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Rare photo shows Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos having dinner 17 years ago, before their feud ignited

Business Insider US
Elon Musk (left) and Jeff Bezos.
  • A rare photo has surfaced of a meeting between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in 2004.
  • The meal occurred prior to the onset of a long-standing rivalry between the two moguls.
  • Musk responded to the photo, tweeting: "Wow, hard to believe that was 17 years ago!"
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A rare photo has surfaced of a fateful meeting between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk 17 years ago. The photo - which was tweeted by Trung Phan, a writer for business newsletter The Hustle - shows Musk and Bezos smiling while seated together in a restaurant. According to Phan, it was taken in 2004, just as Musk's and Bezos' respective space ambitions were starting to heat up.

Musk responded to the photo, tweeting: "Wow, hard to believe that was 17 years ago!"

The 2004 meeting is widely believed to be the beginning of a long-standing rivalry between the two moguls and their competing rocket companies, SpaceX and Blue Origin. While Bezos hasn't publicly discussed the meal, Musk described their meeting to author Christian Davenport for his book, "The Space Barons." Musk said that Bezos was "barking up the wrong tree" about rockets and that SpaceX had already tried several of the ideas Bezos was proposing, calling them "dumb." "I actually did my best to give good advice, which he largely ignored," Musk said.

Since then, Bezos has made veiled critiques of of Musk's main goal of sending humans to Mars, while Musk has taken jabs at some of Amazon's business ventures, calling Bezos a "copycat" on more than one occasion. SpaceX and Blue Origin have also competed over talent and patents, as well as NASA contracts and access to launch pads.

And for the past several months, Bezos and Musk have also been jockeying for the title of the richest person in the world. Bezos is currently in the No. 1 spot due to his $181 billion fortune, while Musk is No. 2 with a net worth of $170 billion.

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