Thank you, Chairman Cicilline, Sensenbrenner ranking member and subcommittee member.
I am Jeff Bezos. I founded Amazon 26 years ago with the long-term goal of making it the most customer-focused company in the world.
My mother Jackie had me as a 17 year old in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Pregnancy in high school was not popular in Albuquerque in 1964. It was difficult for them. When they tried to kick her out of school, my grandfather went to hit for her.
After some negotiations, the headmistress said, "OK, she can stay and finish high school, but she can't do extra-curricular activities and she can't have a locker."
My grandfather accepted the deal and my mother finished high school even though she wasn't allowed to go over the stage with her classmates to get her diploma.
Determined to keep up with her education, she enrolled in night school and selected classes led by professors who had a child brought to class. She would show up with two duffle bags – a full of textbooks and a full of diapers, bottles, and anything that would keep me calm and calm for a few minutes.
My father's name is Miguel. He adopted me when I was four years old. He was 16 when he came to Cuba from Operation Cuba shortly after Castro's takeover.
My father arrived in America alone. His parents felt safer here. Imagining that America was going to be cold, his mother made him a jacket made entirely of cleaning cloths, the only material they had on hand.
We still have this jacket; it hangs in my parents' dining room. My father spent two weeks at Camp Matecumbe, a refugee center in Florida, before being transferred to a Catholic mission to Wilmington, Delaware.
It underlines Amazon's commitment to bringing its products to customers – jobs cannot be outsourced "to China or anywhere else".
He was lucky enough to get to the mission, but still he didn't speak English and had no easy path.
What he had was a lot of grit and determination. He received a scholarship to college in Albuquerque, where he met my mother.
You get different gifts in life and one of my great gifts is my mother and father. They have been incredible role models for me and my siblings all our lives.
You are learning something different from your grandparents than from your parents, and I had the opportunity to spend my summers between the ages of four and 16 at my grandparents' ranch in Texas.
My grandfather was a civil servant and rancher – he worked on space technology and missile defense systems for the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s and 1960s – and he was self-employed and resourceful.
If you are in the middle of nowhere, don't take a phone and call someone if something breaks. You fix it yourself.
As a child, I saw him solve many seemingly unsolvable problems himself, whether he was restoring a broken Caterpillar bulldozer or doing his own veterinary work.
He taught me that you can face difficult problems. If you have a setback, get up and try again. You can invent your way to a better place.
I took these lessons to heart as a teenager and became an inventor of the garage. I invented an automatic gate closer made of cement-filled tires, an umbrella and aluminum foil solar cooker, and baking pan alarms to lock my siblings.
The concept for Amazon came to me in 1994.
The idea of building an online book store with millions of titles – something that simply couldn't exist in the physical world – was exciting for me.
At that time I was working for an investment firm in New York City. When I told my boss I was going, he took me on a long walk in Central Park.
After listening a lot, he finally said, "You know what, Jeff, I think that's a good idea, but it would be a better idea for someone who hasn't had a good job yet."
He convinced me to think about it two days before I made a final decision.
It was a decision that I made with my heart, not my head. When I am 80 and think back, I want to minimize the number of regrets I have in my life.
And most of our regrets are acts of omission – the things that we have not tried, the ways that have not been followed. These are the things that haunt us.
And I decided I would regret not trying to participate in this thing called Internet, which I thought would be a big deal if I didn't do my best.
The initial seed money for Amazon.com came mainly from my parents, who invested a large part of their savings in something they didn't understand.
They didn't bet on Amazon or the concept of an online bookstore. They made a bet on their son.
I told them I thought there was a 70% chance they would lose their investment and they did it anyway.
It took me over 50 meetings to raise $ 1 million from investors, and during all of those meetings the most common question was, "What is the Internet?"
Unlike many other countries in the world, this large nation we live in does not support or stigmatize the entrepreneurial taking of risks.
I went from a permanent job to a garage in Seattle to start my startup and understood that it might not work.
It feels like I drove the packages to the post office myself yesterday and dreamed that one day we could afford a forklift.
