[Update: November 16, 2022] This week, Amazon announced that they are about to lay off around 10K employees, the largest job cut in the company’s history. The layoffs focus on the company’s Alexa unit, its retail division, and human resources. The fact that AWS remains stable and continues to grow 40% every year reinforces my insights in this article that, despite the current situation in the market, AWS, I assume (hope), will not slow down and have to lay off employees as well.
After a great experience at KubeCon in Detroit, my next stop is AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas! Alongside the endless jet lag (flying from Israel is far!), I’m feeling saturated with cloud, DevOps, and all of this geeky stuff.
Jokes aside, I’m excited to attend my 11th re:Invent. This year, the re:Invent conference is expected to have close to 50K attendees (I assume that eventually AWS will report more.) and will be very crowded, similar to pre-Covid numbers in 2019. And I can see why! When I look at KubeCon NA and compare it to my next stop, I must say that AWS re:Invent just shows the world what an impressive well-oiled machine Amazon is—and, more specifically, AWS.
I have been covering the world of AWS since 2008, close to its inception in 2006. That was when Amazon presented its S3 offering. Every year, I get to learn more and see Amazon’s strength in action. It starts with the great ship’s ability to run fast—to adjust and to even define and lead technological trends—and release hundreds of updates and new services every year while never slowing down.
Here are the features that embody that AWS machine and culture. Plus, the IOD team will give you some tips to help you run your own re:Invent.
Exponential Growth in Talent
In 2019, LinkedIn showed that AWS had just over 40,000 employees. Today they’ve jumped to 132,696. I assume these numbers are not precise, but they still represent enormous growth. Sometimes, I refer to AWS as a “gigantic startup”; that’s even more true when you look at this exponential increase in the number of AWS employees.
In addition to this growth, you have Amazon’s compelling Day 1 Culture. I assume that you’ve heard about Day 1, but if you haven’t:
“A company with a Day 1 mentality will insist upon constant iteration and experimentation. They will foster curiosity. They will embrace, explore, and be inspired by external trends all around them. And they will empower their leaders and employees to take risks, being permissive of failure as an inevitable consequence of innovation.”
Everyone knows that by entering the gates of AWS, employees gain great work terms and benefits. But they also know that the work itself will be demanding and dedication is a must. The giant’s hiring and employment methods are aggressive, a fact that shows that everyone is replaceable:
“We’re looking for people who raise the bar. What does that mean? It means that—in order to hire someone—we have to believe that they will, once on the job, perform better than half or more of the people already working for us in that same role.”
Over the years, I learned about working at AWS and discussed it with many current employees. Aside from the fact that everyone (yes, everyone!) said that their AWS job is demanding, employees also shared that they have great independence in their roles and positions. No one really cares about their day-to-day work, but their achievements also lie outside of their main responsibility—AWS employees must show how innovative they are.
For example, AWS technical account and solution managers need to keep their customers happy, that’s it, simple and demanding as that! But they’re also expected to come up with ideas and run new initiatives, which, if accepted by an AWS executive, will be fully sponsored by Amazon.
Amazon’s innovative culture is a perfect storm of reliable independent teams and individuals, a highly competitive environment, and the right incentives.
APN and “Frenemies” with AWS
In 2012, AWS announced its Partner Network program, aka APN. Celebrating 10 years, this program is significant and substantial for both AWS and its customers. As part of APN, AWS refers customers to its partners with the required skills and specializations; in this way, it heavily supports the growth of its partners’ businesses.
I’ve had hundreds of hours of discussions with startup investors, partner leaders in the AWS ecosystem, and I always hear these leaders say, “We are great partners with AWS—and we do recognize that there is some competition with them.” Sometimes, they add “…but our product also fits private clouds.” Meanwhile, I’m sarcastically thinking: “Yeah, sure. That sounds like a great long-term strategy”.
This “Frenemies” behavior wasn’t common—and still isn’t— with other IT vendor ecosystems, especially the legacy ones. However, it exemplifies how Amazon as an organization not only protects its own position in the market, but also keeps its ecosystem in great competitive tension. That ensures only the players who can run fast and survive a volatile, highly innovative landscape stick around.
AWS re:Invent: The Numbers
There’s no denying that re:Invent is the largest public cloud conference. In comparison, Microsoft Ignite averages 25,000 attendees a year (although this year, they surpassed 200,000 attendees by offering virtual attendance through livestreams). Google Cloud Next averages 30,000 attendees, while VMware Explore averages 10,000.
It’s no wonder that AWS—the cloud infrastructure marketing leader—continues to grow 40% every year. That leaves cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) searching for new ways to differentiate their offerings and capture more market share. While both continue to grow at similar rates to AWS, Azure only commands a 22% market share and GCP accounts for 9%. Even though Azure and GCP rely on other services to make their cloud solution more compelling, AWS continues to be the cloud provider of choice for more industry leaders in healthcare, retail, and financial services every year. Even industry giants like Meta (previously known as Facebook) have chosen AWS as their long-term cloud provider to support future initiatives.
Tips for Having an Amazing Experience at
AWS re:Invent 2022
Don’t forget to:
1) Take a selfie 📷
2) Wear sport shoes 👞
3) Dive into the AWS re:Invent show floor
4) Wear a super cool t-shirt 👕(We can help you with that, just DM me!)
5) Experience a party or two.. or more 🥳
6) Have extra masks, a charger for your phone, and water!
7) Reinvent your tech content strategy – Meet our team in Vegas!
Ready for re:Invent 2022
I’ll admit: Visiting Vegas again and suffering through more jet lag is not something I’m looking forward to. But, I am thrilled and fortunate to have the opportunity to see up close how the cloud ecosystem continues to grow and how fanatic AWS is about maintaining its innovative culture across its ecosystem of employees and partners.
This year, I will attend as an individual analyst. I’ll be joining multiple sessions, meeting AWS leaders, and engaging with partners on the expo floor. I can’t wait to see their demos and discuss the future of cloud.
And don’t forget: Now is a great time to reinvent your tech content strategy. Meet the IOD team in Vegas, and we’ll help you do a hard reset! Even if you can’t make it to re:Invent this year, you can always contact us and get started creating better tech content today.
See you all in Vegas!