Jeff Bezos is heading to space, but he’s not the only mogul obsessed with extreme experiences. Here are the wildest ways the world’s elite spend their free time.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin
  • A passion for extreme experiences seems to be common among the world’s billionaires.
  • Jeff Bezos is going to space, Larry Ellison races yachts, and Richard Branson kitesurfs.
  • Jack Dorsey once did a 10-day silent meditation and only eats seven meals per week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In just a few short weeks, Jeff Bezos will take the riskiest flight of his life, one that takes him 62 miles above Earth, right to the edge of space.

The soon-to-be-ex-Amazon CEO is something of an adventurer, what with his trips out to sea or to the bottom of caves. But that doesn’t exactly make him unique among his peers – in fact, a passion for extreme experiences seems to be a common trait among the world’s billionaires.

Read more: These 4 companies are leading the charge in ‘space vacations’ – from giant balloon flights to orbital hotels

And Bezos isn’t even the only executive with a passion for space travel. Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Paul Allen, and Sergey Brin have all expressed an interest in leaving planet Earth.

But while outer space appears to be the dominant source of fascination for the world’s most powerful people, there are plenty of other billionaires with extreme pursuits of their own.

Jeff Bezos has used his extensive resources to fund extreme trips – and now, space travel.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

While Bezos made his $200 billion fortune redefining retail, it seems his true passion lies in more extreme pursuits. 

The Amazon CEO has spent his vacation time over the years on a range of unusual and, oftentimes exclusive pursuits: He went on a 50-mile horseback ride through West Texas alongside his father and his brother, Mark; he’s rappelled hundreds of feet down into dark caves, equipped with a harness and a headlamp; and he once spent three weeks at sea recovering pieces of the engine of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which took the first humans to the moon.

He was even once involved in a serious helicopter crash, which reportedly turned him off of helicopters for years (although he seems to have since rekindled his interest in the aircraft).

But in just a few weeks, Bezos will embark on his most extreme adventure yet: Taking an 11-minute flight to the edge of space onboard a Blue Origin spacecraft. Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the goal of democratizing human spaceflight, and the trip on July 20 will be the culmination of a lifelong obsession with space

Richard Branson is known for his outlandish stunts and his passion for space tourism.

Richard Branson holds up helmet inside Formula E racecar
Richard Branson poses in the DS Virgin Racing Formula E car to promote the FIA Formula E Championship at The New York City ePrix in New York.

Branson is known for daredevilish antics: He jumped off the Palms Casino in Las Vegas in 2007, he kitesurfed the English Channel in 2012 (an activity he’s also performed with a naked model on his back), and he became the first man to cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in a hot air balloon.

In 2011, he launched Virgin Oceanic with the goal of exploring the deepest parts of the world’s oceans, although that venture has since been scrapped

Perhaps more ambitious than Branson’s underwater pursuits, however, are his goals for space tourism. His space venture, Virgin Galactic, is focused on suborbital tourism where passengers can pay $200,000 to $250,000 for a luxurious trip to space. (The company plans to start accepting passengers next year.)

Sergey Brin appears to be a fan of all manner of flying objects, including spaceships.

Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass
Sergey Brin pictured wearing Google Glass in 2012.

Brin, the Google cofounder worth $108 billion, has a passion for unusual aircraft. For the past four years, Brin has been working on a secretive airship company known as LTA Research and Exploration — “LTA” being short for “lighter than air.” The company got its start inside NASA’s Ames Research Center and is working to bring its vision of zero-emission aircrafts to life. 

While the goal of Brin’s airships is to deliver humanitarian aid, the ship — similar to a Zeppelin or blimp — is also luxuriously appointed so it could serve as an “intercontinental air yacht” for Brin’s friends and family. 

But it seems Brin is hoping to go higher than even a blimp can take him. In 2008, Brin invested $5 million in space tourism company Space Adventures. According to Forbes, the investment was also a deposit for a future spaceflight.

The company has completed several spaceflights with private citizens including Microsoft billionaire Charles Simonyi and Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, but it’s unclear if and when Brin will embark on a trip of his own. 

Paul Allen had a luxury submarine and a passion for underwater exploration.

Paul Allen looks at Ansari XPrize trophy
Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen at the 2004 Ansari XPrize ceremony.

Before Allen’s death in 2018 from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he was the owner of a fleet of fabulous megayachts. But aboard those luxury yachts was something more exotic: submarines and underwater vehicles capable of diving hundreds of feet into the depths of the ocean. 

“It turns out if you go 1,000 feet down in the ocean, it’s really dark, and the animals are really strange,” Allen told Geekwire in 2011. “But if you put on some Pink Floyd, it’s fantastic.”

The details of Allen’s yachts and submarine were something of a secret, with Fred Rodie, one of Allen’s boatbuilders, telling the Seattle Times in 2007 that he’s “not really supposed to talk about the sub, but it’s a fancy one, a mighty nice piece of work.” 

Allen’s submarine, named Pagoo, was 40 feet long, cost $12 million to build, fit eight passengers and two crew members, and was capable of diving for up to eight hours, according to the Seattle Times and Allen’s website. The best part? It was actually yellow.

Allen was passionate about underwater exploration and used his fleet of yachts, subs, and underwater vehicles to help find long-lost artifacts, including the wreckage of multiple World War I and II battleships. He was also present for director James Cameron’s 2012 dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, according to Geekwire.

And, like many of his peers, Allen had space ambitions of his own. In 2011, he launched Stratolaunch Systems with the goal of building the world’s largest airplane in order to launch satellites and send humans to space. 

Mark Zuckerberg prefers sports like electric surfing and bow-hunting.

mark zuckerberg facebook

While Mark Zuckerberg’s pursuits are more Earth-bound than some of his fellow billionaires, he has plenty of extreme pastimes of his own. 

