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Amazon goes full on dystopian future

Three distinct stories about Amazon, but the theme is consistent.

First, Bloomberg is reporting on Amazon drivers who are hanging smartphones from trees.  Why?  To get them closer to the station where the deliveries originate from and beat out other drivers.     This the result of the competition for work, where the milliseconds make a difference.   

Unrelated, Business Insider is reporting that Amazon posted, and then deleted, a job listing for an “intelligence analyst” to monitor worker’s efforts to unionize.    In the now-deleted listing, the role included snooping on worker’s efforts, focused on “labor organizing threats against the company” and reporting back to executives.  The role was taken down after Business Insider inquired about it.  

Finally, and again unrelated, Amazon is covertly monitoring private social media groups used by Amazon flex workers to discuss their working conditions.     Per reporting by Vice, the retailer has staff to track and categorize discussions in closed Facebook groups, public subreddits, and on Twitter, and posts are then escalated to internal teams and company leadership.

Why do we care?

It’s hard not to look at these stories and just think there’s something very broken at Amazon.   When you have a hunger games for work, and 1984 like monitoring of employees, there’s just something wrong.  

The takeaway is not the focus on Amazon, however.  The takeaway is when relations with employees become so adversarial there is a massive drain on the organization.  As previously reported here, there’s data to show micromanagement and overt monitoring of employees is detrimental to that organization.

Building culture and a focus on empowering employees is hard – but if it was easy, everyone would just do it.     That’s why we care – to not end up in this dystopian future.

Source: Bloomberg

Source: Business Insider

Source: The Verge