Why Amazon will rule the world.
I am a black man who has been a part of the computer technology industry for over 25 years. I have worked for over ten different organizations, some of them huge and well known. The one thing I always noticed while working with these organizations — I was normally the only black man standing in the building.
I am not writing this article to start any race war in computer technology. I had a lot of help from white people including males and females, LGBTQ, and foreign nationals along my journey. I have always wondered why there was not more diversity in most of the companies I had worked for in the past. I cannot blame the shortage of black men and women in the technical field solely on the fact that white males and females seek inclusion.
I think first hand why this occurs is because many black men and women do not want to be a part of the technical world. Also, they may not have the interest or education to believe they will get an opportunity in this field of work.
I have a 12th-grade education, and I have worked with many other white males and females with the same type of education. Don’t get me wrong, many of them do have a college education. However, the ones who do not have a college education often have an outstanding quality that has helped me succeed in this line of work. Be a passionate person who is willing to work hard. If you are (possess these qualities), this is one of the easiest job markets to join. I will tell anyone who is interested in technical work that you should go for it because there are so many opportunities in the computer industry.
Maybe my passion for hard work started as a kid. I remember when I participated on a swim team, and I was the only black male on the team. I started out not knowing how to swim at all. Everyone on the team was better than I was, but I refused to quit. I kept practicing every day until I became the best swimmer on the team. I have applied that same philosophy to everything I have accomplished in life.
I recently interviewed at Amazon. My first thought when contacted by the company, was that it is probably the same old “bro” culture that I have seen for the last 25 years. I flew up to Seattle, Washington for the interview. I arrived the day of the interview, one hour before the meeting. I sat outside the Amazon building where the interview was taking place.
About 10 minutes before my meeting, I realized that something was different about this company. This was from my simple observation before I met anyone from Amazon. As I sat outside the building I would be interviewing in; I could see (or ‘noticed’) the diversity in the company. I did not see just one black person — but numerous black people entering the building with their badges. I also noticed that there were many different nationalities. I could hardly believe what I was seeing.
After I had completed my interview, I caught a ride share back to the hotel. I told the driver I had interviewed with Amazon. His comment was that he noticed not ever dropping off any people of color at other big name software companies in Seattle. However, he had with Amazon.
My advice to other organizations is to do what I did. Take a trip up to Seattle and sit in front of any Amazon building, and witness what it means to have diversity in the work place.
Amazon may not hire me — but based on the interview, the diversity within the interviewers I met with, and my observation while sitting in front of the Amazon building — the one thing that became crystal clear was that Amazon had figured it out. They will rule the world, and it because they have included the people of the world.