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2018 – 1st Party vs 3rd Party

From 3rd party selling success to a highlight of AWS services to Alexa to employees, Jeff covers a wide range of topics in this year’s letter. Most notable is the 3rd party selling success and the challenge to competitors to not only meet, but also beat the $15/hour minimum wage.

2017 – The Written Narrative

This is the 20th shareholder letter, and my favorite. Jeff gives us three pages of updates across Amazon and talks about high standards. He includes three paragraphs about communicating via a written narrative that have transformed the way I communicate.

2016 – Day 2 & Decision Making

Jeff was asked at an employee all-hands meeting what Day 2 looks like. Stasis, irrelevance, decline, and eventual death. So if that's the case, how do you keep it always Day 1, especially at a company the size of Amazon? If you're reading the letters chronologically, I bet you can guess the next two words. He also dives into decision making, which is one of the most interesting parts of this...

2015 – Growth

Amazon became the fastest company to hit $100 billion in annual sales, and AWS hit $10 billion in annual sales at a faster pace than Amazon. Jeff goes on to compare and contrast AWS vs Amazon and again highlights Customer Obsession. After a riff on culture, Jeff talks about failure, something most companies are not ok with. He wraps up with points on sustainability and social invention.

2014 – I Told You So

This is an "I told you so" letter from Amazon to it's naysayers, in no uncertain terms. Marketplace, Prime, and AWS were all "bold bet[s] at first, and sensible people worried (often!) that they could not work." Jeff highlights each of them in detail. This is a longer-than-usual letter, coming in at 5 pages.

2013 – A Tour of Amazon

Jeff is taking us on a tour of various products and services from employment at Amazon to Retail to HQ space to charity. I've included the list and an interesting point or two from each section.

2012 – Being Customer Centric

The 2012 letter is chock full of more customer testimonials and customer centric ideas from proactive refunds to author payouts to Prime benefits to price drops on AWS. It's all about the customer in this letter.

2011 – Self-Service Innovation

The first 1.5 pages is customer testimonials for Amazon services from AWS to Kindle Direct Publish to Fulfillment by Amazon. I included two of Jeff's quotes for this letter instead of the usual one. I think he says it best.

2010 – Solving Big Problems

Jeff opens with a bunch of computer science terms, and then goes on to illustrate how Amazon is (happily) solving technical challenges that don't have solutions either in academia or the tech world. For the nerd crowd, this letter is really worth the read. Jeff closes out the letter tying back to free cash flows. After all this letter is for shareholders, not nerds.

2009 – A List of Achievements

This shareholder letter, as Jeff states, is "the cumulative effect of 15 years of customer experience improvements: increasing selection, speeding delivery, reducing cost structure so we can afford to offer customers ever-lower prices, and many others." It’s a list of Amazon’s achievements in the past 15 years as a public company.