Tales from the Gryphon/ archives/ 2010/

Tales from the Gryphon

Archives for 2010/03

Manoj's hackergotchi
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Sunday 28 March
Link: Customer obsession: Early days at a new Job

Posted Sunday afternoon, March 28th, 2010

Customer obsession: Early days at a new Job

#+TITLE: Customer obsession: Early days at a new Job #+AUTHOR: Manoj Srivastava #+EMAIL: srivasta@debian.org #+DATE: #+LANGUAGE: en #+OPTIONS: H:0 num:nil toc:nil \n:nil @:t ::t |:t ^:t -:t f:t *:t TeX:t LaTeX:t skip:nil d:nil tags:not-in-toc #+INFOJS_OPT: view:showall toc:nil ltoc:nil mouse:underline buttons:nil path:http://orgmode.org/org-info.js #+LINK_UP: http://www.golden-gryphon.com/blog/manoj/ #+LINK_HOME: http://www.golden-gryphon.com/ I have been at Amazon.com for a very short while (I have only gotten one paycheck from them so far), but long enough for first impressions to have settled. Dress is casual, Parking is limited. Cafeteria food is merely OK, and is not free. There is a very flat structure at Amazon. The front line work is done by one-or-two pizza teams -- size measure by the number of large pizzas that can feed the team. Individual experiences with the company largely depend on what team you happen to end up with. I think I lucked out here. I get to work on interesting and challenging problems, at scales I had not experienced before. There is an ownership culture. Every one -- including developers -- get to own what they produce. You are responsible for our product -- down to carrying pagers in rotation with others on your team, so that there is someone on call in case your product has a bug. RC (or customer impacting) bugs result in a conference call being invoked within 10-15 minutes, and all kinds of people and departments being folded in until the issue is resolved. Unlike others, I find the operations burden refreshing (I come from working as a federal government contractor). On call pages are often opportunities to learn thing, and I like the investigation of the current burning issue du jour. I also like the fact that I get to be my own support staff for the most part, though I have not yet installed Debian anywhere here. While it seems corny, customer obsession is a concept that pervades the company. I find ti refreshing. The mantra that "it's all about the customer experience" is actually true and enforced. Whenever a tie needs to be broken on how something should work the answer to this question is usually sufficient to break it. Most other places the management was responsible for, and worried about budgets for the department -- this does not seem to be the case for lower to middle management here. We don't get infinite resources, but work is planned based on user experience, customer needs, and technical requirements, not following the drum beat of bean counters. The focus is on the job to be done, not the hours punched in. I can choose to work from home if I wish, modulo meetings (which one could dial in to, at a pinch). But then, I have a 5 mile, 12 minute commute. I have, to my surprise, started coming in to work at 7:30 in the morning (I used to rarely get out of bed before 9:30 before), and I plan on getting a [[http://taylorsbikeshop.com/product/08-raleigh-detour-deluxe-37604-1.htm][bike]] and seeing if I can ride my bike to work this summer. All in all, I like it here.


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