Master status - Wikipedia
“"the tendency of observers to believe that one label or demographic category is more significant than any other aspect of the observed person's background, behavior or performance"”
“Master status can be seen in everyday life, for example- gendered bathrooms, handicapped signs, fame, occupation, etc. These identities often control individual interactions. People may treat one differently depending on their master status. These examples are often social constructs that humans create to understand the world we live in.”
“Until 1920, women were prohibited from voting in elections. This exemplifies the master status of sex as it overpowered other aspects of a woman's identity. Allowing women to vote limited the power of this master status.”
“Various statuses such as: drug addict, mentally ill, child abuser, alcoholic, and ex-convict have a big impact on decision making. Statuses like these modify personal identity and limit alternatives and opportunities in the eyes of those in charge of sentencing. Stereotypes and master statuses can not be confused because while a stereotype indicates in this scenario that the observer is the one who filters any additional information about the case at hand, a master status heavily influences any final decisions made even when other information may be relevant. Over the years, gang and non gang offenses have been carefully looked at because of this master status notion.”
Notes on Hyperstition
“Hyperstitions are ideas that become paradigmatic or “real.” Egregores are the most dramatic kind: a group of people get together and create a spiritual entity, which then becomes real and autonomous (it becomes a subject).”
“The priests of Egypt made statues that became real gods to them (gods of the earth). In Hermeticism, humans can do this by virtue of nous, the mind they share with the godhead.”
“hyperstitions are memes. These are ideas that stick, for whatever reason. They start off as kind of nuts—but with time they come to seem self-evident. Nick Land provides two good examples in an interview: the “holy city” of Jerusalem, the concept of “cyberspace” – both start out as fictions and then become paradigmatic.”
“Alan Moore needs a god for his new career as a magician. He picks one out almost randomly, Glycon, because he likes his ridiculous physiology and his fantastic hair. But then the god become his god, as real as anything else.”
“For instance, H. P. Lovecraft didn’t intend the Great Old Ones to be treated as real entities. Nonetheless, certain adepts have treated them as such and obtained results suggesting that the Great Old Ones are real.”
“What Deleuze and Guattari call a refrain is the smallest unit of aesthetic expression. It is the seed-crystal of all artistic creation. In fact, it’s the seed-crystal of all creation, because D&G conceive of the whole universe as pure expression (“expression has a primary relation to matter,” p. 334).”
“How do you make a refrain? You combine a certain set of elements from the abiding chaos and use them to form a “fragile centre.” In doing so, you make yourself a stable subject. At the same time the refrain draws a circle around this centre—a home or territory. But the refrain, by virtue of the chaos that composes it (as it does all things), connects with the macrocosmic expression of that chaos, namely the Cosmos or "chaosmos," which D&G describe as the great refrain at the end of the chapter. Because of this, the circle which the refrain draws around a fragile centre is never fully closed. It is always open onto the Cosmos. At the end of the chapter, D&G talk about how even popular folk refrains contain in potentia cosmic forces which actualize themselves the moment these refrains are deterritorialized. Example: the lullaby that sounds warm, motherly and comforting until you hear it in the dead of night, at which point all of the darker and more obscure forces that its normal context conceals disclose themselves.”
“The point is that an effective refrain (i.e., an effective aesthetic construct) is one that reaches all the way down to the core of your self (the “fragile centre”) and all the way up to the level of the absolute (the Cosmos). The refrain is a machine for making sense of a universe that would otherwise be a mad chaos. It draws out a set of forces, combining them into a unit or set which stabilizes reality and allows certain aspects of it to come into focus. Out of the surrounding chaos, a world (a “territory” composed of “milieus”) is thus called forth.”
“A great work of fiction is an instrument for gathering specific forces within a milieu or territory and connecting them to the Cosmos that undergirds all things. Every fiction, in other words, is magical. In its cosmic function, every fiction brings forth a world. That’s why you can use Twin Peaks to talk about the atom bomb and it works. Indeed, in Phil's essay it works better than if you drew on historical or psychological sources [here I am refering to an unpublished essay Phil wrote].
