Amazon Architecture. Amazon’s Frugality

Amazon Architecture over at High Scalability. Of note a few items for team building and team dynamics as well as product management:

  • If you have a new business idea or problem you want to solve you form a team. Limit the team to 8-10 people because communication hard. They are called two pizza teams. The number of people you can feed off two pizzas.
  • Teams are small. They are assigned authority and empowered to solve a problem as a service in anyway they see fit.
  • Work From the Customer Backwards to Verify a New Service is Worth Doing
  • Force developers to focus on value delivered to the customer instead of building technology first and then figuring how to use it.
  • Start with a press release of what features the user will see and work backwards to check that you are building something valuable (This is brilliant!).
  • Create a frugal culture.
  • Involve everyone in making dog food.
  • Look for three things in interviews: enthusiasm, creativity, competence. The single biggest predictor of success at Amazon.com was enthusiasm.
  • Hire a Bob. Someone who knows their stuff, has incredible debugging skills and system knowledge, and most importantly, has the stones to tackle the worst high pressure problems imaginable by just leaping in.

If you have time, a word on scalabilty from Werner Vogels is a great read too.

[…] scalability cannot be an after-thought. It requires applications and platforms to be designed with scaling in mind, such that adding resources actually results in improving the performance or that if redundancy is introduced the system performance is not adversely affected.

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