Working at Amazon

By now you have certainly heard of the NYT piece (or as I like to refer to it, the NYT hit piece) on working at Amazon.  And if you are truly interested, you may have read:

As a current Amazonian, I have been asked by several folks to comment on this article.   In my circle I predictably know a lot of folks working in software and computers.  When asked by one of them, my response is as follows:

Think about all the amazing people you have worked with in your career in software.  The people you respected, the people you admired.  You gained this appreciation by watching them work, seeing how they interacted.   Now ask yourself who is likely more akin to these wonderful people you have worked with and admired:  any given engineer or software professional at Amazon OR the two authors of the NYT piece?  Given that answer, who do you believe is telling an accurate and fair portrayal of working at Amazon?

And to put this in highlight, those NYT journos write:

The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses.

Secret feedback?  It’s a simple peer feedback tool…. as a manager I have valued and made great use of peer feedback for my directs, almost always to build a case for their advancement.

They do not even understand that as engineers we value the opinions of our peers, of those we work with, of those we help via our clever and clean software skills over those of a single manager or some central authority.  Remember, in the NYT authors’ world they value *awards* handed out by select committees… a few elevated individuals judging what is good and what is bad.   They cannot even fathom what software engineers and other computer professionals do on a daily basis, and how we work collaboratively (and agilely) to deliver value to make millions of lives better.

NYT authors succeed by creating a message of their own liking and convincing others of it.  Software professionals succeed by delivering technology that delights customers.

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