The Facebook CEO is a fan (and talented user of) the Lift Foils efoil, an electric surfboard that retails for $12,000. He’s been spotted aboard the unusual surfboard multiple times near his property on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, and has posted videos of himself successfully navigating choppy waters. 

Zuckerberg’s interests appear to extend to other outdoor pursuits: He recently posted videos of himself using a bow and arrows and throwing spears in what appeared to be hunting practice, and he once served Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey a goat he had killed as part of a 2011 challenge to only eat animals he killed himself. 

Jack Dorsey meditates for hours each day and only eats dinner.

Jack Dorsey wearing tie-dye shirt onstage
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on stage at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference in Miami.

For Dorsey, a love of the extreme is much more inward focused. Rather than kitesurf or explore outer space, Dorsey fasts and participates in silent meditations. 

In 2018, Dorsey spent his birthday in Myanmar doing a 10-day silent vipassana meditation. He described the experience on Twitter as “extremely painful”: He meditated from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day; wasn’t allowed to eat dinner, read, listen to music, or make eye contact with others; and ended up with 117 mosquito bites in a single night. 

Since then, Dorsey has said he tries to meditate for two hours each day and eats only seven meals in a week — only dinner. 

Larry Ellison has spent millions on yacht-racing and even founded his own racing league.

Larry Ellison sailing onboard an Oracle catamaran
Oracle founder Larry Ellison aboard the Spithill Oracle catamaran.

While Ellison has been passionate about sailing since his early 20s, he didn’t get serious about the sport until the 1990s, when he bought a 78-foot racing sailboat he called Sayonara. He started competing in races, winning world championships, once almost dying in a storm on Sydney Harbour.

He later began competing in the America’s Cup, an annual yacht race that takes place every three or four years. In 2010, Ellison and his crew won the race, with the then-65-year-old billionaire onboard.

Ellison has now spent hundreds of millions of dollars on his racing pursuits, won a second victory at the America’s Cup in 2013, and launched his own sailing league that was most recently valued at $200 million

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Inside Larry Ellison’s futuristic indoor farming company, whose massive, Tesla solar-powered Hawaii greenhouses are the first step toward an ambitious goal of feeding the world

Man reaching for leaves inside Sensei greenhouse
An employee at Sensei’s farm in Lanai, Hawaii.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison created an indoor farming company called Sensei Ag in 2018.
  • The goal of Sensei Ag is to feed the world by making produce more nutrient-rich and accessible.
  • Sensei Ag’s Tesla solar-powered greenhouses grow produce that’s distributed throughout Hawaii.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Picture this: You’re driving along the highway on the island of Lanai, Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island. All of a sudden, the verdant landscape gives way to futuristic greenhouses powered by an array of solar panels.

This is the first outpost of Larry Ellison’s 3-year-old indoor farming company, Sensei Ag.

Sensei Ag is an agriculture-tech firm bent on changing the way food is grown worldwide. The company’s mission is to feed the world by making produce more nutrient-rich and accessible and lowering the barrier to entry for vertical or greenhouse farming.

And while the company is young, it has the backing of Ellison, the tech titan whose net worth hovers around $95 billion and whose aggressive bet on the future of database-management turned Oracle into a $200 billion behemoth.

Read more: Leaked documents show just how much Oracle’s cloud unit is modeling itself after Amazon by telling employees ‘don’t be a jerk’ and ‘put customers first’

Ellison’s latest venture seems to have an equally ambitious outlook on the future.

“In the next three-to-five years, our goal is to feed the top three quintiles of the world with our products and employ the bottom two,” Sensei Ag CEO Sonia Lo told Insider. “And then in the next eight-to-10 years, it is to feed everybody.”

Here’s how Sensei Ag is working to making indoor farming mainstream and use its Hawaiian homebase as a “lab for the world.”

Sensei Ag is the brainchild of Ellison and Dr. David Agus, a cancer physician and professor at the University of Southern California.

Sensei 8
Larry Ellison, left, and Dr. David Agus.

Ellison is the cofounder of cloud-computing firm Oracle. The 76-year-old billionaire, who announced last year that he moved to Lanai full time during the pandemic, is known for being something of an international playboy, as well as an outspoken advocate for health and wellness. 

Ellison and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs were close friends for 25 years, and often spent time hiking together near their neighboring homes in Woodside, California, prior to Jobs’ death from pancreatic cancer in 2011. Ellison gave a eulogy at Jobs funeral.

Agus, 57, is a prominent physician who treats patients with advanced forms of cancer and leads the USC cancer institute funded by Ellison. 

Agus and Ellison became close friends while Agus was treating Jobs’ cancer, according to Forbes.

Ellison and Agus founded Sensei in 2018, and recently split the company in two: A data-driven wellness spa called Sensei Retreats, and Sensei Ag.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii
A person receiving a massage at Sensei Retreats in Hawaii.

Located at a Four Seasons resort known as Sensei Lanai, Sensei Retreats offers guests a customizable experience: They can set physical and mental goals for their stay, and the spa will track their sleep, nutrition, and blood flow.

Sensei’s overarching goal is to help people live longer and healthier lives by improving sleep, movement, and nutrition, the company says. 

Sensei Ag’s primary focus is to bring healthy, affordable food to the masses by making indoor farming more accessible and more sustainable.

Sensei 2
Inside a Sensei Ag greenhouse on Lanai.

“Larry’s perspective and David’s perspective is that indoor growing is revolutionary, and that we can move the needle on feeding people globally and diminishing water use and land use,” Lo said. 

This goal will come with significant costs and an ambitious technology rollout, she said, but cited the environmental benefits of moving farming indoors, particularly when it comes to water use: Indoor farming is shown to use significantly less water than outdoor farming. Greenhouses use roughly 10% the amount of water used in an open field, and vertical farms use even less — closer to 3%, Lo said.

