Trevor Mogg
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