One phrase that perfectly captures Amazon's crazy obsession with numbers
In fact, data crunching is so prevalent across the whole company, it's not hard to find signs that show almost religious obsession over data analysis, according to a former employee.
"Managers had signs outside their offices that said, 'In God we trust. The rest, bring me data,'" Guru Hariharan, a former Amazon engineer who's now running his own e-commerce software startup called Boomerang Commerce, told us.
"It was common to have heated debates around data," he said. "It was like, 'I don't trust your subjective opinion. Bring me data-driven opinion."
Amazon's obsessive culture over data analysis is a by-product of its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. According to the New York Times' August report on Amazon's corporate culture, Bezos once tried to convince his grandmother to quit smoking by providing data that proved she was losing a few minutes of her life for every puff she inhaled.
Naturally, Bezos' data-obsession has seeped in to the whole company's business culture. One former Amazon employee was also quoted in that NY Times story as saying, "Amazon is driven by data...It will only change if the data says it must - when the entire way of hiring and working and firing stops making economic sense."
That kind of work culture could make Amazon a difficult place to work for, Hariharan agreed. "It's definitely a tough environment. There's some very direct questioning that's happening on conference calls and metric meetings and so on," he said. "It's very data-driven, cut-throat...It's not for the faint-hearted. "
But Hariharan said his experience at Amazon was what built the groundwork for his current startup, which provides optimized pricing and inventory data for retailers. "I enjoyed my time there. It was a great training ground for me, and it ended up defining my DNA from a workplace standpoint," he said.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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