In addition to focusing on sustainability, Sensei employs a team of plant scientists who are working on maximizing the nutrients in the crops Sensei grows. 

 

What makes Sensei Ag different from other indoor farming companies, Lo said, is that it works as a franchise model.

Sensei 7
An exterior view of Sensei’s greenhouses.

For the average farmer, shifting to indoor production can be prohibitively expensive, which is what’s held back the indoor farming movement up to this point, Lo said. 

Farmers who opt for traditional outdoor growing have “a whole infrastructure that supports you,” Lo said. That includes the ability to lease a tractor, lease land, and borrow other growers’ cold storage and packing infrastructure.

“Whereas if you want to be an indoor grower, you have to come up with several hundred thousand dollars, at a minimum, if not several tens of millions,” Lo said. 

What Sensei Ag offers is the “whole franchise package.” That includes helping a farmer identify the right indoor growing form factor for their farm, whether that’s a glass greenhouse or an indoor farm; setting up a “cold chain,” or refrigerated supply chain; and locking in transportation and logistics.

There’s also a data component to what Sensei Ag is offering to farmers. Sensei tracks factors like crop selection and what type of light a grower users, then feed that information into a dataset to help inform future Sensei partners. 

The produce grown by Sensei’s partners can carry the Sensei Farms branding, and Sensei will help with distribution.

Sensei 4
Crops growing inside a Lanai greenhouse.

Lo said that a benefit to being one of Sensei’s franchisees is the ability to distribute your produce at major US retailers. 

“If you go to Walmart and you say, ‘I have a 200,000-square-foot greenhouse and I want to deal directly with you,’ Walmart will say, ‘Oh gosh, you know, we really can’t manage you as a vendor that’s that small,'” Lo said. 

“Whereas if you go to Walmart and you say, ‘We’re Sensei, and we have 200 farms across the US,’ that’s a risk that Walmart is willing to take,” she said. 

Not all types of crops are suited to growing indoors, and what’s typically grown today meets a three-pronged threshold: good nutrition, reliability, and affordability.

Sensei 3
Tomatoes growing inside one of the greenhouses on Lanai.

Lo pointed to tomatoes as a good example of food that is almost entirely grown indoors, because growers can offer good value to customers.

“That’s taken 15 years and it’s taken a lot of technology, a lot of reliability of growing, a lot of just processes and procedures that have come into play,” Lo said. 

Lo predicted that the next crops to move primarily indoors will be leafy greens and strawberries. Strawberries, in particular, are becoming harder to grow outdoors due to a change in pesticide laws

But there are downsides to indoor growing, particularly when it comes to energy use.

Sensei 5
Tesla solar panels at Sensei’s Lanai greenhouses.

Indoor farms are often powered by coal, so they still have a carbon footprint.

And while there are vertical farms that are powered by solar energy, they require as many as 20 acres of solar panels, which means you’re not really using less land. 

At Sensei’s farm on Lanai, there are six greenhouses spanning 120,000 square feet that are capable of producing over a million pounds of food per year, according to Forbes.

The greenhouses have sensors and cameras that track data about the farms, including water usage and airflow, and are powered by Tesla solar panels. (Ellison sits on Tesla’s board.) 

Lo called Sensei’s farm on Lanai its “lab for the world.”

Sensei 9
Sensei’s farm on Lanai.

“Islands are incredibly tough,” she said, citing water, land, and labor constraints that make farming challenging on Lanai. But she said that the company has already met its initial goal of feeding the Hawaiian islands.

Sensei had its first harvest in August 2020, and by December, its produce was sold on every Hawaiian island. The food is packed on Lanai, then taken by barge to central Honolulu — from there, its distributed to the other islands, Lo said. 

Food that’s grown at Sensei Farms is distributed at the Nobu restaurant located inside the Sensei resort nearby, with the aim of measuring the effect the food has on people who visit the Sensei Wellness program.

“Now our goal is to not just make food an export of Lanai, but also to take the learnings from Lanai — the business processes, the franchising model on the island, the water conservation, the water reuse — and really make it an intellectual product and then export that intellectual product,” she said.

She added: “If it works on an island in the middle of the Pacific, it will work anywhere.” 

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The wealthiest Americans avoided billions in taxes by voluntarily doing something most only do out of necessity: borrowing money.

billionaires 03
  • America’s 25 wealthiest people got $401 billion richer from 2014 to 2018, according to Forbes.
  • ProPublica reported the income taxes they paid amounted to just 3.4% of that new net worth.
  • One way the ultra-rich avoid taxes: borrowing money at low-interest rates, according to ProPublica.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

ProPublica reported Tuesday it had obtained a massive trove of IRS documents, revealing that America’s wealthiest individuals have avoided paying billions of dollars in taxes for years, resulting in income tax bills that amount to a fraction of their net worth.

One of the key strategies employed by the ultrawealthy to keep their tax bills low: borrowing money.

Many Americans borrow money only when they have to for large purchases like college tuition or a house, as interest can quickly add up, especially if they’re not able to pay back the loan right away.

But according to ProPublica and independent experts, America’s billionaires have often financed their lavish lifestyles by using their vast fortunes as collateral for loans, which can come with single-digit interest rates.

Borrowing money allows the ultrawealthy to earn minuscule salaries, avoiding the 37% federal tax on top incomes, as well as avoid selling stock to free up cash, bypassing the 20% top capital gains tax rate. Since loans aren’t considered taxable income, the wealthy need only pay back the principal and interest, rather than the higher taxes that would accompany multimillion-dollar incomes and investments.

America’s 25 wealthiest individuals saw their net worth grow by $401 billion from 2014 to 2018, according to Forbes. But they paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in that same period, amounting to 3.4% of that newly acquired wealth, ProPublica found.

By contrast, a middle-class American in their 40s who had amassed a “typical amount of wealth for people their age,” saw their net worth grow by $65,000 from 2014 to 2018, but paid $62,000 in income taxes, or 95% of that new wealth, according to ProPublica.

