I visited amazon headquater for an interview recently. I was and am very disappointed about this company. Before I went, they arraged the flight and hotel for me, but I wondered about whether I could rent a car from the airport to the hotel, so I sent them an email and asked about it, there's no response at all! Well, I finally rent a car anyway, but I was told that they could pay for cab but not renting a car. Ok, all right! I have to say I felt like the employees at amazon pretty silly, and they always talked about changing history etc. It makes you think that their company is much better than microsoft, IBM, sun etc. But one of them finally asked me " Do you think we are a retail company or a technology company?" What a joke! I told him "honestly, I think amazon is a retail company since most of your revenues are generated from retailing, but I know there is a lot of technology involoed, and that's why I am there for this interview". And five person interviewed with me, I think I did pretty good in the interview and expected an offer from amazon. They said they will give me a message in 2-3 days no matter if an offer would be made to me. But two weeks passed, they didn't give me any infomation, even with my two emails inqurying my situation. Oh, boy, at least give me a rejection letter. I think. Since I have other good offers in hand ( microsoft,lucent,...), I really don't care about amazon's offer, but I am so disappointed with them, I sent three emails in total to the contact person in this company. But got nothing answered. If that's the way amazon treats potential employees, I wonder where their reputation for good cutomer service comes from. The stock options for employees in amazon is in general more $50 a share, if the stock price dosen't go up, how many good employees will stay, I wonder.
If you went for a job interview at Amazon.com's headquarters in Seattle, you probably know that it's right next to Chinatown. During the lunch time, I might even have served some of those guys who interviewed you. Judging by the way you write and spell, maybe there's even a hope for me to get a good job up the hill with Amazon.com. But I can't do anything programming, though---that's my problem.
Your experience is hardly unique. Amazon's HR department (they used to call it the "strategic growth" department) is and has always been notoriously unresponsive.
It's not too surprising that Amazon still sees itself as a technology company. When they started, there was no commercial software available for web-based retail, and they had to build everything from scratch. Naturally, they saw themselves as pioneers, and perhaps had dreams of selling or leasing their platform, or patenting parts of it and living large on the licencing. Nobody told them that web-based retail is rat simple.
As to changing the world, well, three years ago, it really did look like Amazon was changing the world. People who have been in the company since then without taking a break to look at the real world don't realize that it has overtaken the company.
It sounds like you're a programmer. If so, thank your lucky stars that you don't have to work on Amazon's codebase-- it was built ad-hoc, with the focus always being "we must add this feature now," and it has swollen to the point where trying to impose any sort of sane software architecture looks impossible.
Good employees started leaving early this year before the stock reversed direction-- disillusionment is much more powerful than financial loss. The collapse of the internet bubble only accelerated things.