Employees at Microsoft and employees at Amazon party much differently, an alum of both told GeekWire’s Todd Bishop.
Brian Valentine, who led engineering teams at each, describes Amazon’s party scene as “evolutionary,” while he calls Microsoft’s “revolutionary.”
The difference, he says, has to do with how the two companies work on products.
At Microsoft, employees would hustle away on one big launch for a really long time — two to three years, sometimes longer — and then throw crazy bashes to celebrate a ship. At Amazon, on the other hand, product changes happened every day. The device shipments of Amazon’s hardware, like its Kindles, are often remote, so even those product achievements don’t have organised festivities like they would at Microsoft.
“[At Microsoft] we had these long product cycles, where you could build up a huge amount of pent-up energy in the march to get to the end, and you’d have this big blowout at the end. Legendary parties that we would have,” Valentine says. “In the software side of Amazon, you don’t have these big events, and so you don’t have the opportunity to have these giant parties. Yyou still party, you still have fun. But it’s on an iterative scale.”
Valentine now works at an “innovation studio” called Ivy Softworks in Seattle started by Napster co-founder Jordan Ritter.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.