28 years ago, the first Amazon job posting (and its analysis)

Amazon has not always hired 500,000 employees in a single year, as was the case in 2020. Before reaching more than 1.5 million employees, the American behemoth was a startup. 28 years ago, its founder Jeff Bezos published for the first time a job offer. A time when each new individual arriving in the project would play a key role.

It is therefore not for nothing that the level of requirement of the man (who will become for years the richest man on the planet) was high. It was August 22, 1994, and Jeff Bezos had just quit his job on Wall Street to award himself entirely on his internet commerce project (starting with the books).

The medium for the announcement, namely the Usenet site, was a platform operating in a network of forums and launched in 1980 from the University of North Carolina. This platform was the only one and ahead of its time. Amazon had already understood that the Internet would become a perfect network for disseminating information. And for once… find the best talents. Something that makes perfect sense to us today, but didn’t almost 30 years ago.

Amazon didn’t want just anyone

“While every hiring decision matters, a company’s first hires can transform it”, noted a CNBC reporter, rightly so. Any young company knows this. Good more important than capitalsurrounding yourself with the right people (in terms of skills and state of mind) is a matter of life or death the first months/years of a business.

In the first Amazon job posting, Jeff Bezos noted this: “You should have experience designing and building large and complex (but stable) systems, and you should be able to do this in about a third of the time that most competent people think possible”. In addition to technical skills and diplomas, Amazon emphasized that “top notch communication skills are essential”.

This historical reminder gives a good lesson on what is still important to respect today. The report on hiring at Amazon 28 years ago also shows how diplomas are not everything. Moreover, in his job advertisement, Amazon quoted computer scientist Alan Kay : “it is easier to invent the future than to predict it”. A common point of all American big tech to date. With their pros and cons.

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