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Great Article on Jeff Bezos


Parsad
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Thanks for posting.

 

Jeff Bezos’ managers at Amazon find him formidable enough. But the figure that overwhelms their lives goes by the internal nickname “the empty chair.” Bezos periodically leaves one seat open at a conference table and informs all attendees that they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, “the most important person in the room.”
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Thanks for the article.  Amazon.com is without a doubt my favorite company, yet I’ve never owned the stock.  It just always seems so expensive.  I know I’m not typical, but if my wife and I were typical I’d definitely own the stock at any cost, because Amazon.com would be by far the largest company on earth and the world would be filled with vacant malls, strip-malls, and other shopping centers.  Most of which would probably be converted either to massive data-centers or Amazon.com warehouses.  The only thing we don’t buy there is fresh food, and we have a (local?) company called Peapod that delivers that to us.  We don’t visit brick & mortar stores of any type anymore.  “Running errands” in my house consists of going to the study and turning on the computer.  Amazon Prime with its free 2-day delivery (which often makes it to us overnight) makes all of this possible.  And if you need it immediately add $3.99 for overnight delivery. And returns are far easier than most physical stores.  Just try returning something to Target or Bestbuy without your receipt and see if you don't appreciate Amazon.com.  I just wish wall street would start hating the stock for a while so I could buy it.

 

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Yes, while I love amazon.com as a customer I don't really think much of their culture, and would never ever want to work there.  It seems like they reward their customers but pay no attention to their employees who are the ones who are supposed to serve those customers, or any of their partners.  Whereas Bezos seems tremendously long term oriented and visionary in many ways, the way he treats his employees is not one of them.  I'm a bit surpised given their culture and rewards that they are able to attract top engineering talent. 

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I'm a bit surpised given their culture and rewards that they are able to attract top engineering talent.

 

Engineers are attracted to cool technologies, interesting projects and challenging problem sets. There was a lengthy discussion on an engineer-heavy forum earlier last year comparing Google and Amazon cultures, which might be interesting to some here. Several former Amazon employees shared their views: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3101876

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Many great companies you would think about buying mentioned on this message board are trading at 6% fcf yields. For fun, look at AMZN's forward fcf yield which I think may intrigue some of you.

 

SI

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I'm a bit surpised given their culture and rewards that they are able to attract top engineering talent.

 

Engineers are attracted to cool technologies, interesting projects and challenging problem sets. There was a lengthy discussion on an engineer-heavy forum earlier last year comparing Google and Amazon cultures, which might be interesting to some here. Several former Amazon employees shared their views: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3101876

 

perhaps, but clearly they left.  There are still better options than Amazon for brilliant engineers..  Looking through that thread, read what "nirvana", simplekoala and others say.  I think long term getting rid of brilliant engineers is going to hurt them bad.

 

"Everything Steve says about Amazon is true, only, it was much worse. Amazon was, by far, the worst employment experience I've ever had. I'm not saying that lightly, I worked for a dozen startups, a couple of which crashed hard in the most gut wrenchingly painful way you could imagine."

 

"It was by far the worst employment experience I had at a tech company. In my 10 year tenure, I fortunately didn't come across any company as bad as Amazon, when it comes to how it treats its employees. The management doesn't have any value for the lives of their developers, and use them as tissues."

"Attrition at Amazon is at horrific rates. I know the actual number, though I'm pretty sure that'd violate my NDA to reveal. It's high. It's really high. Guess a really truly terrible number. It's probably higher than that."

"You can sustain such an illusion only for so long, however. In seattle, as far back as at least 1998, everyone know that Amazon was a terrible place to work and an even worse place to do business with (as a supplier, etc.)"

 

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One of the articles linked to this one:

 

http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor?page=1

 

I don't know how much of it's true, but it's pretty brutal.  It's really got me thinking twice about amazon and the products I buy from there.  It's clear they are using every unfair disadvantage they can, from not having to collect state taxes to using temp agencies to keep a distance from the pretty brutal working conditions described.  This is kind of hard to read for someone who was loving being an amazon and amazon prime customer...

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