One word: Amazon.
This was the company we had the honor of visiting on our adventures today. A panel of recent Luther alumni were able to take the time to come and speak with us along with University of Minnesota alum, Danny Tormoen. They were able to tell us stories about their experience working for such a large, well-known company, and a little about their daily lives. As Amazon has a very team based culture, it was interesting to hear about how that plays out in doing daily tasks at work. Each employee is set up with a mentor from their team to help guide them. It was also nice to hear about the different project management styles and techniques used such as Agile and Scrum. However, as each team is fairly autonomous, each person had a different story to share. While the majority of the panel consisted of tech employees, it was also nice to hear from the other side of the company from a non-tech recruiter, Jacob. We heard about the similarities, differences, and how the two sides work together. While both use a team-based approach, the recruiting department doesn't necessarily meet and work as closely as the tech teams need to. This shows an interesting culture climate that I think is very useful for a large company the scale of Amazon. Each department is able to work in a way that best suits them while still having the communication required.
It was also very informative to hear about the company's leadership principles as well. Not only did it tell me what Amazon itself values, but they are good guidelines that are pertinent to any company. Some principles that stuck out to me were customer obsession, ownership, earn trust, deliver results, and set high standards. I hope to keep these in mind as I continue my job search for an internship and use them as a way to measure myself as to how far along I am in developing these traits.
Once we had finished, we got a chance to walk along the street and have a peek in the window of the Beta test store for Amazon Go where there are no cashiers. You are able to check in when you enter and with camera technology, they are able to tell what you take off of the shelves to charge your account as you exit. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go in as it is currently only open to Amazon employees.
After a nice lunch at Kiki's Ramen down the street, we headed back to the condos to hear from none other than our own professor, Brad Miller. He was able to give us his story of entrepreneurship as a founder of the business Net Perceptions, a software company that sold recommender software to various businesses including one of their first clients, Amazon. Throughout the story, I was able to gain many pieces of advice when dealing in business in general. First, you should always think, what is the worst that can happen. If you are passionate enough and it is the project you should be working on, this consequence will not phase you. Also, the hardest thing to do at times is knock down the lead pin so to speak. Once you get just the right starting customer or think of that one great solution, there will almost be a domino effect and everything will fall into place with more customers or solving the problem you are looking at. Finally, you should always set goals. Post them in a prominent place where you will see them everyday to remind yourself why you are doing the work you are. But make sure these goals are measurable so you can check in on your progress from time to time.
Once we took a little rest, we got some dinner down the street at Belltown Pub. Now we have have the chance to relax and get ready for an early start to our next visit at Microsoft. It sounds like we have a full day planned for tomorrow!
That's all for now!
Taken with permission from Claire's blog