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March 09, 2005

Amazon in India

I have been in India since Saturday to promote the Amazon Development Center India in Bangalore and to talk the local engineering talent. The Bangalore center is part of our global chain of development centers and has groups that work on search technology and on web services.

It has been a very exhilarating trip, India is a country of many extremes and it takes some time to get used to getting around both physically and mentally. I found it very hard to get used to the extreme service oriented nature of the society, where for many small tasks have people dedicated to them. It took some time for me to understand the importance of the ecosystem surrounding it.

We stayed the first 3 days in Mumbai (former Bombay) in one of the bigger hotels near the airport. This meant that every time we went into town we needed to make the hourlong trip through the Mumbai roads, which is an experience that makes an F1 race seem like kids play.

The first day was an easy day with two media interviews of which one was in the famous Taj Mahal Hotel. It amazing how these hotels are an oasis of peace and order in the middle of a city of chaos and cacophony. The more than 12 hours of time difference appears to be way more demanding on mind and body than the usual 9 hour difference from Seattle to Europe. It took me until today (Wednesday) before I really felt in more familiar groove.

Day 2 started of with some more media interviews and an interview for CNBC-Asia. All these interviews focus on the role of the Bangalore office, what areas they are working on (search & AWS), and about the high bar for Amazon hiring. I get to talk a lot about mobile and the way how Amazon Web Services are being used to build new applications on cell phones. There is a general a lot of interest by reporters in the different ways that A9 is improving search.

In that afternoon I gave a lecture at the IIT Bombay on Amazon and the future of technologies for massive scalable systems. It was fun to be back in front of students and there was a lot of good interaction afterwards. I was demonstrated a few projects and it is clear that the IITs do very interesting work.

Next day (Monday) we flew to Pune for more media interviews and a presentation to engineers and researchers at Veritas, who have a large part of their software development to India. Amazon has a global focus on development and the development center in Bangalore was started purely with a focus to extend our current developers base with engineers that do not want to or cannot relocate to Seattle. We have a few smaller dev centers in the US and one in the UK, and we take a global approach to finding top talent.

Tuesday we flew to Hyderabad for again more media and a presentation at the Microsoft offices. My presentations focus on the development of distributed systems technologies based on biological robustness principles, which will also be the basis for my talk at ETech next week in San Diego. Hyderabad is different from all the cities we visited in that the infrastructure is more developed and the large IT buildings are all clearly designed by US architects. The Microsoft buildings looked just like Redmond.

Barat (head of the A9 group in Bangalore) and Drew (the PR manager traveling with me)

From Hyderabad we flew to Bangalore where I will stay until Saturday night when I fly back to the US. Here I will have a chance to meet with the local teams and participate in some design reviews. There is also a big event planned on Thursday afternoon where a select group engineers out of Bangalore will be introduced to work being done at the Amazon Development Center. And of course there are some more media interviews to do...

Posted by Werner Vogels at March 9, 2005 10:41 AM

Photography Strictly Prohibited
Excerpt: (via All Things Distributed: Amazon in India)
Weblog: OverMatter
Tracked: April 3, 2005 05:10 AM

cool post :-) you're fierce! photography strictly prohibited

Posted by: daniel on March 9, 2005 10:34 PM

nice to know ur joining the bandwagon to Bangalore. intelligence discounted eh?


Posted by: r on March 10, 2005 04:00 AM


Posted by: spliff on March 10, 2005 04:22 AM

Good to know you're having a good time in India. Try not to violate too many laws :-).

Also. is it possible to post some non-confidential parts of your talk on "Building scalable systems based on biological principles"?

Posted by: Swami on March 14, 2005 11:01 AM