Here’s a dull but concrete example how refrains work. The first punk song was “Blank Generation” by the band Television. The chorus “I belong to the blank generation” set to that particular melody and that particular rhythm—this is a refrain. What the song establishes is a territory, whereas the older proto-punk songs ("Helter Skelter," "My Generation," "Louie Louie" covered by Kingsmen, etc.) are still at the milieu level—they exist within the territory of pop music. With "Blank Generation," punk is born as a territory with its various intrinsic milieus. It’s more than music: it’s a setting, a landscape, it’s a mode of dress, a set of beliefs, a vision of life—a whole world of punk. Think of the poster for the film Sid & Nancy, on which the eponymous lovers are seen embracing in a garbage-strewn alleyway. Would this image have communicated the punk essence of the film if the two punks had been standing in a strawberry field or in front of an altar? No, because the garbage-strewn alleyway is part of what these characters signify, a punk universe. That universe was called forth cosmically in the very first punk song, "Blank Generation." Everything that happened afterwards was a kind of deployment or unfurling of the particular selection of forces that the original refrain made into an “aggregate of matters of expression.””
“David Lynch has often said that each of his films begins with a single idea, often an imagistic one. These powerful images are refrains. They contain the whole world of the works that they give birth to. Indeed, the way Lynch talks about the creative process validates what D&G are saying in “Of the Refrain.” He says that you get an initial idea, and then you pull at it and realize that it goes all the way down, it connects to other ideas, or contains them. It’s all there from the start. This is what D&G mean when they say that the refrain is “cosmic.” With Twin Peaks, (I think) it was the body of Laura Palmer floating down the river. With Blue Velvet, the idea was the ear in the grass. Near the end of the chapter, D&G write that the ear is a refrain because it is likened to a labyrinth.”
“It doesn’t matter that Lovecraft didn’t "believe" in his gods; as true aesthetic creations, they were an expression of real cosmic forces. They constitute a "territory," that is, a semiotic space within which one can live and act. Glycon may be a god that nobody actively believed in; nevertheless, when Alan Moore decides to “believe” in him, he “becomes” real—the cosmic forces that he contains as a refrain become manifest to the magician. If every work of art is a refrain (or composed of many refrains), then we can say, with D&G, that every work of art “is a prism, a crystal of space-time. It acts upon that which surrounds it. . ., extracting from it various vibrations, or decompositions, projections, or transformations.””
“In those Nick Land pieces we studied, we read that hyperstition has four functions:
1) It constitutes “an element of culture that makes itself real”
2) As a “fictional quality,” it works as a “time-travelling device” (i.e., it reinvents the past through what, in roleplaying games, we call “retconning,” the practice of changing what has happened in a story to preserve continuity with what is happening in it now)
3) It intensifies coincidences by virtue of inducing a kind of metanoia (or paranoia) where everything becomes interpretable in light of the hyperstitious belief
4) It calls to the “Old Ones.”
What Land means by the “Old Ones” are those irrational forces that undergird and promise to overwhelm the rational, the human.”
“Hyperstition is the process by which aesthetic constructs, by virtue of their immanent connection with the actual, pre-existing forces of the Cosmos, form worlds that are never totally closed but always open to this Cosmos, and are therefore endowed with divinatory power.”
“. The refrain:
1) establishes a fragile centre (i.e., “constitutes an element”)
2) draws a circle around itself, hence forming a past and a future (qualifies a region of space-time)
3) extracts meaning from its surroundings:“vibrations, or decompositions, projections, or transformations” (“intensifies coincidences”)
4) connects to the Cosmos (i.e., the “Old Ones” in Land’s nihilistic view. D&G refer instead to the Natal, an obscure idea suggesting something like an underlying objective “soul” or anima mundi”
How Turkey Defied the U.S. and Became a Killer Drone Power
“A military drone took off from a runway, and moments later it began transmitting its view to a giant screen on stage. The video from the drone was clear enough to pick out your own face among the crowd. It was exactly what the drone’s pilot, seated in a trailer not far from the stage, was seeing. The crowd was in the crosshairs, and you could see the data about the aircraft’s pitch, roll, and altitude. In the bottom right corner of the screen, the words “Bore Invalid” indicated the drone was currently unarmed.”