The US does not directly tax individuals’ total wealth, unlike some European countries. Nor does it tax stock holdings until they are sold. And billionaires tend to have a lot of their net worth wrapped up in stocks.

However, ProPublica’s analysis revealed in new detail how America’s tax code allows the ultrawealthy to take advantage of a litany of tax loopholes and wealth-management strategies to increase their wealth without also increasing their tax bills substantially.

To illustrate the gap between wealth and taxes paid by the ultrawealthy, ProPublica created what it called a “true tax rate.” ProPublica defined this as the total federal income tax a person paid, in this case from 2014 to 2018, compared to how much new wealth they acquired in that same time period.

ProPublica did not publish its source data or disclose how it obtained IRS data.

According to ProPublica, the top 25 wealthiest Americans paid a “true tax rate” of 3.4% – a result of tax avoidance strategies that are out of reach for most Americans.

Borrowing, it turns out, is one of those strategies.

In 2014, for example, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison disclosed he had used 250 million of his Oracle shares as collateral to secure a $9.7 billion personal line of credit.

Elon Musk has similarly put up a massive amount of his equity in Tesla and SpaceX as collateral for loans, rather than sell those shares and pay 20% in capital gains tax to free up the money. From 2014 to 2018, Musk paid $455 million in taxes on a reported income of $1.52 billion, resulting in an effective tax rate of 29.9%. But his wealth grew by $13.9 billion during that time, meaning his “true tax rate,” according to ProPublica’s methodology, was just 3.27%.

Musk replied to ProPublica’s request for comment with: “?”

Investor Carl Icahn also took advantage of borrowing money, paying $0 in federal income taxes despite reporting an adjusted gross income of $544 million, as he had an outstanding loan with Bank of America worth $1.2 billion, ProPublica reported.

“I didn’t make money because, unfortunately for me, my interest was higher than my whole adjusted income,” Icahn told ProPublica, adding that while he does borrow a lot of money, it’s “not at all” meant to lower his tax bill, but rather that he borrows “to win. I enjoy the competition. I enjoy winning.”

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Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison is tearing down his new $80 million Palm Beach mansion and says he has no plans to leave Hawaii

Larry Ellison
Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison plans to tear down his $80 million Palm Beach mansion.
  • He told employees that he became a resident of Hawaii last year and has no plans to move back.
  • Ellison owns 98% of the island of Lanai, Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Larry Ellison is staying in Hawaii full time – and knocking down the $80 million Palm Beach mansion he just bought.

The Oracle billionaire sent an email to employees this week explaining his future plans after reports surfaced that he had purchased a 15,000-square-foot home in South Florida. Ellison confirmed that he had purchased the mansion, but that he’s “tearing the house down and not moving to Florida,” according to Recode’s Theodore Schleifer.

“Last year I moved from California to the island of Lana’i and became a resident of the State of Hawaii,” Ellison wrote. “I love it here and have no plans to move back to Florida, Texas, back to California … or anywhere else.”

Ellison’s home in Palm Beach sits on 7.35 acres, making it the third-largest oceanfront parcel of land in Palm Beach County, according to a real estate listing. The Tuscan-style home, which previously belonged to hedge-fund manager Gabe Hoffman, includes seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and three half-bathrooms, a VIP guest suite, a home theater, a wine room, a chef’s kitchen, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

The home was built in 1998, and it’s unclear why Ellison would want to knock it down. Ellison already has an extensive real estate portfolio that includes multimillion-dollar homes in San Francisco, Malibu, Lake Tahoe, Rhode Island, and Japan.

Read more: Peek into Palm Beach’s wild, sometimes maskless pandemic party scene as wealthy residents carry on ‘living their lives’

But it seems the tech mogul, who’s worth $91.5 billion, has no plans to live in the mansion, or anywhere else in the contiguous United States.

Ellison revealed last year that he had moved to Lanai, Hawaii, amid the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to use “the power of Zoom to work” from the island, he wrote in an email to Oracle employees at the time, who had been asking about Ellison’s plans in the wake of Oracle moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas.

Ellison purchased nearly 98% of the island of Lanai in 2012 for a reported $300 million – his purchase included 87,000 of the island’s 90,000 acres of land. Lanai, which is home to about 3,200 residents, is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is home to serene beaches, rugged terrain, high-end resorts, as well as Ellison’s sustainability ambitions, which he’s executing through a development company called Pulama Lanai.

He also launched a wellness company called Sensei in 2018, which is working on three main issues: global food supply, nutrition, and sustainability. Sensei has since launched two 20,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouses on the island, known as Sensei Farms, and a luxury spa called Sensei Retreat that costs $3,000 a night.

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Inside Larry Ellison’s new $80 million Palm Beach mansion, which sits in a high-security gated community and has 520 feet of ocean frontage

larry ellison palm beach mansion
Tech billionaire Larry Ellison has paid $80 million for a 15,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.

Tech billionaire Larry Ellison has paid $80 million for a 15,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

The Oracle cofounder, who’s worth $89.3 billion, bought the estate from hedge-fund manager Gabe Hoffman, who put it on the market in June 2020 for $79.5 million, as Katherine Clarke reported for the Journal.

Chris Leavitt, Ashley McIntosh, and Tonja Garamella of Douglas Elliman handled the transaction and declined to comment on the deal.

Ellison said in December that he had moved from California to Lanai, the Hawaiian island he owns.

larry ellison
Oracle’s Larry Ellison.

After Ellison announced in December that he’d be moving Oracle’s headquarters from Redwood Shores, California, to Austin, Texas, he got questions from employees about whether he was also moving to Austin, Recode reported.

“The answer is no. I’ve moved to the state of Hawaii and I’ll be using the power of Zoom to work from the island of Lanai,” Ellison wrote in an email to staffers.

