It’s been a year since I joined AWS. I was fully prepared for all the quirkiness I’ve read about online. Let me just say that things aren’t as they really appear.
The reality is, people weaponize the leadership principles all the time in a passive-aggressive and deflective manner. This is because of the “someone does it to them” that seems to cascade endlessly. This is not normal social behavior. The reason why AWS hasn’t fallen apart is for two reasons; the first is the golden handcuffs where, if you’re not performing (or gaming the system well), AWS will simply not give you more stock. This, in essence, will look like a $100K pay cut and so you will leave. The second is that AWS has convinced the world they’re super high tech. I’d love to say that this is true but AWS leverages open source projects heavily or invest in areas the world already knows makes money - things like server hardware, chips/ASIC’s; people at AWS seems to believe AWS invented this stuff and are bleeding edge - just not true. AWS is basically a data center with automation around it, something that was invented prior to AWS. Advanced services are open source projects wrapped in AWS automation scripts. Almost everything that has complex code , someone else wrote, but Amazon uses for free.
In the end, the culture of AWS is one that Is brain wash through financial fear and technical ignorance. What AWS doesn’t know is that some customers are “smarter” and doesn’t need to be told what to do. The world is just lucky with have stagnant and lazy fortune 500’s who can’t acquire talent because, is the my hired super smart people like other high tech companies, I’d imagine AWS would be in a different position.
PS: RE: the writing culture. I used to think this was awesome but it’s not. While it does force people to fully think things through and have things on paper but it’s really a mechanism to avoid having people talk. People say AWS is a introverts dream .. that just isn’t true; it’s an endovert’s dream, which is a nicer way of saying people with sociopathic or bipolar behavioral problems. If you’re wondering why you’ve become mentally unstable, it’s probably because you’re not mentally ill when you joined and AWS is silently instilling its ill behaviors upon you.
Join AWS if you need money but it comes at a cost. Leadership principles sounds good but people’s selfish behaviors ruin them by hiding their defficiencies. AWS truly does “reinvent” stuff but does not invent (huge difference). If you’re young and know zero tech history (anything before 2007) then your ignorance is your saving grace. I don’t plan on staying around AWS another year since the soul of who I am is slowly deteriorating.