“The event had all the trappings of a typical air show. Hundreds of thousands of people — from government officials to school children bussed in by the thousands — paraded around the tarmac. They posed for selfies alongside fighter jets and attack helicopters. A team of F-16s flew in close formation, leaving intricate patterns of red and white smoke in their wake. A nearly constant series of sonic booms made it difficult to talk. Massive speakers blared pulsing music.”
“Their country had entered the second drone age — in which the use of drones to kill people has proliferated far beyond the United States, the first country to kill people with missiles launched from drones after 9/11. Turkey now rivals the U.S. and the U.K. as the world’s most prolific user of killer drones, according to a review by The Intercept of reported lethal drone strikes worldwide. (Other countries that have reportedly killed people with drone-launched weapons include Israel, Iraq, and Iran.)”
“Efforts by Washington to control proliferation through restrictions on drone exports have failed to slow down a global race to acquire the technology. Meanwhile, the U.S. has set a precedent of impunity by carrying out hundreds of strikes that have killed civilians over the last decade.”
“We are well past the time when the proliferation of armed drones can in any way be controlled,” said Chris Woods, a journalist who has tracked drone use for more than a decade and director of the conflict monitor Airwars. “So many states and even nonstate actors have access to armed drone capabilities — and they are being used across borders and within borders — that we are now clearly within the second drone age, that is, the age of proliferation.””
“U.S. exports of armed Predator and Reaper drones are subject to congressional and military oversight, so the process of acquiring them remains long and complicated. Some buyers have opted instead to purchase armed drones from China, which has sold to nearly a dozen countries its CH-4, a drone that has capabilities on par with the Predator (though is less sophisticated than the Reaper). Yet even if major developers like the U.S. or China decide to restrict the sale of armed drones, the genie is out of the bottle — the technology itself can now be replicated. That’s what Turkey has done.
Turkey stands out as not only the most advanced new developer of drones but also as the only country to regularly use them on its own soil, against its own citizens.”
““Boeing, Lockheed, these are big companies right?” Bayraktar continued. “We are making those same systems. If Turkey supports this project, these drones, in five years Turkey can be at the forefront of the world, easily.”
It was an audacious pitch, but it didn’t immediately win over the officials. Before that day, Bayraktar was largely unknown among the power brokers in Ankara.
In his graduate studies in the U.S., Bayraktar’s academic colleagues came from around the world. His master’s thesis at MIT demonstrated an algorithm that could land an unmanned helicopter in very rough terrain, even vertically on a wall. The paper’s acknowledgments begin by thanking God, then his adviser, and finally a handful of close friends and the university’s Muslim Students’ Association.”
Shouldn’t b the case
“By 2007, Bayraktar had quit his PhD studies at MIT and returned to work on drones full-time in Turkey. It would take a few more years, and a few unexpected twists in international relations, for Bayraktar to find his way to the forefront of Turkey’s killer drone program.
At the time Bayraktar showed off his homemade drone, Turkey already had a drone program, developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), the country’s defense manufacturing powerhouse. But bureaucrats in Ankara, especially in the then-powerful military, thought it was wiser to purchase the technology from the U.S. and Israel rather than continue to develop it themselves, despite several decades of disappointments from those allies.
Since 1975, when the U.S. imposed weapons export sanctions after Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, Turkey had an uneasy relationship with Washington and had sought to develop its own defense industry.”
“In 2010, Turkey and Israel cut off diplomatic relations altogether after an Israeli raid killed nine Turkish nationals attempting to sail a boat to the Gaza Strip. Later that year, Turkey unveiled what it claimed would be an indigenous drone to replace the Heron. The Anka, or Phoenix , developed by TAI, had a 56-foot wingspan and could stay aloft for 24 hours at nearly 10,000 meters, but like the Heron, it was not armed. That meant a critical link was still missing in the “kill chain,” said Ozcelik.