At 7.35 acres, his new Palm Beach property is the third-largest oceanfront parcel of land in Palm Beach County, according to the listing.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

The estate sits in a gated community called Seminole Landing, which has a manned security gate and 24-hour security. The property itself is also gated.

The listing also notes that the Palm Beach estate is one of “only a handful of properties in Florida where someone could land and take off in a helicopter from the estate.”

Built in 1998, the Tuscan-style main home has 15,514 square feet of living space.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

The house has seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and three half-bathrooms.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

There’s also a VIP guest suite, a home theater, a wine room, chef’s kitchen, and a tennis court.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

The swimming pool is surrounded by palm trees and a large private terrace.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

Perhaps the most coveted feature of the property is its 520 feet of ocean frontage.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

Ellison’s newest home purchase adds to the billionaire’s already impressive real-estate collection.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

He also owns a 23-acre estate in Woodside, California, and a home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, multiple homes on Malibu’s “Billionaire’s Beach,” and several properties in Lake Tahoe.

An Oracle representative did not respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

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Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison just dropped $80 million on a Palm Beach mansion, 4 months after he said he’d moved to Hawaii

larry ellison palm beach mansion
A Google Maps satellite view of Ellison’s new mansion.

Palm Beach has gained yet another billionaire resident.

Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison has paid $80 million for a 15,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in the southeast Florida county, Katherine Clarke reported for The Wall Street Journal.

Ellison, who has an $89.1 billion fortune and is the world’s 10th-richest person, said in December that he had relocated from California to the island he owns in Hawaii. The tech billionaire’s massive real-estate portfolio also includes properties in Malibu, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Rhode Island, and Japan.

His newest purchase is the third-largest oceanfront parcel of land in Palm Beach County, according to the listing, which was held by Douglas Elliman. The Tuscan-style estate sits in a gated community and sprawls over more than 15,000 square feet, with 520 feet of ocean frontage. It features a home movie theater, a wine room, a large private pool terrace, and a tennis court.

It’s one of “only a handful of properties in Florida where someone could land and take off in a helicopter from the estate,” according to the listing.

larry ellison palm beach mansion
The home has 520 feet of ocean frontage.

Ellison bought the 7.35-acre property from hedge-fund manager Gabe Hoffman, who put it on the market in June 2020, asking $79.5 million.

With his newest purchase, Ellison joins an affluent community that’s added even more billionaires to its ranks in the past year.

Billionaire private-equity executive Robert F. Smith bought two homes in Palm Beach for about $48 million in November. In February, hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper went into contract on a $73 million Palm Beach mansion. And casino mogul Steve Wynn, who’s worth $3.2 billion, has bought two Palm Beach homes since December – one for $18.4 million and one for $49 million. He’s already flipped the former for $23.68 million.

These new ultra-wealthy Palm Beach residents may rub shoulders with longtime billionaire denizens like Stephen Ross, the chairman and owner of Related Cos., which owns Equinox and SoulCycle.

Hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who heads Citadel, has spent nearly $250 million over the years on real-estate along Palm Beach’s “Billionaires Row” with reported intentions of building a massive mansion.

Goodbye, Silicon Valley. Hello Texas, Florida, and Hawaii.

Ellison’s Palm Beach purchase is not the only big move the tech billionaire has made during the pandemic.

In December, he announced he’d be relocating Oracle’s headquarters from Redwood Shores, California, to Austin, Texas. A few days later, the Oracle executive chairman told his employees that he himself had moved to Lanai, the Hawaiian island of which he owns 98%, as Recode first reported.

“I’ve moved to the state of Hawaii and I’ll be using the power of Zoom to work from the island of Lanai,” Ellison wrote in an email to staffers.

larry ellison
Ellison told his employees in December that he had moved to Hawaii.

It’s unclear whether Ellison plans to make Palm Beach his new home base or simply add it to his collection of homes. He also owns a 23-acre estate in Woodside, California, and a home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, multiple homes on Malibu’s “Billionaire’s Beach,” and several properties in Lake Tahoe.

An Oracle spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

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Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison has moved to Lanai, the Hawaiian island he’s spent half a billion dollars developing. Here’s how Ellison bought 98% of the island and turned it into a sustainability experiment.

Larry Ellison Lanai
The island of Lanai from above.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison bought 98% of Lanai in 2012 for an estimated $300 million.
  • Ellison is hoping to turn Lanai into a wellness utopia through his company, Sensei.
  • Now, Ellison lives in Lanai full-time and plans to use “the power of Zoom” to work from the island.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison is making the Pineapple Island his full-time home.

Ellison revealed last year that he has moved to Lanai, Hawaii, amid the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to use “the power of Zoom to work” from the island, he wrote in an email to Oracle employees, who had been asking about Ellison’s plans in the wake of Oracle moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas.

Ellison owns almost the entirety of Lanai: He purchased nearly 98% of the island in 2012 for a reported $300 million – his purchase included 87,000 of the island’s 90,000 acres of land.

Read more: Oracle’s TikTok victory highlights Larry Ellison’s reputation as a ‘sharp-elbows entrepreneur’ who experts say has benefited from his embrace of Trump: ‘Larry’s politics are good business’

Lanai, which is home to about 3,200 residents, is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is home to serene beaches, rugged terrain, high-end resorts, and Ellison’s sustainability ambitions, which he’s executing through a development company called Pulama Lanai.

Here’s how Lanai came to be owned by Ellison and what he’s planning for the island.

In June 2012, Ellison bought Lanai for an estimated $300 million. Prior to Ellison’s purchase, the island was owned by billionaire Dole chairman David Murdock, who had reportedly been asking for $1 billion for the island.

Lanai Hawaii

Source: Pacific Business News, Forbes

Murdock became the owner of Lanai in 1985 after taking over Dole’s parent company, Castle & Cooke. Prior to Murdock’s ownership, the island was controlled by “Pineapple King” James Dole.

