Ever wondered what it is like to work at Amazon? Curious about the type of people who thrive in one of the world's most customer-centric companies?
In this month’s profile, we get to hear from one of Amazon Pay’s Senior Solution Architects in our Seattle HQ, Matt Neilson. Matt shares his love of the NW, favourite surprise perks, the endless ways to develop your career at Amazon and even demystifies what a few misconceptions about what really happens at Amazon.
Matt, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
My partner and I moved to the Pacific Northwest about 5 years ago from the east coast and we love it. I’m still learning how to truly appreciate the beautiful outdoors, most recently picking up hiking, revisiting snowboarding, and trying to learn how to love running again. Oh, and did I mention that we’re huge fans of the food scene? We try to hit up new spots whenever possible, and love all the local wine, beer (Peddler), cider (Schillings), chocolate (Theos) and coffee (Ballard Coffee Works) options!
When did you join Amazon and how has your career evolved?
I joined Amazon in 2014 as an Integration Manager, assisting developers launching Amazon Pay on their sites and shopping cart solutions. Two years in, I began focusing on our solution provider integrations, and eventually had the opportunity to start leading part of the team.
Today I’m fortunate enough to oversee and work among some extremely talented Solutions Architects (they keep me on my toes!), continuing to support our solution providers, and providing feedback and direction to internal teams to help drive product innovation for our customers.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m not much of a morning person, so my first challenge is getting out of bed. However, after we’ve achieved that, I head in to the office to start my day. Mornings often consist of catching up with our global counterparts and connecting with local team members. The rest of the day is made up of meetings, coffee catch-ups, and getting work done. A great part of leading a team of solutions architects is that our work touches so many different areas, which means that no day is ever the same!
What do you enjoy about the Amazon culture? Or what’s one thing you’ve learned since your time at Amazon?
I really enjoy our positive, growth-oriented culture. Based on my time in previous roles outside of Amazon, both as an individual contributor and manager, the experience here is so much better. Here I know that if I want to focus on something different, my manager will support me, which makes sense – if I’m not happy, I’m just going to look somewhere else. Who benefits then?
What is your favourite leadership principle (LP) and why?
First, I love that the LPs are so ubiquitous at Amazon. I’ve worked in previous companies where we use them as names to conference rooms, or have them painted on the walls, but that’s it. Here we are empowered by them; they are an integral part of our feedback systems, play a role in our peer nominations, and are a fundamental aspect of our decision-making.
Lately, my favourite LP has been our newest addition, Learn and Be Curious. Learning new ideas and advancing our understanding of how things work is critical for us to grow. We can’t experiment without learning new things, and we can’t make informed decisions and come to new conclusions without digging in to how things work.
What is one of the reasons you enjoy working at Amazon Pay?
I have never met a more intelligent and friendly group of people. This amazing group, coupled with high-impact projects and tasks that need to be executed at scale, creates a very exciting, constantly changing environment to work in. It’s quite the challenge, and I can’t imagine a better team to do it with!
How does Amazon support your career goals?
Amazon supports my goals by providing a nearly unlimited combination of career trajectories. I was on a call with a prospective candidate recently and they asked if there was opportunity for growth in the role. Before I knew it, I had been talking for 5 minutes about all the ways in which you can grow and develop yourself, whether it be advancing in-role, exploring new job families, moving to a new country, or seeing if you have what it takes to lead a team. The possibilities are endless, it’s fantastic!
What's the best thing about coming to work each day?
One of the best things about coming to work is having the opportunity every day to make a marked change and delight our customers every day.
When I was trying to decide whether to accept a role at Amazon, one of my biggest concerns was that I was going to become another cog in a massive corporate machine performing the same, mundane tasks every day. Lucky for me, that story in my head is proven false every day.
Is there a "perk" to your job that might surprise people?
An insane amount of both formal and informal training and learning opportunities exist. If you want to learn more about Machine Learning, we have Machine Learning University; if you want to become certified in an AWS track, we’ve got internal AWS courses; want to learn how to be more Amazonian? We’ve got those too! Whatever you’re looking to do, there are likely classes or training that will help you. And, with our growth and development-oriented culture, it doesn’t have to be something directly tied to your role!
What are some of your passions outside of work? What are you most excited about outside of work?
Again leaning in on my love of food – I’m a biscuit aficionado. Many weekends, we go try new brunch spots just so I can try out their biscuit offering. I can tell you the pretty good spots, amazing spots, and those to avoid (I mean come on, who serves a cold biscuit at brunch?!?).
What’s your super power or a something about you most people at work may not be aware of (secret talent, hobby, aspiration, etc.)?
I have my commercial driver’s license and was a public transit bus driver in college.
What else do you want to tell the internet?
We’re hiring more Solutions Architects, and lots of other roles throughout the rest of Amazon Pay. If you want to come be a part of an amazing team, reach out!
Learn more about working at Amazon Pay through our career site.