In 2011, for instance, hundreds of PKK fighters launched simultaneous attacks on Turkish bases in the southeastern province of Hakkari. Heron drones provided live footage from above, a front-row seat to the deadliest attack by the PKK in decades. “During those attacks the Herons just gave Turkey footage, and there were no response or rapid reaction abilities that were combined with the Heron systems,” Ozcelik said. Turkey went on to scramble thousands of troops in response, launching operations across the border in Iraq.”
“At the time, Turkey was also being provided footage and signals intelligence from the U.S., including from a handful of Predator drones piloted by the U.S. But Washington, citing concerns its NATO ally could pose a security problem for Israel, refused to sell Turkey armed drones. By 2016, Turkey had shifted away from reliance on its longtime yet unreliable ally and thought of itself in an arms race with Washington and other NATO countries. Developing its own killer drone became a top priority — and this provided an opportunity for Bayraktar.”
“Turkey’s military brass — promoted often not on merit but on demonstrations of their disdain for Islamic practices — were notoriously distrustful when it came to families like the Bayraktars who were devout Muslims.
But the young engineer, whose outspoken criticism of Turkey’s reliance on Israel was making him a celebrity, was gaining traction with the right people. In 2006, Bayraktar’s entry won a competition by the Turkish military for an unmanned mini drone, and Ankara ordered 19 of them to be deployed in the country’s southeast.”
“Bayraktars worked the lower ranks of the military, convincing soldiers to let them embed with them in the field, where they could take detailed notes on what kind of technology was needed there”
“From an altitude of 4 kilometers, the drone hit a target 8 kilometers away using a Turkish-made guided rocket. That same year, Bayraktar made inroads in a different way — he married the youngest daughter of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Since then, his company has become the preferred drone manufacturer for Turkey.”
“Turkey’s drones are a near constant presence in the skies in the country’s southeast. Nearly every day, a Turkish drone, usually a TB2, either fires on a target or provides the location of a target that is subsequently bombed by an F-16 or attack helicopter. Over the last two years, as Turkish forces have pursued the PKK into northern Syria and Iraq, the drones have allowed Ankara to eliminate members of the outlawed group from the air, earning the adoration of a nation riding a wave of patriotism.”
““You can’t surrender to an armed drone,” noted Chris Woods of Airwars. “You can’t be arrested by an armed drone. There is only one outcome when weapons engage, and that is lethal force. … And that is a great concern, particularly when armed drones are used domestically.””
“The Afrin attacks became so famous that today you can even play a smartphone game made by Turkish university students where you pilot an armed drone in Afrin. “These combat and non-combat unmanned vehicles altered the fate of the Afrin operation and gave Turkey the upper hand,” then-Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.
Yet when it comes to who the drones are killing, not every operation is as transparent as the one that eliminated Ozden in northern Iraq.”
“Last fall, Tahir Temel and his family had to leave their home in Hakkari province and move to the city of Van. Roads leading to their village of Ogul, nestled amid mountain streams about 12 miles from the Iraqi border, were marked by checkpoints, and Temel says 23 of the 25 families living there decided to leave it for good rather than face daily questioning from soldiers.”
““Our mother lives in the village, so my brother went there for Eid, with three other men. They went there to pick her up and bring her to the town, but it was getting late, so they decided to stay there and have a picnic,” Temel told The Intercept. Tahir’s brother, 35-year-old Mehmet, father of two daughters and one son, earned a living as a construction worker, usually installing heating systems in buildings. The week before, he had been helping construct a hospital in the nearby city of Hakkari.”
“Two of the survivors, Tarhan and Sak, later told a delegation of human rights lawyers that around 10 minutes after the men returned from the village, a grey Mitsubishi pickup arrived on the scene. Four armed people emerged, who the survivors suspected were members of the PKK, and one briefly questioned Mehmet Temel, asking what they were doing there and what tribe he belonged to. Then, just as the strangers began heading for their pickup truck and one turned around to get a jacket he had left near the barbecue area, a drone struck them with a bomb. Sak told the lawyers he remembered dust covering everything, and Temel and two of the strangers lying motionless. Fearing a second explosion, Sak and Tarhan flagged down a car from the village and headed for a hospital in town.
