In 1994, Bill Gates bought one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, the Codex Leicester, for 30 Million Dollars. It sounded like a lot of money until I thought about it. Bill wasn’t eating tuna fish sandwiches for the next couple months to pay for his treasure. That got me thinking about other billionaires and what interesting things they’ve been up to.
I remember hearing a lot about oil billionaires earlier this year. Funny how it hasn’t been mentioned in a couple months… even though Exxon’s quarterly profits would still be a record as recently as 2 years ago. 9.4 Billion dollars. I’m not advocating a punitive tax on the oil companies, but I am frustrated that the future is trapped on a balance sheet. these record profits represent the best chance to transition to cleaner fuels. The oil companies argue that new fuels are more expensive, less powerful alternatives to petroleum. it’s hard to argue with that. petroleum represents so many essential elements of our lives that it’s hard to imagine another substance with the same properties. Bio fuels, Solar, geothermal, wind, and the other ideas we just shake our heads at, are in their infancy. A large infusion of capital and development funds are needed to make these ideas viable. It took almost 40 years before oil was used for more than lubrication and lighting. Can you imagine still using gasoline 40 years from now? I think oil will be over $150/barrel in 4 years. Now imagine each major oil company spending 1 billion dollars per quarter to develop the solutions. Exxon would still have 8 billion dollars left in the checking account.