April 10, 2014— -- intro: Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos' annual letter to shareholders was full of fun bits of information about the mammoth e-commerce site, including why he offers to pay his employees to quit.
Here are some noteworthy parts of the tech titan's letter:
quicklist:title: Customers Use the Kindle "Mayday Button" for Some Crazy Thingsmedia: 23279302text: Last September, Amazon introduced a "Mayday" button on its latest Kindle Fire HDX e-reader that connects users to live, 24/7 on-device tech support.
Bezos says, "A few of the Maydays have been amusing."
"Mayday Tech Advisors have received 35 marriage proposals from customers," Bezos writes. "475 customers have asked to talk to Amy, our Mayday television personality. 109 Maydays have been customers asking for assistance with ordering a pizza. By a slim margin, Pizza Hut wins customer preference over Domino’s. There are 44 instances where the Mayday Tech Advisor has sung Happy Birthday to the customer. Mayday Tech Advisors have been serenaded by customers 648 times. And 3 customers have asked for a bedtime story. Pretty cool."
quicklist:title: Amazon Pays Workers to Quittext: Bezos goes into detail in the part of his letter called "Employee Empowerment." One particular employee program for Amazon fulfillment centers is called "Pay to Quit," invented by retailer Zappos.
"Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000," Bezos writes. "Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company."
quicklist:title: Prime Instant Video Titles Grew 8-Fold Since Its Launchtext: Bezos said Prime Instant Video launched in 2011 with 5,000 titles and it now has more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes, including exclusives on TV seasons for "Downton Abbey," "Under the Dome," "The Americans," "Justified," and more.
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quicklist:title: Amazon Delivery Plans: On Sunday and By Bike Couriertext:
"In partnership with the United States Postal Service, we’ve begun for the first time to offer Sunday delivery to select cities," Bezos said. "Sunday delivery is a win for Amazon customers, and we plan to roll it out to a large portion of the U.S. population throughout 2014. We’ve created our own fast, last-mile delivery networks in the UK where commercial carriers couldn’t support our peak volumes. In India and China, where delivery infrastructure isn’t yet mature, you can see Amazon bike couriers delivering packages throughout the major cities."
quicklist:title: Yes, Amazon Prime Air is Really Happening text:
Remember last year when Bezos introduced Amazon drone delivery on 60 Minutes?
Bezos said when it comes to fast delivery, "there is more invention to come."
"The Prime Air team is already flight testing our 5th and 6th generation aerial vehicles, and we are in the design phase on generations 7 and 8," Bezos wrote.