“That’s how I learned about my brother, that he had been badly wounded and was still at the site of the explosion,” Tahir Temel said. “We tried to bring a car to them to rescue them, but by then there were soldiers all over the roads, and we couldn’t reach them.”
Back at the hospital, a crowd gathered, and soldiers and police kept them outside, firing tear gas to disperse them. “They did not even allow us to wash his body, to have a funeral for my brother,” Temel said. “They were just having a picnic, they were so close to their own home. They passed through a checkpoint to get there, it’s not an easy checkpoint, the police there look at your IDs, and that area was not some kind of prohibited area. We still don’t have an explanation for why the drone attacked.””
“In Ankara, Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawmaker from the opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP in Turkish) held a press conference holding pictures of Mehmet Temel with his children, insisting the four men were civilians, and if they were suspected terrorists, they should have been stopped at the checkpoint they passed through. “This is something only used in a war,” Tanrikulu said. “Such practices do not exist in a state of law, but only in war, and even a war has certain rules.”
President Erdogan fired back, telling reporters “a representative from the main opposition party comes forward and criticizes armed drones. He says, they shoot civilians. Where are these civilians then? The armed drones shoot terrorists. … Our armed forces will continue its fight against terrorist organizations. CHP representatives cannot stop this.””
““Call them whatever you want — Predator, armed drone — under international law, the way they are being used, they need to be banned all over the world,” Ozturk Turkdogan, president of Turkey’s Human Rights Association, told The Intercept. His organization is one of the few groups in Turkey that tracks casualties from the war on the PKK. It began recording the use of armed drones in 2016, but it has a difficult time following up on reports of civilian casualties and relies on victims or their families to approach them with information.”
“Turkey’s current counterterrorism laws, Turkdogan says, clearly only allow the use of lethal force as a last resort. If Ankara wants to use the drones legally to avoid civilian casualties, they could. “They can go and identify the people there and call on a nearby military unit, and they would go and tell them to surrender, and if they don’t, then they can open fire,” he said. “But in practice, what is being done is the drone identifies the people, and they fire on them, or send F-16s or artillery or whatever and they kill them, and this is completely against the provisions of this law.””
“The drone technology that seeped from the U.S. to Turkey is now spreading to other countries. In January, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced his country would purchase 12 TB2s, in a deal estimated at $69 million. Several other countries, including Pakistan and Qatar, have lined up to purchase Turkish drones.
But it’s not just established governments that are availing themselves of the technology to attack their foes with unmanned aircraft.”
“The PKK has been using armed drones for a while now, and it’s becoming more frequent, and it’s actually not surprising,” said Nick Waters, an analyst at the Bellingcat investigative group who tracks the use of drones by nonstate groups in the region. “Drones have increasingly become a prestige weapon. … [T]heir use is similar to that of states. Like when the U.S. was employing armed drone strikes, it was a projection of power, and similarly, having the ability to access this power, for the PKK say, adds to your prestige.””
“The PKK, in fact, is late in adopting drones for combat. Islamic State began carrying out attacks with modified commercial drones in 2016, and according to a tally by Bellingcat, carried out more than 200 drone attacks in 2017 alone. Grenades with improvised fins attached to stabilize their fall were dropped by the commercially available drones, in operations that were sometimes recorded for slick propaganda videos.
It might seem strange that a group who regularly uses suicide bombers would want to publicize its reliance on killing from afar. But it shows how the most basic human instinct, self-preservation, continues to influence warfare. Armed drones appear to eliminate a key deterrent to combat: the chance that your own people could be harmed.
The U.S. pioneered the technology and showed the world how it could be used. Others have watched and learned. Turkey won’t be the last country to manufacture its own drones, and its public will not be the last to see them as a source of pride.”
2020 Letter to Shareholders
“I talked about our hope to create an “enduring franchise,” one that would reinvent what it means to serve customers by unlocking the internet’s power. I noted that Amazon had grown from having 158 employees to 614, and that we had surpassed 1.5 million customer accounts. We had just gone public at a split-adjusted stock price of $1.50 per share. I wrote that it was Day 1.”
