October 31, 2016
Jeff Bezos tops Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list, because of course he does
by Nora Grubb
Recently, in conjunction with its New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, Vanity Fair released its annual New Establishment List, featuring “Silicon Valley hotshots, Hollywood moguls, Wall Street titans, and cultural icons.” Notable figures such as Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Apple CEO Tim Cook, journalist Megyn Kelly, and universally revered queen Beyoncé, among others, made the list. But it was topped off by Amazon founder and modern-day robber baron Jeff Bezos, up two spots from last year.
So why Bezos? The thirteen authors who compiled the list write, “After years of huge revenue growth—punctuated by financial losses—Amazon has now turned a profit in five consecutive quarters.” (Which is unusual for the company — historically, turning a profit really hasn’t been Amazon’s thing.) They also note that Bezos earned a whopping $1.4 billion by selling some of his company’s shares earlier this year.
But the entrepreneur’s influence—or, rather, the insidious shadow he casts over media—extends further. At number eighty-nine, television writer, Transparent creator, and I Love Dick adapter Jill Soloway is “Amazon’s resident tastemaker,” as well as the poster child for the company’s recent success in TV production. Hedge fund manager Jeffrey Smith, at number sixty-two, has just finished Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. And, at forty-four, Washington Post editor Marty Baron—whose paper was acquired by Amazon back in 2013—answers the question of which streaming service he prefers without flinching: “I use Amazon Prime Video. And I’m not just saying that because Jeff Bezos my boss.”
As for Bezos, it turns out that he has some likable hobbies. In between assaulting the galaxy and laughing like a hyena, he says he’s starting a family book club. First up? Angela Duckworth’s Grit, which Bezos says is about “the importance of passion and perseverance.”
Uh, sure thing, Jeff.
Nora Grubb is an intern at Melville House.