At work, feelings matter.
Not just in the way bosses manage employees, and not just in the way employees treat each other.
Feelings about technology are also important.
You start a new job and discover a bright, shiny, state-of-the-art computer on your desk. There’s that added buzz of excitement when you’re seated in your tiny cabin. Or your small seat at a very large table.
This does not seem to be the case for project managers at Amazon.
I judge this by a Business Insider Exposé in which former Amazon employees who now work for Google share their past experiences at Jeff Bezos’ Happy Camp.
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There have been horrific stories of so-called fruitiness. This is the glorious mix of frugality and stupidity that seems to infect too many companies.
One of the sharpest complaints, however, came from a former Amazon product manager. It seems Amazon didn’t consider these key employees worthy MacBooks. Instead, they received “subpar Windows laptops.”
One can only wonder what specific laptops those might have been. One person’s below-average is another person’s “works well for me.”
But this particular project manager described their pain like this: “I found it ridiculous because there’s no joy in it Windows laptops and if there is no joy, no creativity happens, and if there is no creativity, what is a PM worth?”
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I’m afraid several reactions could be triggered here.
Among them: “Product managers should be creative? No way. They’re just there to make sure the job gets done.”
Or maybe: “Joy? As a product manager, do you expect joy?”
Or even: “You expect joy? You work for Amazon?”
Or maybe, “You’re not one of those iconic Apple fan people, are you?”
But how much of the product manager’s observations should be based on perception and how much on reality?
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Microsoft has fought the image of tedious boredom by creating its own brand, Surface. You may have many opinions about these devices, but they are not inferior. They are mostly creative.
In fact, the Surface brand predated the Microsoft brand in that it stood for something different – different from the traditional, forced, business-minded stupidity of Windows.
But when a company insists that all you need is a cheap Windows laptop, what does that really say?
The technology that a company provides is a mark of respect for the work and the employee. It’s also a signal of how the company sees itself – especially if it’s a technology company.
You may be wondering what Google now provides this product manager. “Chromebooks,” I hear you murmur.
No, it seems the staff are getting a nice new MacBook with very tasty specs.
That must explain why there is so much joy at Google right now.