Amazon.com, the retail giant, unveiled its first smartphone, Fire Phone, at a launch event held on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Seattle. Its CEO Jeff Bezos hosted the special event. We produce here the full transcript of the launch event….
Jeff Bezos – Founder and CEO, Amazon.com
Thank you. Thank you for being here.
We had 60,000 people applied for an invitation to come visit to this event. We have 300 of you here. – Yes, thanks, we’ve got folks from the media, we have developers and especially exciting for me – we have Amazon customers. Give yourself a big round.
We have a lot of exciting news to share with you today. But let me set the stage a little bit. Let me give you a little context first. Let me show you a graph.
We started Amazon Prime in 2005. And very quickly, we knew we were onto something. The memberships were growing very rapidly, and we — quickly had millions of members.
But then something very extraordinary happened. This – in 2011, the slope of that graph changed a lot. You don’t see this very often in business. And when you do, you’re pretty excited. This is a good thing.
But what the heck happened? Why did that happen?
Well, we launched a few things at that time. One was Prime Instant Video and we launched it with 5000 videos, unlimited streaming. We launched the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, thousands of titles that you could borrow for free, as frequently as once a month, no due dates. And we launched the Fire Tablet – great device to enjoy this content. And we very quickly had tens of millions of Prime members.
So what’s the real story underneath Prime?
Well, it’s patience, persistence, and attention to the smallest of details. We launched Prime Instant Video with 5000 titles; today it’s more than 40,000, including some of the most sought-after exclusives. Prime includes fast shipping, we ship boxes to customers billions of times a year and we have to do that accurately. That takes a lot of attention to detail. Kindle Owners’ Library started with thousands of titles, and today it’s more than half a million. So we keep at it.
Let me tell you – you can fill a bucket with an eye dropper if the bucket doesn’t leak. And you can fill a bucket with a firehose but if the bucket leaks, it’s still going to be empty tomorrow. Well, Prime isn’t leaky, people use the service, they use it a lot. They love the service, and when it comes time to renew, they renew. That’s how you get tens of millions of members.
For a mental model for something like Prime, one customer – we’re not trying to build a great service for tens of millions of customers, trying to build a great service for one customer. If you think about it that way, the consequences of building a great service for one customer is you can get millions. And these individual customers do love Prime.
Amazon Prime brings so much joy to the world. Prime – what would I do without you? Seriously. I’m in a monogamous relationship with Amazon Prime. And my personal favorite – the only decent life choice I’ve ever made is Amazon Prime. [Ms. Bumcys] if you’re out there somewhere, I bet that’s not true.
So what about hardware?
Well, it’s the same thing. You have to be patient. You have to work at it. And you have to obsess over the smallest of details.
We’ve been in device business now for 10 years. We launched our first Kindle seven years ago. And we worked on it for three years before that. When we launched that first-generation Kindle, there was a lot of skepticism. We got comments like this. “The Kindle is here though it may as well be kindling”. It wasn’t hard to find those comments.
I’m extremely happy to report that over the last few years, the tone of those comments has started to change. We now get comments like this – “The Kindle Paperwhite is readers’ dream. I’m wildly impressed with the simplicity and beauty of this device”. And today we have tens of millions of Kindle owners.
The Fire HDX is a lightweight, sharp screen, superfast pleasure. I used to think the iPad was the king of tablets but not anymore. It’s time to whip the crown from Apple and give it to its rightful holder – Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX. And today we have tens of millions of tablet owners as well.
And we just launched Fire TV. Voice search is never not amazing. You almost dare it to mess up, trying the most complicated names you can think of. By the way, never not means always. After spending some time with the Fire TV, we feel obligated to apologize for our skepticism. And we’ve been working at hardware for many years and it’s incredibly encouraging to us to see the tone of these comments. And reputation is a trailing indicator of excellence. In my view, that’s how it should be.
So let me ask this question. What’s the most important thing Amazon has done in the last 20 years? Is it developing this reputation for hardware skill? Is it building this big base of engaged Prime members? I think it’s something more foundational than that. I think the most important thing that we’ve done over the last 20 years is earn trust with customers. We’ve worked hard to do that.