Lanai Hawaii
Pineapple fields on Lanai.

Source: Forbes

The 141-square-mile island, which is eight miles off the coast of Maui, has zero traffic lights and few paved roads, according to Forbes. Compared with other Hawaiian islands, Lanai is secluded – but Ellison has plans to change that: He wants to turn Lanai into a tourist destination.

Lanai Hawaii
Lanai from space.

Source: Forbes, The New York Times

Lanai already boasts two Four Seasons-run hotels. The penthouse suite at the Four Seasons Hotel Lanai costs $21,000 per night, making it the most expensive suite in Hawaii.

A post shared by Four Seasons Resorts Lānaʻi (@fslanai)

Source: Pacific Business News

The island was also home to two golf courses when Ellison bought it, including Manele Golf Course. In 1994, prior to Ellison’s ownership of the island, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates got married at the 17th hole of the course.

Manele Golf Course 17th hole Lanai
The 17th hole of the Challenge course at the Manele Golf Course in Lanai circa 1985.

Source: CNBC

The other course, Koele, was designed by golfer Greg Norman. The course has since been shut down, and an adventure park and zipline have been installed in its place.

Lanai Hawaii
The cart path on the golf course at Lanai Manele Bay Resort.

Source: Pacific Business Journal, Lanai Adventure Park

In 2014, Ellison bought Island Air, a budget airline that ferries passengers from Oahu to Maui and Lanai. But two years later, after the airline lost $21.78 million and had to lay off roughly 20% of its workforce, Ellison sold a controlling interest in the airline.

Oahu Hawaii airplane
The view of the windward side of Oahu, Hawaii, from aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight.

Source: Business Insider

Ellison’s Lanai purchase included an animal-rescue center. Because there are no natural predators to cats on Lanai, the feral-cat population at the shelter has ballooned to over 400 cats (which Ellison technically owns). In recent years, it’s become a travel destination in itself.

Cat shelter
An animal-rescue center, though not the one on Lanai.

Source: Hawaii Magazine, The New York Times

Ellison’s ambitions extend beyond tourism, however: he plans to create “the first economically viable, 100 percent green community,” according to The New York Times.

larry ellison

Source: The New York Times

In 2018, Ellison launched a wellness company called Sensei, which is working on three main issues: global food supply, nutrition, and sustainability. Sensei’s goal is to use data to help people lead healthier and longer lives.

hydroponic farming

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Sensei built two 20,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouses, known as Sensei Farms. The greenhouses have sensors and cameras that track data about the farms, including water usage and airflow. According to Forbes, they’re powered by 1,600 Tesla solar panels (Ellison sits on Tesla’s board).

Tesla solar panels Puerto Rico
Tesla solar panels in Puerto Rico.

Source: Forbes

Sensei also built a luxury spa called Sensei Retreat that costs $3,000 a night. Guests set physical and mental goals for their stay and the spa tracks their sleep, nutrition, and blood flow. The heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers grown at Sensei Farms are used at the spa’s in-house Nobu restaurant, according to Forbes.

Spa facial
A person receiving a facial, though not at the Sensei Retreat.

Source: Forbes

Ellison reportedly wants to purchase the island’s power plant and electric grid from Hawaiian Electric Co. to transition the island away from fossil fuels toward 100% renewable energy.

Hawaii solar power
Hawaii is a national leader in rooftop solar power, and the state has an ambitious goal of using only renewable energy by 2045.

Source: Fox Business

Ellison’s goal is for Lanai to serve as a prototype for a “health utopia,” according to Forbes. Tesla CEO and Ellison’s close friend Elon Musk told Forbes that Lanai is like “a microcosm for the world.”

Larry Ellison Elon Musk

Source: Forbes

When the coronavirus pandemic struck Lanai last year, Ellison reduced or eliminated rent altogether for businesses on the island and paid the full wages and benefits for employees who worked for him.

Manele Bay Resort Lanai Hawaii
Tiki torches at the Manele Bay Resort in Lanai.

Source: Business Insider

All told, Ellison has spent roughly half a billion dollars on the island, beyond his initial purchase (in 2014, he spent $41 million on property alone). But Ellison’s wealth has only continued to rise during the pandemic: These days, he’s worth an estimated $81.6 billion.

Larry Ellison

Source: Pacific Business News, Forbes, Bloomberg

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See inside Larry Ellison’s Hawaiian island wellness retreat, a $1,200-per-night luxury spa where guests track their health data and learn how to live longer lives

Sensei Lanai Hawaii
Sensei Retreats in Lanai, Hawaii.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison owns an ultra-luxury wellness retreat in Lanai, Hawaii.
  • Called Sensei Retreat, the spa uses data to track and improve guests’ nutrition, sleep, and fitness.
  • The spa partnered with fitness-tracking firm Whoop to offer a new $1,185-per-night wellness program.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

On the island of Lanai, Hawaii, nine miles off the coast of Maui, sits an ultra-luxe retreat, the brainchild of Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison. 

Known as Sensei Retreat, it’s a wellness spa driven by data located at Four Seasons resort Sensei Lanai. This month, Sensei unveiled a new partnership with fitness-tracking company Whoop to help track health metrics and work with guests to keep tabs on their long-term wellness. 

Sensei CEO Kevin Kelly said in a statement about the program that the goal of Sensei is to help people “live longer, healthier lives” by improving sleep, movement, and nutrition. Sensei is guided by health science, data, and research, the company says. 

While Ellison previously lived in the Bay Area, the resort is now in his backyard: Ellison revealed late last year that he had moved to Lanai amid the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to use “the power of Zoom to work” from the island, he wrote in an email to Oracle employees, who had been asking about Ellison’s plans in the wake of Oracle moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas

Lanai, which is home to about 3,200 residents, is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is home to serene beaches, rugged terrain, high-end resorts, and Ellison’s sustainability ambitions, which he’s executing through a development company called Pulama Lanai. 