Amazon's success was anything but predetermined. Investing early in Amazon was a very risky endeavor. From our inception to the end of 2001, our business had a cumulative loss of nearly $ 3 billion and we didn't have a profitable quarter until the fourth quarter of this year.
Smart analysts predicted that Barnes & Noble would put us under pressure and branded us "Amazon.toast".
In 1999, after nearly five years in business, Barron wrote a story about our impending death "Amazon.bomb".
My annual letter to shareholders for 2000 started with one sentence: "Ouch."
At the height of the internet bubble, our stock price peaked at $ 116 and after the bubble burst, our stock fell to $ 6. Experts and experts thought we would give up the business.
Many smart people who were willing to take a risk with me and who were willing to stick to our beliefs needed to survive and ultimately succeed. And it wasn't just those early years.
In addition to good luck and great people, we could only be successful as a company because we continued to take great risks. To invent, you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it will work, it is not an experiment.
Oversized returns come from betting against conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom is usually correct.
Many observers initially described Amazon Web Services as a risky distraction. "What does the sale of computers and storage have to do with the sale of books?" they asked themselves.
Nobody asked about AWS. It turned out that the world was ready and hungry for cloud computing, but didn't know it yet.
We were right about AWS, but the truth is that we took a lot of risks that didn't work.
In fact, Amazon made billions of dollars in mistakes. Failure is inevitably associated with inventions and risk taking. That's why we're trying to make Amazon the best place in the world that can't be done.
Since our inception, we have tried to maintain a day one mentality in the company. By that I mean tackling everything we do with the energy and entrepreneurship of the first day.
Even though Amazon is a large company, I have always believed that if we commit to maintaining a first day mentality as a critical part of our DNA, we have both the scale and capabilities of a large company and the spirit and heart of one Corporate can have small.
In my view, an obsessive customer focus is by far the best way to achieve and maintain the vitality of the first day.
Why? Because customers are always beautiful and wonderfully dissatisfied, even if they claim to be happy and the business is doing well.
Even if they don't know it yet, customers want something better, and the constant desire to delight customers drives us to keep inventing for them.
By compulsively focusing on customers, we internally strive to improve our services, add benefits and features, invent new products, lower prices, and shorten delivery times – before we have to.
No customer has ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it turned out they wanted it.
And I could give you many such examples. Not every company takes this customer-centric approach, but we do and it is our greatest strength.
Customer trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. If you let customers make your business what it is, they will stay with you until the moment someone else offers them better service.
We know that customers are empathetic and smart. We believe as an article of faith that customers will notice when we work hard to do the right thing and that we will always gain trust.
You slowly earn trust over time by doing difficult things well – delivering on time; offer low prices daily; Making and keeping promises; make fundamental decisions, even if they are unpopular; and give customers more time to spend with their families by inventing more convenient ways to shop, read and automate their homes.
As I said since my first letter to shareholders in 1997, we make decisions based on the long-term value we create in inventing to meet customer needs.
When we are criticized for these decisions, we listen and look in the mirror.
If we believe that our critics are right, we change. If we make mistakes, we apologize.
But if you look in the mirror, rate the criticism and still believe that you are doing the right thing, no force in the world should be able to move you.
Fortunately, our approach works. Eighty percent of Americans have a positive overall impression of Amazon, according to leading independent surveys.
Who do Americans trust more than Amazon to do the right thing?
According to a January 2020 morning consult survey, only their general practitioners and the military.
In 2018, researchers from Georgetown and New York University found that Amazon left only the military behind all those surveyed in a survey of institutional trust and brand trust.
Among the Republicans, we only persecuted the military and local police; We were at the forefront of the Democrats, leading all branches of government, universities, and the press.
We took second place in the 2020 Fortune ranking of the most admired companies in the world (Apple was number 1). We are grateful that customers notice the hard work we do on their behalf and reward us with their trust.
Gaining and maintaining trust is the biggest driver of Amazon's Day One culture.
The company that most of you know as Amazon sends you your online orders in the brown boxes with the smile on the side.
This is where we started, and retail is still our largest business by far with over 80% of our total sales. The nature of this business is to bring products to customers.
These activities have to be close to the customer and we cannot outsource these orders to China or elsewhere.
