The NYTimes expose on the working conditions at Amazon didn’t go over too well with the company’s founder.
Jeff Bezos took to his keyboard over the weekend and wrote a memo to his employees. Amazon’s CEO wrote that he doesn’t recognize the company described in the article, and he hoped that the employees don’t recognize it either.
You can read the full email below. Compared to the blog posts published by two Amazon employees over the weekend, Bezos’ response is less a rebuttal than a simple denial and a request that employees take steps to report any conduct like what was reported in the piece.
The NYTimes “claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard,” Bezos writes. “Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either….I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.”
Here’s the full memo from Jeff Bezos, as obtained by GeekWire. Let me know what you think (I’m still waiting for caffeine to kick in, and so I have no opinion yet).
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give this (very long) New York Times article a careful read:
I also encourage you to read this very different take by a current Amazonian:
Here’s why I’m writing you. The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems. The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day. But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at [email protected] Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.
The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market. The people we hire here are the best of the best. You are recruited every day by other world-class companies, and you can work anywhere you want.
I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.
But hopefully, you don’t recognize the company described. Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way.
image by jurvetson