“since then, and we are working harder than ever to serve and delight customers. Last year, we hired 500,000 employees and now directly employ 1.3 million people around the world. We have more than 200 million Prime members worldwide. More than 1.9 million small and medium-sized businesses sell in our store, and they make up close to 60% of our retail sales. Customers have connected more than 100 million smart home devices to Alexa. Amazon Web Services serves millions of customers and ended 2020 with a $50 billion annualized run rate. In 1997, we hadn’t invented Prime, Marketplace, Alexa, or AWS. They weren’t even ideas then, and none was preordained. We took great risk with each one and put sweat and ingenuity into each one.”
“we’ve created $1.6 trillion of wealth for shareowners. Who are they? Your Chair is one, and my Amazon shares have made me wealthy. But more than 7/8ths of the shares, representing $1.4 trillion of wealth creation, are owned by others. Who are they? They’re pension funds, universities, and 401(k)s, and they’re Mary and Larry, who sent me this note out of the blue just as I was sitting down to write this shareholder letter:”
“I am approached with similar stories all the time. I know people who’ve used their Amazon money for college, for emergencies, for houses, for vacations, to start their own business, for charity – and the list goes on. I’m proud of the wealth we’ve created for shareowners. It’s significant, and it improves their lives. But I also know something else: it’s not the largest part of the value we’ve created.”
that’s the mark of true success ei?
“If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.”
“How much value did we create for shareowners in 2020? This is a relatively easy question to answer because accounting systems are set up to answer it. Our net income in 2020 was $21.3 billion. If, instead of being a publicly traded company with thousands of owners, Amazon were a sole proprietorship with a single owner, that’s how much the owner would have earned in 2020.
How about employees? This is also a reasonably easy value creation question to answer because we can look at compensation expense. What is an expense for a company is income for employees. In 2020, employees earned $80 billion, plus another $11 billion to include benefits and various payroll taxes, for a total of $91 billion.
How about third-party sellers? We have an internal team (the Selling Partner Services team) that works to answer that question. They estimate that, in 2020, third-party seller profits from selling on Amazon were between $25 billion and $39 billion, and to be conservative here I’ll go with $25 billion.”
“Customers complete 28% of purchases on Amazon in three minutes or less, and half of all purchases are finished in less than 15 minutes. Compare that to the typical shopping trip to a physical store – driving, parking, searching store aisles, waiting in the checkout line, finding your car, and driving home. Research suggests the typical physical store trip takes about an hour. If you assume that a typical Amazon purchase takes 15 minutes and that it saves you a couple of trips to a physical store a week, that’s more than 75 hours a year saved. That’s important. We’re all busy in the early 21st century.
So that we can get a dollar figure, let’s value the time savings at $10 per hour, which is conservative. Seventy-five hours multiplied by $10 an hour and subtracting the cost of Prime gives you value creation for each Prime member of about $630. We have 200 million Prime members, for a total in 2020 of $126 billion of value creation.”
“Direct cost improvements from operating in the cloud versus on premises vary, but a reasonable estimate is 30%. Across AWS’s entire 2020 revenue of $45 billion, that 30% would imply customer value creation of $19 billion (what would have cost them $64 billion on their own cost $45 billion from AWS). The difficult part of this estimation exercise is that the direct cost reduction is the smallest portion of the customer benefit of moving to the cloud. The bigger benefit is the increased speed of software development – something that can significantly improve the customer’s competitiveness and top line. We have no reasonable way of estimating that portion of customer value except to say that it’s almost certainly larger than the direct cost savings. To be conservative here (and remembering we’re really only trying to get ballpark estimates), I’ll say it’s the same and call AWS customer value creation $38 billion in 2020.
Adding AWS and consumer together gives us total customer value creation in 2020 of $164 billion.”
“If each group had an income statement representing their interactions with Amazon, the numbers above would be the “bottom lines” from those income statements. These numbers are part of the reason why people work for us, why sellers sell through us, and why customers buy from us. We create value for them. And this value creation is not a zero-sum game. It is not just moving money from one pocket to another. Draw the box big around all of society, and you’ll find that invention is the root of all real value creation. And value created is best thought of as a metric for innovation.”