To deliver on our promises to customers in this country, we need American workers to bring products to American customers.
When customers shop at Amazon, they help create jobs in their local communities.
As a result, Amazon directly employs one million people, many of whom are beginners and paid on an hourly basis.
We don't just employ well-trained computer scientists and MBAs in Seattle and Silicon Valley.
We hire and train hundreds of thousands of people in states across the country such as West Virginia, Tennessee, Kansas and Idaho.
These employees are package sellers, mechanics and operations managers. For many it is their first job.
For some, these jobs are a stepping stone to other careers, and we pride ourselves on helping them. We spend over $ 700 million to provide more than 100,000 Amazon employees with access to training programs in areas such as healthcare, transportation, machine learning, and cloud computing.
This program is called Career Choice and we pay 95% of the tuition fee for a certificate or diploma for high-paid areas, regardless of whether it is relevant for a career at Amazon.
Patricia Soto, one of our employees, is a success story of Career Choice. Patricia always wanted to pursue a career in the medical field to take care of others, but with just a high school diploma and the cost of post-secondary education, she wasn't sure if she would achieve that goal.
After Patricia received her medical certification through Career Choice, she left Amazon to start her new career as a medical assistant at the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation and to assist a pulmonologist.
Choosing a career gave Patricia and so many others a chance for a second career that once seemed out of reach.
Amazon has invested more than $ 270 billion in the U.S. in the past decade.
In addition to our own employees, Amazon's investments have created nearly 700,000 indirect jobs in areas such as construction, building services and hospitality.
Our hires and investments have created much-needed jobs, adding hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity to areas like Fall River, Massachusetts, the California Inland Empire and Rust Belt such as Ohio.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we hired another 175,000 people, including many who were laid off from other jobs during the economic downturn.
In the second quarter alone, we spent over $ 4 billion to provide key products to customers and protect our employees during the COVID 19 crisis.
A dedicated team of Amazon employees from across the company has created a program that regularly tests our employees for COVID-19. We look forward to sharing our findings with other interested companies and government partners.
The global retail market we compete in is strikingly large and extremely competitive.
Amazon accounts for less than 1% of the $ 25 trillion global retail market and less than 4% of the U.S. retail market.
Unlike industries that are all winners, there is room for many winners in retail.
For example, in the U.S. alone, more than 80 retailers make annual sales of over $ 1 billion.
Like every retailer, we know that the success of our business depends solely on customer satisfaction with their experience in our business.
Every day, Amazon competes against big, established players like Target, Costco, Kroger and of course Walmart – a company that is more than twice the size of Amazon.
While we've always focused on delivering a great customer experience for retail sales that are mostly done online, online sales are now an even bigger growth area for other businesses. Walmart's online sales increased 74% in the first quarter.
And customers are increasingly coming to services that were invented by other stores and that Amazon still can't reach compared to other large companies, such as roadside pickup and drop-off at the store.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted these trends, which have been growing for years.
In recent months, pick-up of online orders on the side of the road has increased by more than 200%, which is partly due to concerns from COVID19.
We're also facing new competition from Shopify and Instacart – companies that enable traditional physical stores to set up a full online store almost instantly and deliver products to customers in new and innovative ways – and a growing list of omnichannel Business models.
Like almost every other segment of our economy, technology is used everywhere in retail and has only made retail more competitive, be it online, in physical stores, or in the various combinations of the two that make up most of the stores today.
And we and all other businesses are well aware that regardless of how the best features of "online" and "physical" stores are combined, we compete and serve the same customers.
The supply of retail competitors and related services is constantly changing, and the only real constant in retail is the desire of customers for lower prices, better choice and convenience.
It is also important to understand that Amazon's success depends primarily on the success of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that also sell their products in Amazon stores.
Back in 1999, we took the unprecedented step of welcoming third parties to our branches and enabling them to offer their products right next to our own.
Internally this was extremely controversial, many disagreed and some predicted that it would be the start of a long, lost fight.
We didn't have to invite third parties to the store. We could have kept this valuable property to ourselves.
