Help make history starting with Day 1

When Amazon.com launched in 1995, it was with the mission “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.” What does this mean? It's simple. We're a company that obsesses over customers. Our actions, goals, projects, programmes and inventions begin and end with the customer at the forefront of our minds. In other words, we start with the customer and work backwards. When we hit on something that is really working for customers, we commit to it in the hope that it will turn into an even bigger success. However, it’s not always as straightforward as that. Inventing is messy, and over time, it’s certain that we’ll fail at some big bets too.

You'll also hear us say that at Amazon, it's always "Day 1." What do we mean? Our approach remains the same as it was on Amazon’s very first day - to make smart, fast decisions, stay nimble, innovate and invent and focus on delighting customers.

“We continue to aspire to be Earth’s most customer-centric company and we recognise this to be no small or easy challenge. We know there is much we can do better and we find tremendous energy in the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.” – Jeff Bezos

Amazon is built on the concept of a virtuous cycle focused on the customer. The idea was constructed on a napkin by CEO Jeff Bezos and is still a living, breathing part of Amazon.

Explore the videos below to hear CEO, Jeff Wilke, explain the the meaning of the virtuous cycle.

 

virtuous-cycle

Meet a few of our Amazonians and explore our various business teams below.

 

Amazon Devices and Services

Amazon introduced the first Kindle in 2007 - at that time, it offered 90,000 eBooks and sold out 5.5 hours after the announcement. Since then, the range has been expanded and has become the best-selling e-reader family in the world. We have gone beyond Kindle with our powerhouse Fire tablets, built for work and play with our Fire operating system. For those who love to stream, we have created Amazon Fire TV, the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Edition with voice search. Fire TV devices come with access to 500,000 movies, TV shows and tens of thousands of channels, apps and Alexa skills. Most recently, we introduced Amazon Echo and Alexa, the voice service that powers Echo and other devices so customers can play music, control their smart homes and get information, news, weather and more using just their voice.

 

Amazon Marketplace

Shoppers think of Amazon.com as the place where they can buy almost everything they need to live their lives, but shoppers aren’t Amazon’s only customers. Small businesses rely on Amazon as a trusted partner to enable them to reach millions of customers worldwide and help them to grow their businesses, while also providing them with a safe place to sell their products. We have teams at Amazon that are responsible for finding, engaging, working with and innovating on behalf of small businesses to help them be successful - on and off Amazon.com. In 2017, over 300,000 US-based small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) were selling products on Amazon and during Prime Day, customers ordered more than 40 million items from SMBs all around the world.

 

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud-services platform, offering computing power, database storage, content delivery and other functionalities to help businesses to grow. Millions of customers currently use AWS cloud products and solutions to build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability. Tens of thousands of customers use a broad range of AWS services. This has accelerated AWS’s pace in machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things and server-less computing.

 

Business Development

The Business Development and Entertainment team includes Prime Video and Studios, Amazon Music, IMDb, Worldwide Advertising, Amazon Registry Services and Corporate and Business Development. These teams drive new businesses that innovate in new or emerging market segments.

 

eCommerce

When customers shop on Amazon.com, they expect a safe, simple and consistent experience. A large number of systems and services contribute to that experience, from identity services to massive data warehouses and innovations, specifically focusing on managing the incredible scale and complexity of operating one of today’s most successful businesses. eCommerce Foundation (eCF) owns the core systems, services and infrastructure behind Amazon.com, delivering key aspects of the Amazon shopping experience, managing hosting for Amazon websites worldwide and creating the services that technology teams across the company use to develop and run their systems.

 

Kindle, Digital Content and Publishing

With a mission to make every book ever written available in minutes, the Kindle, Digital Content and Publishing teams have pioneered services like Kindle Direct Publishing to empower independent authors to reach new audiences and Kindle Unlimited subscription reading for avid eBook readers. Innovation doesn’t stop there, this team continues to build new tools for authors to publish and distribute their work and readers to access a growing variety of content on any device, anywhere in the world.

 

Retail

From a garage-based start-up in 1995 to one of the world’s most respected brands today, Amazon has grown to become an integral part of customers’ lives. Amazon’s Retail organisation is at the heart of that evolution. We’re the people behind the Amazon.com website and customer experience, beloved programmes like Amazon Prime, Amazon Go, Whole Foods, private label products and all of Amazon’s retail categories. Whether it’s technical teams pushing the boundaries of what is possible using machine learning or business teams launching new voice-ordering capabilities, employees innovate on behalf of customers on a massive scale - and we’re just getting started.

 

Worldwide Operations and Customer Service

Amazon’s mission is "to be Earth’s most customer-centric company” and our Operations and award-winning Customer-Service teams are at the heart of that mission. Supported by innovative world-class technologies, our global network of FCs, delivery stations and customer-service teams are dedicated to supporting customers worldwide. Together, we create, build and take ownership for what we do - whether we’re developing new technology in house, launching a new Amazon fulfilment centre or delighting our customers by delivering packages directly to them. Together, we’re constantly creating the ideas, services and products that make life easier for Amazon’s millions of customers.

Some of the best ways to learn about our peculiarities are to explore our Leadership Principles and to read Jeff Bezos’s letters to shareholders. Jeff has written one of these letters every year for the past 20 years and each provides insight into our culture and how we operate. Each letter also ends with a key point from his 1997 letter, “our core values and approach remain unchanged. We continue to aspire to be Earth’s most customer-centric company."

Here are some highlights:

  • We “focus on hiring and retaining versatile and talented employees and continue to weight their compensation to stock options rather than cash. We know our success will be largely affected by our ability to attract and retain a motivated employee base, each of whom must think like, and therefore must actually be, an owner” (1997 shareholder letter).
  • We believe “some decisions are consequential and irreversible or nearly irreversible – one-way doors… If you walk through and don’t like what you see on the other side, you can’t get back to where you were before… But most decisions aren’t like that – they are changeable, reversible – they’re two-way doors. If you’ve made a suboptimal type-2 decision, you don’t have to live with the consequences for that long. You can reopen the door and go back through. Type 2 decisions can and should be made quickly by high judgment individuals or small groups” (2015 shareholder letter).
  • “We want to be a large company that’s also an invention machine. We want to combine the extraordinary customer-serving capabilities that are enabled by size with the speed of movement, nimbleness, and risk acceptance mentality normally associated with entrepreneurial start-ups” (2015 shareholder letter).
  • “One-size-fits-all thinking can turn out to be only one of the pitfalls. We work hard to avoid it… and any other large organization maladies we can identify” (2015 shareholder letter).
  • When it comes to obsessing over customers, we’re in it for the long haul. “A remarkable customer experience starts with heart, intuition, curiosity, play, guts, and taste” (2016 shareholder letter).
  • Every day is Day 1 at Amazon. In Amazon’s 2016 letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos said that, “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline… And that is why it is always Day 1."
  • “We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations. Instead, we write narratively structured memos and silently read one at the beginning of each meeting... These papers generally range from one to six pages and articulate the project goal(s), approach to addressing it, outcome, and next steps” (2017 shareholder letter).
  • We “believe in building a culture of high standards. Naturally and most obviously, because we’ll build better products and services for customers. More subtle: a culture of high standards is protective of all the “invisible” but crucial work that goes on in every company; it’s the work that gets done when no one is watching. In a high-standards culture, doing that work well is its own reward. Once you’ve tasted high standards, there’s no going back” (2017 shareholder letter).
 

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