Amazon's Culture Story
Continues - The Good and the Bad -
The Future Workplace?
Depiction of Amazon Stirs a Debate About Work Culture - Over 4,000 Comments on
Yesterday's NY Times Article The reaction to the story was voluminous
and spirited. On websites like Reddit and Hacker News, tech workers, Amazon
employees and friends and relatives offered thoughtful and detailed reflections
of their experiences at the company. Jeff Bezos, its chief executive, also
weighed in. Many of the more than 4,000 comments posted to nytimes.com recounted
what life was like at Amazon.
Dozens of current and former employees, as well as loved ones, wrote in to talk
about how difficult it was to maintain a work/life balance. Many pointed out
that the two year-mark was often the cut off for how long they could last there.
The depiction of life at Amazon left many commenters wondering whether they
should continue shopping with the company.
Not everyone, however, was so quick to lambaste it and its practices. Some
current Amazon employees said their experiences matched the most upbeat ones
described in the original article. Another Amazon employee echoed that
experience. He pointed to the climate inside the company as a place that fosters
projects that can have a huge impact on millions of people.
Hard Labor at Amazon? Wall Street Shrugs
Shares of the company rose 0.7 percent today despite a blistering expose in
Sunday's New York Times that cast working conditions at the e-tailer as harsh to
a Dickensian degree, but also high-paced and laser-focused on delivering for
The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet told WWD, "I think this was a
powerful story driven by on-the-record interviews. It told the story of people
who feel burdened by the Amazon workplace and those who feel exhilarated by
it. In other words, an exemplary piece of journalism. And the comments on
our site from present and former workers attest to that."
"The thing about the [Amazon] corporate culture is that it's one that's
consistent," said a former Amazon executive who spoke on the condition of
anonymity. "They do a really good job of being consistent. They weed out the
people that the system doesn't work for and burn through those people, and they
also find people that this system works for."
This modus operandi has worked well for Amazon, although the executive said new
hires sometimes get to Amazon and are shocked by the lack of "social cohesions"
at the company. The former Amazon executive said this bout of bad press might
push the e-tailer to make some changes in its corporate culture.
"I don't think the article will change things," Melich said. "It won't change
consumer shopping habits. If they need to keep a certain level of customer
service, they'll find the right people to do that. They'll react to the
customer, so if their customer tells them that their service has slipped, if
their renewal rates for Amazon Prime drop, they might react.
Retail consultant Brian Kelly said pioneers are known for their work ethic.
"When I was [chief marketing officer] at Lane Bryant, there was a hugely focused
business model left over from the Les Wexner days," he said. "It required six
workdays a week. When Sam Walton was starting Wal-Mart, it also was known as a
slavish work environment. And Wal-Mart changed the retail world. That is what
Jeff Bezos is doing. Now it's his turn, and I am sure he has studied both Walton
One of the Times reporters on the story, Jodi Kantor, told "CBS This Morning": "So many of us know Amazon as customers, but what we realized is that we don't
know how the company works inside. Employees had very powerful things to say
about it. They really spoke to the strengths of working at the company. They
said that they love the innovation, the customer focus, the quality of the
people who work at Amazon, but they were essentially questioning, 'is our
workplace - it's designed to be tough - but is it too tough?' A former human
resources director at Amazon used the phrase 'purposeful Darwinism' to describe
the company's method of constantly getting employees to do more and to improve.
Asked about the commonality of a tough workplace in today's landscape, Kantor
said, "what we found so fascinating in reporting this article is Amazon is
singular. They call themselves peculiar. They pride themselves on being
different. That's a consistent message inside the company. On the other
hand, it does reflect the future of the workplace - more efficiency, more
data, come-and-go relationships between employer and employees - the question is
how far is too far? Are there limits on how hard employees can work?"
