I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary of joining Amazon Web Services. More than half of this has been spent at home without any face-to-face meetings with colleagues. Or anyone else. I thought this would weaken my connection to the company. Surprisingly, Amazon’s corporate culture is so strong I’m more “Amazonian” now than I have ever been.
It’s not strong in the “cheer for the leader and wear the T-Shirt” way. It’s intellectually strong. One day you realise you are using the lingo and looking at everything through the prism of the Amazon decision-making system. Subconsciously, I start tagging work things with leadership principles. Are we diving deep in this meeting? I see the invention where is the simplification? Who has the ownership of what’s happening here? Who makes the decision and implements it? Is it me?
I’m a big supporter of the heuristics concept. Mental shortcuts that rely on prior experience from which you can make snap decisions. Now I take the time to see if the data is 70% of the way there first, heuristics getting a 30% weighting in the decision-making process. How Amazonian of me. Trust me, I roll my eyes at that last line too. (Or I used to.)
At some stage Jeff Bezos recognised he could no longer make every decision so he wanted a mental model that any employee could apply to a situation. Well, he built one. I can tell you that it silently installs when you least expect it to, doesn’t appear to need a reboot, and it works at work. It’ll be interesting to see what the software updates will look like after he steps away from the company in a few weeks.