[This is a (mildly edited) email I sent to a bunch of Amazonians last week.]
I’m writing to let you all know that I have made a hard decision, but one that I’m confident is the right one for me: I have left Amazon as of July 29, 2022.
I’m heading off to join Fanatics.com. I chose Fanatics for basically three reasons: leadership, agility, and – well – it’s sports. The leadership team feels a lot like the Amazonians I’m leaving behind: honest, intelligent, data driven, creative. While the company is established enough to need someone with my skill set (“Rubin said Fanatics is projecting $4.5 billion in revenue for its e-commerce business in 2022”), it is still nimble enough that they can make deep changes quickly, and small enough that I can expect to be more hands-on. And finally – well, anyone who knows me understands that I’m a pretty serious sports fan, or at least a “bleed green” fan of the Seattle Sounders. (Did you know that the Seattle Sounders are the best football team on the continent? They are!) So Fanatics is pretty much a dons.trifecta. Of course, we all know that the interview process is akin to dating: I’ve seen the house when they’ve cleaned up for me, and it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in the middle of the week when the toilet’s clogged!
A decision like this is always accompanied by regret. Honestly, I had expected to retire from Amazon. It’s is an amazing place. I know it’s trite to say it, but the company really is full of bright, motivated, ethical people – all of you. Everyone I interact with regularly, from my boss (hi Dharmesh!) to the newest SDE-I, is dedicated to Amazon’s mission: providing durable solutions to real customer problems. The culture of the company has been steadfast since 2001, particularly the mission of working back from customer needs to deliver lasting solutions. I’m proud of what I’ve done here; even now, it’s a little hard to imagine working anywhere else. I’ll always be proud of the technical innovations I’ve helped shepherd into reality; I’ll also always be proud of having helped write the “Lead with Empathy” Principal Engineer tenet, and I hope people keep watching my “Sailing the Seas of Change” video [internal only]. The two documents I’m most proud of are available on my blog: “On Writing Documents” and “On Metrics and Measurement” are a pretty condensed presentation of a decade of Amazon lessons.
I will miss Amazon. Most of all, I will miss you. I have spent most of my adult life working here, and what I really value is the relationships I’ve had with you all. More than anything else, that’s what makes me sad to leave.
If you’re interested in keeping in touch, there’s always LinkedIn. And if you’re addicted to my ineffable musings, you can always hit twitter or read this blog. And, of course, if you’re a real glutton for my prose, there’s always my book, “Houses of Sword and Flame.” The sequel, “Tome of Forgotten Lore,” should be coming out in the next month or so, and the final book in the trilogy, “Castle of the God,” will be out this year.
All the best!
PS I’ve tried to include everybody who I thought would care, but it’s possible I’ve left somebody off. If that’s you, dammit! Sorry. For everybody I did remember, please feel free to forward if you find people who didn’t know. And if you’re one of those people that got the email second-hand, please be sure that it wasn’t intentional.
Best wishes … many good folks are leaving this year (he says with just a slight humble-brag)
An Amazon man to the end: referring to “customers” without even pretending to include the oft-abused (when not simply neglected) sellers that generate the bulk of the profits for this anti-trusty, unlevel playing field, which is only holding off federal intervention on the backs of lawyers, lobbyists, and cities afraid to lose (sometimes pretty awful and/or dangerous) jobs.
You didn’t think I’d let you get out the door without taking a final swipe at this Best of All Possible Platforms, did you? : )