After seven and a half years at Amazon I’ve recently left. At Amazon I purposely lived in the shadows because the rules around publicizing our work were stringent. But now I plan to think and write as much as possible to make up for the last 7 years of silence. So I’m repurposing the blog I wrote to get a job at Amazon as a new blog about localization. Though I can’t speak to the particulars of my work at Amazon I can paint a picture in broad brushstrokes.
Amazon like most large organizations is heavily siloed. There are many owners of localization and many types of content that need to be localized. My work at Amazon helped to scale the business operations, localization process, tax processes, and legal process at Amazon for the human and machine translation used across all of Amazon and its subsidiaries. This work was inspired by a comment Bill Sullivan made to me at LocWorld 2006 and it was the focus of much of my work at Amazon.
After his speech at LocWorld, I pulled Bill aside and introduced myself as someone who was trying to organize the localization at Amazon. I asked him for advice on how I could create a cohesive localization process at a siloed and highly secretive company like Amazon. Bill’s answer was simple. “Follow the money and make the gatekeepers your friends.”
For seven years I did just that. And I’m happy to say it worked. I’m seeking a new opportunity to do the same thing for a start up or a fast growing company that can no longer depend on organic growth of localization infrastructure, or “seat of the pants processes”. If a company has figured out these strategies are no longer viable options for expansion then I’d love to speak to them.