However, we are committed to the idea that this would increase customer choice in the long run and that happier customers would be great for both third-party providers and Amazon.
And that's exactly what happened. Within a year of adding these sellers, third-party sales accounted for 5% of sales, and it quickly became clear that customers loved the convenience of looking for the best products and seeing prices from different sellers all at the same time .
These small and medium-sized third-party companies now offer Amazon stores a much wider range of products than Amazon's own retail operations.
Third-party sales now account for approximately 60% of Amazon's physical product sales, and these sales are growing faster than Amazon's retail sales.
We suspected that it was not a zero-sum game. And we were right – the whole cake has grown, third parties have done very well and are growing quickly, and that was great for customers and for Amazon.
There are now 1.7 million small and medium-sized businesses in Amazon stores worldwide. In 2019, more than 200,000 entrepreneurs worldwide generated sales of over $ 100,000 in our stores.
We also estimate that third-party vendors selling in Amazon stores have created over 2.2 million new jobs worldwide. One of these salespeople is Sherri Yukel, who wanted to change her career to be more at home for her children.
As a hobby, she started making gifts and party items for friends by hand, and eventually began selling her products on Amazon. Today Sherri's company employs almost 80 people and has a global customer base.
Another is Christine Krogue, a mother of five in Salt Lake City. Christine started a business selling baby clothes on her own website before taking a chance on Amazon.
Since then, she has more than doubled her sales and expanded her product line and hired a team of part-time workers. By selling on Amazon, Sherri and Christine were able to expand their own business and satisfy customers on their own terms.
And it is striking to remember how current all of this is. We didn't start out as the largest marketplace – eBay was many times larger.
Only when we focused on helping sellers and giving them the best tools we could invent could we be successful and ultimately outperform eBay.
One such tool is Fulfillment by Amazon, which our third-party providers can use to store their inventory in our fulfillment centers. We handle all logistics, customer service and product returns.
By cost-effectively simplifying all of these challenging aspects of the sales experience, we have helped thousands of sellers grow their businesses on Amazon.
Our success can help explain the wide spread of marketplaces of all types and sizes around the world.
This includes U.S. companies like Walmart, eBay, Etsy, and Target, as well as overseas retailers that sell worldwide, such as Alibaba and Rakuten.
These marketplaces further intensify competition in the retail sector. The trust that customers place in us every day has enabled Amazon to create more jobs in the United States than in any other company in the past decade – hundreds of thousands of jobs in 42 states.
Amazon employees earn at least $ 15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage (which we asked Congress to increase). We asked other major retailers to keep our minimum wage of $ 15.
Target did this recently and Best Buy just last week. We greet them and they remain the only ones who have done so.
We also do not skimp on advantages. Our full-time employees receive the same benefits as our headquarters employees, including comprehensive health insurance from day one, a 401 (k) pension plan, and parental leave, including 20 weeks of paid maternity leave.
I encourage you to compare our payment and benefits with those of our retail competitors.
More than 80% of Amazon's shares are owned by outsiders, and in the past 26 years we have created over $ 1 trillion in assets for outside shareholders, starting from zero.
Who are these shareholders? These are pension funds: fire brigade, police and school teacher pension funds.
Others are 401 (k) s mutual funds that own parts of Amazon. University foundations and the list goes on.
Many people will retire better because of the wealth we have created for so many, and we are extremely proud of that.
At Amazon, our customers' obsession has made us what we are and allowed us to do bigger and bigger things.
I know what Amazon could do when we were 10 people. I know what we could do when we were 1,000 people and when we were 10,000 people. And I know what we can do today when we're almost a million.
I love garage owners – I was one.
But just as the world needs small businesses, it needs big ones. There are things that small businesses just can't do.
I don't care how good you are as an entrepreneur, you won't be building a full fiber Boeing 787 in your garage.
Our scale enables us to influence important social issues in a meaningful way.
The climate promise is a commitment by Amazon and other companies to achieve the Paris Agreement goals 10 years earlier and to be zero carbon by 2040.
We plan to partially deliver on the promise by purchasing 100,000 electric vans from Rivian, a Michigan-based electric vehicle manufacturer.
