Power of Words

It’s been about a month as a Product Manager at Amazon and I’ve haven’t made a single power point presentation. It’s not that nobody trusts the new guy–lots of people are new. Instead it speaks to something a bit more deeply engrained in the culture of Amazon and how work is done.

Everything at Amazon–at least within my experience within AWS–when it comes to relating information is done with text. The PR/FAQ is designed to capture a new product and provide it with a customer perspective first. One-pagers which have a loose in format, capture a single concept or recommendation. 3-pagers provide a longer narrative and can be used as a convincing document. I’ve written each of these so far and read not a few. At the beginning of meetings, there is period of silence while people read the appropriate document. It helps load the information into working memory and saves the time it takes to verbally communicate the same. This way everyone quite literally on the same page when the discussion begins. Afterwards, the document serves as a reference for anyone else to quickly read and learn.

There is a power and agility in this method. There is a reason why text is one of the oldest forms of knowledge transfer. There is a power in words.

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