CEO Jeff Bezos certainly has good reasons to put a kinder face on the company he
founded 21 years ago: 4,537 good reasons, to be exact That is the
number of open jobs Amazon lists on its recruiting page for its Seattle offices
alone. Amazon has exploded in size: More than 18,000 full and part-time
workers were hired in the second quarter alone, a jump of 11%. And timing makes
this an especially sensitive issue: Amazon typically boosts its hiring in the
third quarter to staff up fulfillment centers ahead of the holidays. wsj.com
Bitcoin CEO Arrested On $389M (250m pound) Fraud Charges
Police in Japan have arrested Mark Karpeles, 30, who headed the MtGox Bitcoin
Exchange until the business collapsed in February 2013. At the time, MtGox was
one of the leading international Bitcoin exchanges and held millions of pounds
worth of the online currency in supposedly secure electronic vaults for
customers. Karpeles is alleged to have spoofed the company's computer systems
into transferring the lost cash into his personal accounts. The company filed
for bankruptcy claiming the 250 million pounds of Bitcoin had been stolen by
hackers. A police investigation has uncovered tampering with the company's
computer systems and evidence that Karpeles manipulated the MtGox network to pay
himself the missing Bitcoin.
PayPal Pairs With Commerce Dept. To Harness Economic Data
QVC will acquire e-retailer zulily for $2.4
Competitors giving Alibaba a run for its money
Gift Cards As A Second Currency
"Fraud is not a person - it is a dynamic grouping of statistics that deviate
from the norm."
Stuart B. Levine, CFI, CFCI
CEO, The Zellman Group & Zelligent
ORC suspects get jail time for hitting Lord and Taylor at King of Prussia Mall -
9 to 23 months each Darrin Orr, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of
criminal conspiracy to commit retail theft and was sentenced to nine to 23
months in Montgomery County Correctional Facility. Orr was also sentenced to
three years of probation and was ordered to pay $8,575 in restitution with his
codefendant Shareef Haynes. Tykee White, the third man involved in the theft,
was sentenced to nine to 23 months and three years of probation after pleading
guilty to retail theft in August 2014. On Nov. 5, 2012 at 3:07 p.m. the loss
prevention officer at Lord and Taylor was working and saw three men - White, Orr
and Haynes - walking through the mall who were suspects in previous theft cases
at the store. At 8:30 p.m. the same men were seen in the store looking at the
leather jackets. The men then grabbed several jackets and were seen running with
them out of the store without stopping to pay for them. An inventory of the
store determined the men stole 23 leather jackets and vests costing the store
NJ: 14 Crips gang members indicted in identity fraud scams They are 14
members of an Elizabeth-based street gang, but they now face a 49-count
indictment for "white-collar crimes," including filing false tax returns and
manufacturing fake gift cards to collect thousands of dollars, Union County
officials said today. Money from the scams was use to support members of the 111
Neighborhood Crips and to aid other gang members who were in jail or prison,
acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park said today. All 14 defendants face
charges under New Jersey's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)
statute, Park said. In addition to the RICO indictments, two of the suspects
face indictments on murder or attempted charges.
AL: "Boost Bags" Used In $4,000 Theft Incident at Old Navy Many stores
have security systems near the front door that trigger a loud alarm if someone
tries to steal merchandise. Foley police say four people found a way to by-pass
the EAS system at the Old Navy store at Tanger Outlets and walk out with more
than $4,000 dollars worth of merchandise. All four were arrested moments after
the alleged crimes. They've all been charged with felony theft. Two were also
charged with giving false information to a police officer. Police say the
alleged shoplifters used what's called "boost bags"- homemade bags made with
duct tape to steal the clothes.
Murfreesboro, TN: $3675 in Push Up Bras stolen from the Victoria's Secret Store
There has been another sizable theft at Victoria's Secret in Murfreesboro. This
time around, two Hispanic males and one Hispanic female entered the store with
several bags from nearby stores and reportedly started selecting merchandise
with total disregard to size or price. They placed the merchandise inside their
bags and never made it to the cash register. When a store employee at the Avenue
location approached one of the three subjects to ask if they needed help, they
left the store in various directions on foot. They reportedly left with over
$3,600 in push up bras. Since 2012, over $20,000 in merchandise has been
shoplifted from the two Victoria's Secret Stores in Murfreesboro.
Concord, NH: Man Busted with Nearly $1,800 Worth of Stolen Items from Target and
Walmart A store employee told the officer that he was tipped off by a
patron who was in the store earlier and thought a theft might have taken place
in the garden center. The officer eyed video and reportedly saw a man leave the
store with a full cart of merchandise along with a child seated in the cart.
