Ever wondered what it is like to work at Amazon? Curious about the type of people who thrive in one of the world's most customer-centric companies?
In this month’s profile, we get an inside look at Peter Weissgerber, who recently completed his tenth year with the company. Peter shares what a typical day looks like for him, some of his passions outside of work and the best piece of advice he ever received.
Can you tell us more about your background and career path leading up to Amazon?
Before Amazon, I studied Computer Science and became a PhD student, researching in a wide field of Software Engineering. My main focus was on searching through software archives and helping new developers to understand the past and recent changes that have happened to a piece of software, and also publishing and presenting my research results at international conferences and symposiums. After submitting my thesis, I felt ready for a new adventure and joined Amazon as a technical consultant for large sellers on the Amazon Marketplace.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s usually a combination of reviewing and deciding on issues (often ones that create customer friction) that are being escalated on, doing one-on-one or larger meetings with my team members, and driving my own projects. I also try regularly spending some time of my day to look into anecdotes from customers that my team has supported and try to take time for self-education.
What is your favorite leadership principle and why?
Ownership. The thing that I especially like with ownership is that it is not about just picking up as many things as possible. It is rather about really caring about the right choices and ensuring long term success. It’s about setting things up in a way that they will work for our customers not just today and tomorrow, but also far beyond. The building up and scalability aspect is something that I really like.
After 10 years at Amazon, what do you enjoy about the company’s culture?
I really enjoy working with all the great people here, everybody is very clever and people have very different opinions and backgrounds. This together with the culture of challenging each other in a respectful way is really what allows me to learn - it has helped me to grow in my career as well as personally. And I believe it is what allows us at the end to deliver products and services that simply work for many of our customers.
What has been your proudest moment at Amazon?
There were already a couple of such moments. Recently, we invented a QA (quality assurance) system in my team that is getting rolled out globally, which definitely makes me very proud. I also feel proud when a team member who I worked closely with and coached over a period of time, gets promoted or manages to move into a more responsible position.
What’s something you’re excited about outside of work that your coworkers may or may not know about?
I really like rock and metal music and luckily there are some good places in Luxembourg to enjoy concerts of famous and up-and-coming bands. I go to at least one festival each summer, including camping with my friends and other music lovers. That’s always a lot of fun and I can get away there from the daily routine for some days. I am also a loyal supporter of my home football club 1. FC Saarbrücken and watch nearly all home games every year, no matter what division they are playing in.
What is the best piece of professional advice you were ever given?
It may sound simple, but I think the most important advice that I received actually from one of my first managers at Amazon: for any process and any project that I launch, always think about how to scale and make it impactful beyond my own team and organization. That really helped me to think big and global.
What guidance do you have for someone pursuing a career at Amazon? I think I want to give two pieces of advice: first one is to resist the temptation to make decisions that bring fast results, but are not scalable. The second is to really take benefit of our open discussion culture and of the input of other people; do not bend yourself, but be open to other opinions and use them to challenge and cross-check your own stance on the topic.