Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with some people from Amazon.com at their headquarters in Seattle as part of my work with the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Technology & Information Systems (let’s just call it SCOTIS for short).
Much of our conversations surrounded the future of cloud computing or, Amazon Web Services, as they call it. Its a brand new area without a lot of rules.
But in the visit, I was also interested in how Amazon.com has gotten to be so successful. It’s due, in part, to the culture it has created.
Amazon.com has a interesting culture: both frugal and innovative. Contrast that with, say, Facebook, where employees get perks galore.
At Amazon.com, each employee gets a door desk when they arrive (they don’t need to build their desk anymore, though). Yes, a door that literally serves as a desk. There’s a story about it that is fairly recapped elsewhere, but suffice to say that the founder, Jeff Bezos, has seen fit to install the values associated with a desk door in how employees are treated.
So what kind of people does Amazon.com look for to maintain its core values? The strategy is one that is recapped by in a recent article.
The strategy Amazon uses to attract and retain that talent is one all organizations can learn from, whether in a state of growth or contraction. Having determined the organizational culture necessary for success, Amazon hires those who best fit that culture.
“We want people who are aligned to our growth strategy,” says [one Amazon.com employee.] “We want people who think big and want to build, who are biased for action, and who are obsessed with the customer experience.”
Here in Connecticut, many of our companies are well established with a human resources department that has years of experience to work from. But there in Seattle, it’s still considered “Day One”.
They still have a lot to learn, but there’s something refreshing about their approach that companies in Connecticut can learn from as well.