What I’ve learned from two years (and counting!) at Amazon
I’ve been head down on Alexa Voice Service work for two years now, and am using this milestone to reflect on the experience thus far. It’s been an amazing experience that’s huge in reality, but getting the listicle treatment here because time is short!
When Amazon says every day is Day 1, the company means it. Innovation, passion, and results are de rigueur.
This is the second company I’ve been employed by that truly lives its Leadership Principles. The other company was AMB (now ProLogis). Not coincidentally, these are the two companies with truly great leadership influencing my approach to work and career.
The two year mark means something to Amazon. The five year mark means even more — it’s the first time the color of your badge changes. Longevity at Amazon gains a person respect.
Speaking of… I’ve learned that at Amazon, the more respect your manager or team lead has, the easier it is to do your job with less friction. Respect by others for your manager is a currency.
The company has improved culture after that scathing New York Times editorial. This is a sign of an evolved company that, despite its size, can nimbly respond as needed.
Many “individual contributors” here used to run their own companies, and chose to join Amazon as powerhouse ICs — the people are brilliant, innovative, and deeply knowledgeable.
Being an Amazonian has made me more aware than ever of the impact the company has on society, on business, on consumer behavior, and on technology. While the retail business is core to the company, its impact is well beyond that.
That said, it’s still amusing to me that the first book I ever bought online (from Amazon, natch) is titled Shopping in Space. There’s something poetically perfect about that. And no, the book is not about e-commerce. Rather, it’s a collection of essays on America’s “Blank Generation” fiction.
I may never get used to waking up, turning on NPR, and hearing my company in the mainstream news. At least, I hope I never get used to it. Holding both an insider and outsider perspective, simultaneously, makes it all the more interesting.
Even while working at the most valuable retailer, my intellectual curiosity continues to be pulled in the direction of the enterprise and the developer.
Thanks for reading this long-due blog article. I certainly planned to write here more frequently. I hope to do so this year!