Our relationship with employees is a very different example. We have processes they follow and standards they meet. We require training and various certifications. Employees have to show up at appointed times. Our interactions with employees are many, and they’re fine-grained. It’s not just about the pay and the benefits. It’s about all the other detailed aspects of the relationship too.
Does your Chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t. I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees – a vision for their success.
If you read some of the news reports, you might think we have no care for employees. In those reports, our employees are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. That’s not accurate. They’re sophisticated and thoughtful people who have options for where to work. When we survey fulfillment center employees, 94% say they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work.
Employees are able to take informal breaks throughout their shifts to stretch, get water, use the rest room, or talk to a manager, all without impacting their performance. These informal work breaks are in addition to the 30-minute lunch and 30-minute break built into their normal schedule.”
“We don’t set unreasonable performance goals. We set achievable performance goals that take into account tenure and actual employee performance data. Performance is evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things can impact performance in any given week, day, or hour. If employees are on track to miss a performance target over a period of time, their manager talks with them and provides coaching.
Coaching is also extended to employees who are excelling and in line for increased responsibilities. In fact, 82% of coaching is positive, provided to employees who are meeting or exceeding expectations. We terminate the employment of less than 2.6% of employees due to their inability to perform their jobs (and that number was even lower in 2020 because of operational impacts of COVID-19).”
“the large team of thousands of people who lead operations at Amazon have always cared deeply for our hourly employees, and we’re proud of the work environment we’ve created. We’re also proud of the fact that Amazon is a company that does more than just create jobs for computer scientists and people with advanced degrees. We create jobs for people who never got that advantage.”
“We have always wanted to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company. We won’t change that. It’s what got us here. But I am committing us to an addition. We are going to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.”
“I’m going to focus on new initiatives. I’m an inventor. It’s what I enjoy the most and what I do best. It’s where I create the most value. I’m excited to work alongside the large team of passionate people we have in Ops and help invent in this arena of Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. On the details, we at Amazon are always flexible, but on matters of vision we are stubborn and relentless. We have never failed when we set our minds to something, and we’re not going to fail at this either.”
“We dive deep into safety issues. For example, about 40% of work-related injuries at Amazon are related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), things like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions. MSDs are common in the type of work that we do and are more likely to occur during an employee’s first six months. We need to invent solutions to reduce MSDs for new employees, many of whom might be working in a physical role for the first time.
One such program is WorkingWell – which we launched to 859,000 employees at 350 sites across North America and Europe in 2020 – where we coach small groups of employees on body mechanics, proactive wellness, and safety. In addition to reducing workplace injuries, these concepts have a positive impact on regular day-to-day activities outside work.”
“We employ 6,200 safety professionals at Amazon. They use the science of safety to solve complex problems and establish new industry best practices. In 2021, we’ll invest more than $300 million into safety projects, including an initial $66 million to create technology that will help prevent collisions of forklifts and other types of industrial vehicles.
When we lead, others follow. Two and a half years ago, when we set a $15 minimum wage for our hourly employees, we did so because we wanted to lead on wages – not just run with the pack – and because we believed it was the right thing to do.”
“And we’re not done leading. If we want to be Earth’s Best Employer, we shouldn’t settle for 94% of employees saying they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work. We have to aim for 100%. And we’ll do that by continuing to lead on wages, on benefits, on upskilling opportunities, and in other ways that we will figure out over time.
If any shareowners are concerned that Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work might dilute our focus on Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, let me set your mind at ease. Think of it this way. If we can operate two businesses as different as consumer ecommerce and AWS, and do both at the highest level, we can certainly do the same with these two vision statements. In fact, I’m confident they will reinforce each other.”
