Yesterday I returned from my travels to India. The second half of the journey focused on activities in Bangalore, where the Amazon Development Center India has its offices. I spent some time with the different teams that work in Bangalore and that operate in typical Amazon team mode: completely independent and with full ownership of the services they develop. Which means that they are not only responsible for scoping and implementation of the service but also for the operational aspects of a service (= running it and taking customer feedback). Teams in India, in the other Amazon Development Centers and in Seattle all operate in this manner to innovate new services fast and effectively.
Yours truly on one of the office balconies (right next to the hammock)
The teams in Bangalore work on products in the web-services and search area, and the interaction with team members proved to me what many of us already know; that India houses some of the best engineers and architects. Amit Agarwal & Bharat Vijay, who lead the two areas, have been able to use the high Amazon hiring bar to attract some excellent talent. The review meetings were intense, but effective. It brought back many of the memories of working with Indian students at Cornell who's engineering skills, commitment and work ethics were often way above average.
The guys of one of the Bangalore teams that work on web-services on the roof terras.
The green view in the back is the Bangalore Turf Club (horse racing).
On Thursday the center had organized an event at the wonderful Leela Palace Hotel in Bangalore for 50 local architects and CTO's to meet the people working at Amazon and listen to some relevant lectures. Soumen Chakrabarti gave a talk on his work in search relevance and I gave my talk on the future of scalable distributed systems. I had a chance to informally meet some of the tech leaders out of Bangalore and received many invitations to visit the different companies.
One of the beautiful hallways of the Leela Palace Hotel
Unfortunately there was no time for these visits or even for much personal time. I had to limit my time in India because I had already committed myself to giving a talk at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference. I am on my way to San Diego now.
I will definitely go back to India to meet with more of the interesting people, and to take some time off to tour the country. What I have seen in my 8 days was very intriguing and worth coming back to.Posted by Werner Vogels at March 15, 2005 12:04 AM