2013 – A Tour of Amazon

Jeff is taking us on a tour of various products and services. I’ve included the list and an interesting point or two from each section.

When reading the stats, keep in mind that this is the 2013 shareholder letter, released in early 2014.


  • More than 1 MM customers joined in the first week of December
  • More than 20 MM elgible products

Readers & Authors

  • FAA allowed electronic devices to be used during takeoff and landing. Amazon’s Public Policy Team worked four years on this, including loading a test plane with 150 active Kindles.

Prime Instant Video

  • Now over 40k titles

Fire TV

  • New product for streaming

Amazon Game Studios

  • I think the real headline here is that Amazon makes games.

Amazon App Store

  • In almost 200 countries with 200k apps and games

Spoken Word Audio

  • Customers downloaded close to 600 MM listening hours
  • A big hit was Jake Gyllenhaal reading The Great Gatsby

Fresh Grocery

  • A $299/year fee gets you same-day and early mornign delivery on grocery items and over 500k other items from toys to electronics
  • Expanded to LA and San Francisco

Amazon Web Services

  • 10 regions around the world including GovCloud
  • More than 40 price reductions in 8 years

Employee Empowerment

  • Career Choice covers 95% of the tutiuion for elgible employees for in-demand skills, regardless of relevance to Amazon.
  • Pay to Quit: Amazon offers employees money to quit. If Amazon isn’t the place for an employee, they want the employee to go somewhere that is for them.
  • Virtual Contact Center: Customer service employees for Kindle and Amazon work from home in 10 states and counting.

Veteran Hiring

  • More than 1900 veterans hired
  • Programs in place to help veterans transition into civilian work

Fulfillment Innovation

Urban Campus

  • Added 420k sq. ft. of office space in Seattle
  • Broke ground on new four-block section of buildings
  • Investing in dedicated bike lanes

Fast Delivery

  • Sunday delivery via USPS in select cities
  • Amazon-created last mile delivery in the UK
  • Amazon bike couriers in India and China

Experiments and More Experiments

  • 1976 tests for changes/enhancements to websites and products

Apparael and Shoes

  • 40k sq. ft. studio in Brooklyn to shoot fashion for the site
  • Shot an average of 10,413 photos a day in the 28 bays of this studio

Frustration-Free Packaging

  • Grown to over 200k products with over 2k manufactures
  • Eliminated 33 MM lbs of excess packaging

Fulfillment by Amazon

  • Seller count grew by 65%

Login and Pay with Amazon

  • Expanded the capability for customers to integrate into their own site to allow to pay with Amazon account

Amazon Smile

  • Launched! Donate to your favorite charaties just by shopping.
  • Editor’s Note: Go set this up! I would recommend RAINN or App Camp for Girls

The Mayday Button

  • A button to request immediate help on your Amazon device
  • Tech advisors have received 35 marriage propsals
  • 109 maydays have been for help ordering a pizza
  • 44 instances where the advisor sang Happy Birthday to the customer
  • 3 customers asked for a bedtime story

“We have the good fortune of a large, inventive team and a patient, pioneering, customer-obsessed culture – great innovations, large and small, are happening everyday on behalf of customers, and at all levels throughout the company. This decentralized distribution of invention throughout the company – not limited to the company’s senior leaders – is the only way to get robust, high-throughput innovation… Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right. When this process works, it means our failures are relatively small in size, and when we hit on something that is really working for customers, we double-down on it with hopes to turn it into an even bigger success… Inventing is messy, and over time, it’s certain that we’ll fail at some big bets too.” — Jeff Bezos