“In an earlier draft of this letter, I started this section with arguments and examples designed to demonstrate that human-induced climate change is real. But, bluntly, I think we can stop saying that now. You don’t have to say that photosynthesis is real, or make the case that gravity is real, or that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level. These things are simply true, as is the reality of climate change”
“Smart action on climate change will not only stop bad things from happening, it will also make our economy more efficient, help drive technological change, and reduce risks. Combined, these can lead to more and better jobs, healthier and happier children, more productive workers, and a more prosperous future. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. It won’t be. The coming decade will be decisive.”
“The economy in 2030 will need to be vastly different from what it is today, and Amazon plans to be at the heart of the change. We launched The Climate Pledge together with Global Optimism in September 2019 because we wanted to help drive this positive revolution. We need to be part of a growing team of corporations that understand the imperatives and the opportunities of the 21st century.”
“t. The Pledge also requires them to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis; implement decarbonization strategies through real business changes and innovations; and neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets. Credible, quality offsets are precious, and we should reserve them to compensate for economic activities where low-carbon alternatives don’t exist”
“Amazon is making progress toward our own goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of our initial 2030 target. Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. We have 62 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 125 solar rooftops on fulfillment and sort centers around the globe. These projects have the capacity to generate over 6.9 gigawatts and deliver more than 20 million megawatt-hours of energy annually.”
“To help rapidly accelerate the market for electric vehicle technology, and to help all companies transition to greener technologies, we invested more than $1 billion in Rivian – and ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company. We’ve also partnered with Mahindra in India and Mercedes-Benz in Europe. These custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian are already operational, and they first hit the road in Los Angeles this past February. Ten thousand new vehicles will be on the road as early as next year, and all 100,000 vehicles will be on the road by 2030 – saving millions of metric tons of carbon. A big reason we want companies to join The Climate Pledge is to signal to the marketplace that businesses should start inventing and developing new technologies that signatories need to make good on the Pledge. Our purchase of 100,000 Rivian electric vans is a perfect example.”
“The investment program started with $2 billion to invest in visionary companies that aim to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Amazon has already announced investments in CarbonCure Technologies, Pachama, Redwood Materials, Rivian, Turntide Technologies, ZeroAvia, and Infinium – and these are just some of the innovative companies we hope will build the zero-carbon economy of the future.”
“I have also personally allocated $10 billion to provide grants to help catalyze the systemic change we will need in the coming decade. We’ll be supporting leading scientists, activists, NGOs, environmental justice organizations, and others working to fight climate change and protect the natural world. Late last year, I made my first round of grants to 16 organizations working on innovative and needle-moving solutions. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals, and I’m excited to be part of this journey and optimistic that humanity can come together to solve this challenge.”
“In what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal? How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?
I know a happily married couple who have a running joke in their relationship. Not infrequently, the husband looks at the wife with faux distress and says to her, “Can’t you just be normal?” They both smile and laugh, and of course the deep truth is that her distinctiveness is something he loves about her. But, at the same time, it’s also true that things would often be easier – take less energy – if we were a little more normal.”
““Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at. Left to itself – and that is what it is when it dies – the body tends to revert to a state of equilibrium with its environment. If you measure some quantity such as the temperature, the acidity, the water content or the electrical potential in a living body, you will typically find that it is markedly different from the corresponding measure in the surroundings. Our bodies, for instance, are usually hotter than our surroundings, and in cold climates they have to work hard to maintain the differential. When we die the work stops, the temperature differential starts to disappear, and we end up the same temperature as our surroundings. Not all animals work so hard to avoid coming into equilibrium with their surrounding temperature, but all animals do some comparable work. For instance, in a dry country, animals and plants work to maintain the fluid content of their cells, work against a natural tendency for water to flow from them into the dry outside world. If they fail they die. More generally, if living things didn’t work actively to prevent it, they would eventually merge into their surroundings, and cease to exist as autonomous beings. That is what happens when they die.””
“We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable. We are all taught to “be yourself.” What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.
You have to pay a price for your distinctiveness, and it’s worth it. The fairy tale version of “be yourself” is that all the pain stops as soon as you allow your distinctiveness to shine. That version is misleading. Being yourself is worth it, but don’t expect it to be easy or free. You’ll have to put energy into it continuously.
The world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that.”
“To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings. It remains Day 1.”