Amazon is aiming to have 10,000 new Rivian electric vehicles by 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030.
Amazon operates 91 solar and wind projects worldwide with a capacity of over 2,900 MW and an annual energy supply of more than 7.6 million MWh – enough to supply more than 680,000 US households with electricity.
Amazon is investing $ 100 million in global reforestation projects through the Right Now Climate Fund, including $ 10 million that Amazon provided in April to maintain, restore, and support sustainable forestry, wildlife, and nature-based solutions in the Appalachian Mountains. This will fund two innovative projects. Cooperation with The Nature Conservancy.
Four global companies – Verizon, Reckitt Benckiser, Infosys and Oak View Group – have recently signed The Climate Pledge, and we continue to encourage others to join the fight.
Together we will use our size and size to address the climate crisis immediately.
And last month, Amazon launched the Climate Pledge Fund, which started with $ 2 billion in funding from Amazon.
The fund will support the development of sustainable technologies and services that enable Amazon and other companies to meet The Climate Pledge.
The fund will invest in visionary entrepreneurs and innovators who develop products and services to help companies reduce their carbon footprint and work more sustainably.
We recently opened the largest homeless shelter in Washington State – and it's in one of our newest headquarters in downtown Seattle.
The shelter is for Mary’s Place, an incredible Seattle-based nonprofit.
The shelter, part of Amazon's $ 100 million investment in Mary’s Place, is spread over eight floors and can accommodate up to 200 family members per night. It has its own health clinic and provides essential tools and services to help families struggling against homelessness get back on their feet.
And Amazon offers weekly pro bono legal clinics that offer advice on credit and debt issues, personal injury, housing, and tenant rights.
Since 2018, Amazon's legal team has supported hundreds of Mary & # 39; s Place guests and volunteered more than 1,000 pro bono hours.
Amazon Future Engineer is a global childhood to career program designed to inspire, educate, and prepare thousands of children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities for careers in computing.
The program funds IT courses and professional teacher development for hundreds of elementary schools, introductory and AP IT courses for more than 2,000 schools in underserved communities across the country, as well as 100 $ 40,000 four-year college scholarships for low-income IT students.
These fellows also receive guaranteed internships on Amazon.
There is a diversity pipeline problem in technology that is overwhelming for the black community.
We want to invest in expanding the next generation of technical talent for the industry and expanding opportunities for underrepresented minorities.
We now want to accelerate this change. In order to find the best talent for technical and non-technical functions, we actively work with historically black colleges and universities in our recruitment, internship and further education initiatives.
Finally, let me say that I think Amazon should be checked.
We should question all major institutions, whether they are companies, government agencies, or nonprofits. It is our responsibility to ensure that we pass this test with flying colors.
It is no coincidence that Amazon was born in this country. More than anywhere else in the world, new businesses can start, grow, and thrive here in the United States.
Our country stands for ingenuity and independence, and it includes builders who start from scratch.
We support entrepreneurs and start-ups with a stable rule of law, the best university system in the world, freedom of democracy and a deeply accepted culture of taking risks.
Natürlich ist unsere große Nation alles andere als perfekt. Auch wenn wir uns an den Kongressabgeordneten John Lewis erinnern und sein Erbe ehren, befinden wir uns mitten in einer dringend benötigten Rassenrechnung.
Wir stehen auch vor den Herausforderungen des Klimawandels und der Einkommensungleichheit und stolpern über die Krise einer globalen Pandemie.
Dennoch würde der Rest der Welt selbst den kleinsten Schluck des Elixiers lieben, das wir hier in den USA haben.
Einwanderer wie mein Vater sehen, was für ein Schatz dieses Land ist – sie haben eine Perspektive und können sie oft noch deutlicher sehen als diejenigen von uns, die das Glück hatten, hier geboren zu werden.
Es ist immer noch der erste Tag für dieses Land, und selbst angesichts der heutigen demütigenden Herausforderungen war ich nie optimistischer in Bezug auf unsere Zukunft.
Ich freue mich über die Gelegenheit, heute vor Ihnen zu erscheinen, und beantworte gerne Ihre Fragen.
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