Take a look inside Ellison’s eco-friendly, data-powered resort. 

In 2012, Ellison bought 98% of the island of Lanai for an estimated $300 million.

Lanai Hawaii
Lanai, Hawaii.

Since then, he’s worked to make Lanai a tourist destination, including purchasing budget airline Island Air to ferry passengers from Oahu to Lanai. (He has since sold a controlling interest in the airline). 

Ellison is also hoping to turn Lanai into a wellness utopia. He launched Sensei, which has two main projects: a hydroponic farm powered by Tesla solar panels, and the luxury spa. Sensei’s goal is to use data to help people lead healthier and longer lives.

Sensei built two 20,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouses, known as Sensei Farms. The greenhouses are powered by 1,600 Tesla solar panels (Ellison sits on Tesla’s board) and the heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers grown at Sensei Farms are used at Sensei Retreat’s in-house Nobu restaurant.

Tesla solar panels Puerto Rico
Tesla solar panels in Puerto Rico.

Source: Forbes

The resort is located in the central part of the island, known as Lanai City. Guests who visit Sensei Retreat are offered a customizable experience: They set physical and mental goals for their stay and the spa tracks their sleep, nutrition, and blood flow.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Forbes

The new partnership with Whoop, called the Optimal Wellbeing Program, is a data-driven program that allows guests to track their metrics using a customized, Sensei version of Whoop’s fitness bands.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

Before guests arrive, they’ll go through an orientation and build an itinerary for their stay. The rate includes sessions with a specialist known as a Sensei Guide, who will help guests set wellness goals.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

Once they arrive, guests will experience a “thermal body mapping” experience or 120-minute massage, a blood biomarker test, and private sessions to help improve movement, nutrition, and mindfulness.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

There are also free yoga and meditation classes as part of the program, and guests will get a $500 credit that can be used for various activities, including spa treatments or the Lanai Adventure Park, an Ellison-owned ropes and zipline park located on a former golf course.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei, Lanai Adventure Park

The program, which mandates a minimum stay of five nights, costs between $1,185 and $1,715 per night.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

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Billionaire tech mogul Larry Ellison says he and Elon Musk are ‘close friends.’ Here are 8 other tech exec friendships that have thrived in the competitive world of Silicon Valley.

Mark Zuckerberg driving car
Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, left, and Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Silicon Valley might be competitive, but it also appears to be a breeding ground for friendships among its famous execs.
  • Elon Musk is close friends with Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. 
  • Larry Ellison gave the eulogy at Steve Jobs’ funeral, and he has a love/hate relationship with Salesforce’s Marc Benioff. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Elon Musk and Larry Ellison. Jeff Bezos and Barry Diller. 

What do all these high-profile pairings have in common? They’re all close friendships within the world of tech. 

Silicon Valley may be known for its competitive spirit, but it’s also fostered several years-long friendships among some of its most famous executives. Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett, for example, have been buddies for nearly 30 years. And Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff have been friends for decades, even though their respective enterprise software companies are technically rivals.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has several close pals in tech, including friends he’s defended online or taken for Tesla test drives. 

Here’s a closer look at some of the friendships among tech CEOs. 

Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey

Elon Musk Jack Dorsey
Elon Musk, left, and Jack Dorsey.

While it’s not clear if Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey actually hang out in real life, they do seem to have a solid virtual friendship. 

As far back as 2016, Dorsey said Musk was “a really good model” for how to use Twitter. More recently, Dorsey said in an interview that Musk is his favorite Twitter follow, to which Musk responded, “Thanks Jack, Twitter rocks!”

Then, in January, Dorsey and Musk spoke over video chat in front of Twitter employees, and Musk gave Dorsey advice on how to improve the platform. 

In March, as Dorsey faced a possible ouster at the hands of an activist hedge fund, Musk publicly tweeted his support of the CEO. 

“Just want to say that I support @jack as Twitter CEO,” Musk tweeted. “He has a good <3.” 

Jeff Bezos and Barry Diller

Jeff Bezos Barry Diller
Jeff Bezos, left, and Barry Diller.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and IAC Chairman Barry Diller appear to have been friends for years. 

In January 2016, Diller correctly predicted that Bezos would become the richest person in the world.

And in the last few years, as Bezos has gone through changes in his personal life, he’s been spotted hanging out with Diller and his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg, more often. Diller and von Furstenberg have reportedly attended multiple parties hosted by Bezos, and Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, have sailed aboard von Furstenberg’s yacht. The two couples were also reportedly spotted exploring Venice together.

Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs

Larry Ellison Steve Jobs
Larry Ellison, left, and Steve Jobs.

Oracle founder Larry Ellison and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs were friends for 25 years before Jobs’ death in 2011. 

Ellison and Jobs used to be neighbors in Woodside, California, and the pair often went hiking together. It was during one of those hikes that Ellison helped Jobs plot how to regain control of Apple after he was ousted — Ellison even suggested buying Apple himself and installing Jobs as CEO.

It was Jobs who came up with the idea that Apple should acquire his company, Next, instead. When Ellison questioned how the pair would make money, Jobs said to him, “Larry, this is why it’s so important that I’m your friend. You don’t need any more money,” Ellison said in a commencement speech in 2016. 

Ellison said he spent time with Jobs in his final days, taking shorter walks around the block with him as he became weaker. Ellison gave a eulogy at Jobs’ funeral. 

Elon Musk, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin Elon Musk Larry Page
From left: Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, and Larry Page.

Elon Musk has been friends with the cofounders of Google for a long time.