Hoover, AL: Police focusing on issue of Shoplifting; Releasing a series of
information on social media Captain Gregg Rector says with Hoover
being one of the biggest shopping areas in the state, shoplifting is always a
concern for businesses and police. "Probably one of the primary reasons behind
the shoplifting we see in our city is individuals that are funding drug habits
and it's been that way for quite some time now," Rector points out. Rector also
says larger retailers typically have the most success in dealing with
shoplifting cases because of their ability to afford security cameras and loss
prevention. The Hoover PD plans to post shoplifting-related information on its
Facebook page throughout the week, including pictures of those caught in the
Hoover, AL: Woman accused of stealing 2 pair of jeans, valued at nearly $1000
A 38-year old Warrior woman is facing theft charges. Hoover police arrested
Pamela Burr on August 10th. Loss Prevention employees at Von Maur Department say
they saw the woman concealed two pair of "Robin Brand" jeans inside her purse.
After she left the store, Burr was taken into custody and officers were called.
The stolen jeans were recovered.
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Romanian National Admits To International ATM Skimming Scheme - Hitting ATMs
Across the U.S. on Road Trips - Faces 25 yrs in prison Zoltan Deak,
39, of Hunedoara, Romania, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire
fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Court Judge
Jeffrey L. Schmehl scheduled a sentencing hearing for December 7, 2015. Deak was
part of an international conspiracy which placed skimming devices on ATM
machines and subsequently stole money from the compromised bank accounts.
Zegrean and Dragan took road trips across the United States stopping every
few miles to withdraw funds from the compromised bank accounts. In June
2013, Deak traveled to the United States intending to withdraw funds from the
compromised bank accounts and to assist Zegrean place skimming devices on ATM
machines in the United States. Deak, Zegrean, and Dragan took a road trip from
Reading, PA to Florida to withdraw funds from previously compromised accounts.
Returning from their trip to Florida, Sheriff Deputies in Clarendon County,
South Carolina, stopped Zegrean's Range Rover and searched their vehicle. Inside
the vehicle, Deputies found approximately $15,000 in stolen funds, 1,704
stolen bank card numbers, and various ATM skimming devices. Wyomissing
Police later seized another stolen 2,879 bank card numbers from
Zegrean's computers. justice.gov
N.J. couple accused of roles in $15M counterfeit watch international smuggling
ring Prosecutors say a central New Jersey couple was involved in
international trafficking ring that smuggled counterfeit high-end wrist watches
between Hong Kong and New Jersey. They say a search of the couple's home
uncovered more than 150,000 counterfeit watches, watch parts and equipment used
to assemble wrist watches. The retail value of authentic watches was estimated
at more than $15 million.
Omaha, NE: Man convicted in Fatal Shooting of 71 year old Jewelry Store Owner
An Omaha man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the 2014 fatal
shooting of a jewelry store owner during a botched robbery. Douglas County
District Judge Marlon Polk issued a guilty verdict Monday in the bench trial for
19-year-old Milton Dortch Jr. The conviction carries a life in prison sentence.
Prosecutors say Dortch was 18 when he entered James Minshall Sr.'s Omaha jewelry
store in September 2014 and attempted to rob it. Dortch says he shot at Minshall
because he saw the 71-year-old man attempt to retrieve a gun. Dortch testified
during his short trial that he never intended to shoot his gun or kill anyone.
PA: Store clerk and Armed Robber battle with swords For a few tense,
surreal moments Friday night, a Pittsburgh corner store was transformed into
something out of Game of Thrones. That's because a would-be robber tried to hold
up the store with a sword - only to discover the clerk was armed with a sword of
his own. It happened this past Friday night at the Perry Market in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. Two unknown juveniles ran into the store, one of whom was
brandishing a sword or very large knife. The unknown man holding the sword ran
behind the counter to demand cash, and that's when the store clerk reached for a
blade of his own: a full-length scimitar.
