When did Jeff Bezos get so cool?

Buzz Aldrin also wants to know.
Buzz Aldrin also wants to know.
Image: AP Photo/Alex Sanz
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Amazon is one of the most important US companies right now. It’s producing award-winning content, nearly every household in the US is a subscriber to its Prime delivery service, and its earnings are through the roof. If it even thinks about entering a market, its competitors tumble.

Somewhere along its way to becoming a global force valued at almost half a trillion dollars, Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder and CEO, turned from a balding bookseller with a penchant for sweaters into, well, this:

This was Bezos looking fit and dressed like someone in a Daniel Craig-era Bond movie, or perhaps someone who really liked J.K. Simmons’ performance in Whiplash, at the Sun Valley conference in Idaho last week. The image instantly became a meme. Amazon is even selling the look on its new social network.

Even late last year, when visiting future president Trump, he looked like a run-of-the-mill CEO.

Regular Jeff.
Regular Jeff.
Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

But something’s changed. Bezos has recently been seen piloting a giant robot:

And today he joined Instagram to post this video (perhaps shot by one of Amazon’s drones) of him casually sunning himself on the roof of a new facility where one of his other companies, Blue Origin, will build reusable rockets to send goods and perhaps eventually people, into space.

It’s unclear when exactly Bezos’ transformation began. Perhaps being in that robot gave him a major confidence boost. But whatever caused it, it seems that he and another multi-company billionaire who also wants to send us into space, Elon Musk, are competing to see who can be more like Hank Scorpio from The Simpsons—hopefully without the same ending.