In the early days of Musk’s tenure at the electric car maker, he took Brin and Page on a test drive. Unfortunately, a software bug prevented the car from going any faster than 10 miles per hour, Musk recounted at a company shareholder meeting in 2016. Despite “the world’s worst demo,” however, the duo ended up investing in Tesla anyway, Musk said. 

Over the years, Musk and Page especially have become close friends — Musk even sometimes sleeps at Page’s house when he’s in town, and Page once said he’d rather leave his money to Musk than give it away to charity.

Brin, Page, and Musk also reportedly used to hang out in a Google-owned apartment and brainstorm ideas. 

“It’s fun for the three of us [including Google cofounder Sergey Brin] to talk about kind of crazy things, and we find stuff that eventually turns out to be real,” Page told Ashlee Vance, who wrote a 2015 biography about Musk.

Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff

Larry Ellison Marc Benioff
Larry Ellison, left, and Marc Benioff.

Ellison and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff met when Benioff began working at Oracle when he was 23. He was a star early on, earning a “rookie of the year” award that same year and becoming Oracle’s youngest VP by age 26. He spent 13 years at Oracle, during which he became a trusted lieutenant to Ellison. 

The pair became such close friends that rumors swirled about their relationship’s backstory — people wondered if they were related, or if Ellison had been Benioff’s childhood babysitter. Ellison and Benioff took trips together, sailed on Ellison’s yacht, and went on double dates

Benioff began working on Salesforce with Ellison’s blessing, and Ellison became an investor, putting in $2 million early on. 

The duo has publicly feuded over the years — including when Benioff fired Ellison from Salesforce’s board — but Benioff has also described Ellison as his mentor. 

“There is no one I’ve learned more from than Larry Ellison,” Benioff said in 2013.

Read more: Oracle employees say Safra Catz and Larry Ellison don’t talk about their Trump ties internally. After the US Capitol siege, some want action: There’s ‘blood on their hands’

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett Bill Gates
Warren Buffett, left, and Bill Gates.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates met in 1991 when Buffett was invited over to Gates’ mother’s house. Neither man was very interested in meeting the other, but they ended up hitting it off. Soon after, Gates asked Buffett for a business book recommendation, and Buffett loaned him his copy of “Business Adventures” by John Brookes — Gates still has it today. 

Since then, the duo has done everything from play table tennis together to participate in Berkshire Hathaway’s annual newspaper toss competition. And Gates, his wife Melinda, and Buffett launched the Giving Pledge together in 2010, vowing to give away the majority of their wealth in their lifetimes or in their wills. 

While Buffett owns a major stake in Apple, he’s said that he’ll never invest in Microsoft due to his friendship with Gates. 

Larry Ellison and Elon Musk

Larry Ellison Elon Musk
Larry Ellison, left, and Elon Musk.

Ellison and Musk appear to be two of the friendliest CEOs in tech, if their relationships with Benioff and Jobs, and Page, Brin, and Dorsey are any indication. So it’s not much of a surprise that the two moguls are “very close” friends with each other, too. 

Back in 2018, when Ellison was named to Tesla’s board of directions, he highlighted his relationship with Musk. 

“I think Tesla has a lot of upside,” Ellison said at the time. “I am not sure how many people know, but I’m very close friends with Elon Musk, and I’m a big investor in Tesla.”

It makes sense that Ellison and Musk would get along well, as they’re two of the most colorful personalities in tech. Ellison owns an entire $300 million island in Hawaii, likes to race yachts, and doesn’t mind trash-talking his competitors. Musk spends his money on rare cars, has had multiple high-profile relationships, and is often outspoken on Twitter. 

Mark Zuckerberg and Drew Houston

Mark Zuckerberg Drew Houston

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have apparently been friends for years, with the former often turning to the latter for advice

“[Zuckerberg’s] given me a lot of advice just on company scaling, how do you organize people, how do you set up these systems,” Houston told Bloomberg in 2015.

That same year, a Fast Company profile on Dropbox described Houston as a “close friend” of Zuckerberg’s. The pair has been photographed together everywhere from Houston’s birthday party at a ping-pong club to the prestigious Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. 

This past February, Houston was appointed to Facebook’s board of directors

“Drew brings valuable perspective to our board as a leader of a technology company with services used by millions of people and businesses,” Zuckerberg said in a statement at the time. “He thinks deeply about where technology is going and how to build a culture that delivers services that always work well.”

Kevin Systrom and Jack Dorsey

Kevin Systrom Jack Dorsey

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey started out as close friends, but it’s hard to tell where they stand these days.  

According to the book “No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram” by Sarah Frier, the pair met when they were early employees at Odeo, the audio and video site created by eventual Twitter cofounders Ev Williams and Noah Glass. Dorsey expected to dislike Systrom when he joined as a summer intern in the mid-2000s, but the pair ended up bonding over photography and expensive coffee. 

Systrom and Dorsey stayed in touch even after Systrom got a full-time job at Google — he was an early proponent of Twitter (then known as Twttr), and when Systrom was working on Burbn, the precursor to Instagram, he reached out to Dorsey for guidance. Dorsey ended up becoming an early investor, putting in $25,000. When Burbn pivoted to Instagram, Dorsey became one of the app’s biggest fans, cross-posting his Instagrams to Twitter and helping the app go viral soon after it launched. Dorsey eventually attempted to buy Instagram, but Systrom declined, saying he wanted to make Instagram too expensive to be acquired, according to Frier. 

But the Dorsey-Systrom relationship appeared to have soured in 2012, when Dorsey found out through the grapevine that Instagram had signed a deal to be acquired by Facebook, Twitter’s biggest rival. According to Frier, Dorsey was hurt that Systrom hadn’t called him to discuss the deal, or to negotiate one with Twitter instead.

Dorsey hasn’t posted to his Instagram account since April 9, 2012, when he snapped a photo of an unusually empty San Francisco city bus — according to Frier, it was taken the morning he found out Instagram had sold. 

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