AMAZON'S BEZOS FIRES BACK AT SCATHING NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE
August 17, 2015
(SEATTLE, WA.) -- Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has responded to a scathing Sunday New York Times article about how brutal it is for some high level employees to work there by saying, “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."
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
That's one of the things Bezos wrote to employees in an email after the Times story broke and was covered by other media.
Bezos wrote that the article claims, "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.”
Below is the full email attributed to Bezos:
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give this (very long) New York Times article a careful read: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
One man who says it's time to flee Amazon
Jeff Reifman, technology consultant and writer launched a new website last month with artist Kali Snowden called Flee the Jungle , which encourages people to drop their Amazon Prime memberships and shop elsewhere.
In a Seattle Times article published August 4th he was quoted as saying, “The truth is that Amazon’s quickly turning Seattle into a traffic congested mess for a wealthy mostly white male class of what many call "Brogrammers."
He says the major takeaway from Saturday's New York Times' exposé is that it's no longer ethical to shop at the company.
"Reporter Jodi Kantor's and David Streitfeld's interviews with one hundred current and former Amazon employees outline a disturbing corporate culture: from 85 hour workweeks to workers crying at their desks to women with breast cancer being placed on performance improvement plans.
There's something deeply sick about the workplace culture it describes. Professor Erik Loomis calls it "sociopathic." Likely, the mindset at Amazon will be nonplussed by the article … because it only reflects their adopted values.
But, it's time for the rest of us to stop shopping there. Which was the inspiration for Flee the Jungle."
The Sky Valley Chronicle recently published one of Reifman's pieces about Amazon and it's had a lot of reads for being up such a short period of time. You'll find it here .