Best Local Boy Made Good Miami 2014 - Jeff Bezos
Futures in Arctic ice shelves. Horse-and-buggy stock. Donald Trump hair-care products. There are some investments conventional wisdom dictates smart business people in the early 21st Century simply should not make. Sadly for ink-stained scribes everywhere, "daily newspaper ownership" falls squarely into that category. So it's a measure of just how far up the visionary business genius charts Jeff Bezos has rocketed in recent years that when he bought the Washington Post last summer for a cool $250 million in cash, investors reacted with cautious curiosity instead of sprinting for the exits. It shouldn't have been a surprising reaction, though, considering that Bezos' Midas touch has created one of the great post-Steve Jobs business empires in America. His path to glory started right here in Miami-Dade County, where Bezos graduated as valedictorian from Miami Palmetto Senior High School and won a Silver Knight Award. In 1994, after graduating from Princeton, he founded Amazon.com and has rarely stopped wrecking expectations for what an online bookstore can do. As his personal fortune has ballooned to more than $20 billion, he's revolutionized web shopping and shown few signs of stopping. (Check out his latest plan to deliver orders by drone.) Can he reboot the similarly moribund daily newspaper business? Time will tell, but based on his track record, Bezos is one Miamian the dead-tree business should be thrilled to have in its corner.