I’ve now been at Amazon for 6 months. Kind of crazy. In some ways it seems longer and in other ways it seems a lot shorter.
If you’re looking for a post that talks about what it’s like to work at Amazon, or what my job actually is, or anything like that, I’m sorry to disappoint you but you won’t get much from this post. This is mostly going to be a post about me and what I’ve learned about myself.
What I can tell you is that I have never worked with or at a more data driven company than Amazon. Everything has to have data. And that’s awesome. It takes some getting used to, but it’s a much better way to work than battling over differences in opinion. I’ve also never worked for a company that really cared more about their customers than Amazon. Nothing comes before the customer. Period. That’s why Amazon is the most trusted brand in America.
And as I’ve already helped recruit several of my friends to Amazon, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell anyone who’s looking to join Amazon; read and understand the Amazon Leadership Principles. They are not just there to look good, they drive everything at Amazon.
With all that out of the way, I will say that my biggest disappointment was that no one played Welcome to the Jungle at the new hire orientation. Seems like a real missed opportunity.
So back to me. When I joined Amazon, I had just moved back from living in London and left the agency I’d been at for over three years (which may not sound like much but was the longest I’d ever been at one place).
I’d been doing social media for the last ~7 years and really needed to do something different. I still love social media but I felt that if I helped one more company launch a Twitter account or Facebook page, I was going to choke someone. I needed to build something. I needed to not just consult on things but dig in and get my hands dirty. It hasn’t been a trivial adjustment but, for the most part, I’m getting to do that. It’s hard but good work.
I’ve had to adjust my whole way of working. My GTD Moleskine Hack has been a life saver but I’ve also had to adjust a lot about my daily activities. Again, it’s been hard but good. When you develop a very specific and specialized type of work style, especially one suited for working in social media, it’s very hard to switch to a more conventional, analytical work style. I have to unplug for long periods of time and focus on one thing. It’s crazy. I’ll try and write more about that adjustment at another time, but it’s well outside of my comfort zone.
I once wrote that social media got boring. And I do think that social media for the sake of social media is boring. There are no big mysteries there. But what social media is enabling, is amazing. The growth in the sharing economy and continued democratization of information is still in the very early stages. Social media, data and transparency are fueling all kinds of new businesses and not just on the internet. The physical world isn’t just being digitized, it’s being humanized. It’s all very exciting and scary.
Tumblr’s been a great platform. I do a lot more long form writing in my job than I used to, so I don’t write as much in blogs but I do hope to change that and start posting more thoughtful posts. I’ll still post those here. Stay tuned. Or don’t.