Amazon Echo is one of the most interesting consumer products to come out of Amazon in a long while.
It’s basically a voice-controlled speaker that could play music, answer trivial questions, and order groceries — all by simply letting users talk to it from anywhere in the house.
Now the Echo’s turning out to be a huge surprise hit for Amazon, but it wasn’t easy developing the device.
Because of its Star Trek computer-like features, the Echo’s official launch kept getting pushed back for nearly 4 years until Amazon felt like the product was finally ready, as Business Insider previously reported.
And according to a new report by Bloomberg, almost none of the former employees who worked on the Echo like to describe their experience as being “fun.” The report says:
“None of the former employees interviewed for this story quibbled with Amazon’s reputation as a brutal workplace. When asked whether it was inherently ‘fun’ to work on a product like the Echo, one former employee scoffed that, to describe Amazon, no one had ever used that word with a straight face.”
That’s not too surprising given there’s a website just for upset Amazon employees to post negative reviews about the company. Or that a New York Times feature last year described Amazon as a “bruising workplace” (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has disputed the New York Times’ characterization of the company culture).
Still, the fact that a lot of the people who worked on Echo early on have decided to leave the company before seeing the product’s success reflects the exhaustive process it took to get the device ready.
Although Amazon won’t agree with some of the negative employee sentiments, it does seem to acknowledge that the development process wasn’t an easy one, as Amazon VP of Devices Dave Limp told us previously, “It was an evolution of a product that was hard…I can’t underestimate the amount of work and invention that went into this.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.