If you want to understand the biggest threat facing Amazon today—and no, it's not new FTC chair Lina Khan—check out The Information’s story today about the bureaucratic creep at Amazon Web Services. One former AWS salesperson told our reporter, Kevin McLaughlin, that at AWS he was spending around 70% of his work hours on paperwork, including writing day-by-day breakdowns of every customer he met with and spoke to. That doesn’t sound like the Day One culture Jeff Bezos has relentlessly proselytized!
This paper-pushing culture increased after a former Intel executive joined AWS—someone who was promoted last year. In other words, it’s not going away. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Once a company gets anywhere close to Amazon’s size—1.3 million employees—it’s hard to avoid procedures to help management keep track of what’s going on. And of course, those processes aren’t all bad. Our report today noted that some former AWS employees felt the unit needed more structure so it can better scale.