Buckhead, (Atlanta) GA: Neiman Marcus Last Call the victim of a Smash and Grab
Atlanta police were investigating a smash-and-grab burglary Tuesday morning
at a Buckhead store. Two suspects wearing yellow scarves on their faces were
seen leaving the area in a red sedan without a tag, Police said. It was not
immediately known how much merchandise was stolen from the store
Kansas City, KS: Is the Felony Lane Gang targeting Johnson County?
Car break-ins Sunday night have Johnson County Park Police worried the Felony
Lane Gang could be up to its old tricks. The group travels around the country
targeting purses left out in the open before moving on to another city and new
victims. Sunday's smash and grab robberies at the Mid-America Sports Complex in
Shawnee have authorities wondering if the Felony Lane Gang might be responsible.
So far, they say it doesn't appear so, but they're not taking that for granted.
Myrtle Beach, SC: Man charged with Shoplifting $10,000 of merchandise from
Empress Jewelers A Summerton man was arrested late Sunday evening for
his alleged role in a Horry County jewelry heist. Tanniah B. Whitfield, 30, was
charged by the Horry County Sheriff's Office with shoplifting of a value more
than $10,000. Deputies told WPDE that officers were called 6 p.m. Sunday to
Empress Jewelers at Myrtle Beach Mall for shoplifting of more than $10,000 in
merchandise. They said they are still looking for the get-away driver, who took
off in a white, 1999 Ford Crown Victoria.
San Diego, CA: Security Guard Robbed While Working at Ralph's Grocery Store
A security guard says he was robbed while he was working at a downtown San Diego
grocery store early Tuesday. San Diego Police were called just after 3 a.m. to
the Ralph's in the East Village community. Raymond Wyatt said his wallet was in
his backpack near the flower section of the store when Wyatt noticed a man take
the wallet. Wyatt confronted the suspect and told NBC 7 the man threatened the
guard, saying that he had a gun and would shoot him.
Police bust $30 million contraband cheese ring Russian police said
Tuesday they have busted an international ring involved in producing contraband
cheese worth about $30 million, arresting six people. The arrests are part of a
government campaign to enforce a ban on imports of Western cheese and other
agricultural products imposed a year ago in retaliation for U.S. and European
Union sanctions on Russia. Police said the ring, whose operations began in
March, had been supplying "as cheese a product made from cheese rennet whose
import into Russia is forbidden." The product was then fixed with counterfeit
labels of known foreign cheese producers and sold in supermarket chains and
distribution centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Woman charged with identity theft, running up
$3,100 in charges on credit cards
Lancaster, PA: Police seek two men accused of
stealing oxycodone during armed robbery of CVS
Newton, NC: Police Arrest Man On Felony Identity Theft Charge
Sort Pump, VA: Man charged with 'Upskirting' girl in Barnes and Noble
Houston, TX: Houston Furniture Bank temporarily closed after Arson Fire
Kay Jewelers in the Valley Mall, Hagerstown, MD reported a Grab and Run,
merchandise valued at $1,895
Kay Jewelers in the Cascade Station, Portland, OR reported a Grab and Run,
merchandise valued at $1,300
AT&T - Virginia Beach, VA - Robbery
Andy's - Dania Beach, FL - Burglary
Anderson Guns - Anderson, IN - Burglary
Boost Mobile - Slidell, LA - Armed Robbery
Carlisle Food Mart - Carlisle, PA - Burglary/ 3rd this year
Circle K - Yuma, AZ - Robbery
CVS - Augusta, GA - Robbery
CVS - Lancaster, PA - Armed Robbery
Denver E Cigs - Denver, CO - Burglary
Dollar General - Waco, TX - Armed Robbery
Dollar General - Pueblo, CO - Robbery
Little Caesars - Holland, MI - Robbery
McDonald's - Austin, TX - Armed Robbery/ Police Shooting
Q-Mart - Austin, TX - Armed Robbery/ Police Shooting
Rite Aid - Springfield, PA - Robbery
Rite Aid - Augusta, ME - Robbery
Slippin Southern - New Orleans, LA - Burglary
Subway - Houston, TX - Burglary
Yogen Fruz - Northbrook, IL - Robbery
7-Eleven - Denver, CO - Armed Robbery
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