Podcast Episode 2 - Welcome to our Podcast
If I asked you, right now, what was your most valuable asset… How would you respond?
Would you tell me it’s your home? Or your 401k? Your bank accounts? Something else?
The answer is simple. If you are younger than, say, 60 – your most valuable asset is your Human Capital.
Hello from sunny Seattle. I am Nick Dimitrov, your host, and I’d like to welcome you to the second episode of the Amazon Bound Podcast. Thank you for listening!
In this episode, I will describe exactly how this podcast could help you and also, who is likely to benefit the most from our program.
In total, we will cover five topics, today. Topic One is “What are the goals for our podcast and the specific ways in which this podcast will be useful to you?” Topic Two is “Who should listen to this podcast,” meaning, which listeners would benefit the most from it? Topic Three is “What exactly is the Amazon Bound program?” The program after which we’ve named our podcast. Topic Four is “What is this podcast not going to cover?” And, Topic Five is “Wow I plan to evolve the podcast and its format, in the future.”
As you can see, we have a lot of ground to cover. Make yourselves comfortable, and let’s go.
I’d like to start this topic by setting some context first: If I asked you, right now, what was your most valuable asset… How would you respond?
Would you tell me it’s your home? Or your 401k? Your bank accounts? If you worked for a publicly-traded company, would you tell me it’s your employee stock options?
Full disclaimer: I would disqualify any of your answers that listed intangible concepts like freedom, and family; like happiness, and health. These are, undeniably, the most valuable things we have, but that’s not what I am asking you. I am asking you to choose your Number One quantifiable asset, in terms of its future cash-flow potential.
So which one is it? I think the answer is simple. If you are younger than, say, 60 – your most valuable asset is your Human Capital. What I refer to as Human Capital is the present value of your future professional earnings from the current point in time to the end of your career. Once you start looking at investing in yourself in this light, your professional outlook will change. It’s not about what you’ve accumulated to date, but about what you’ll accumulate in the future.
Human Capital quantifies your opportunity cost and gives you an unbiased framework to make future tradeoff decisions. Should you start a business? Should you invest in the stock market? Should you pursue a tenured academic career? These are all valid choices, but how about a wholly different option? How about joining a FAANG company. FAANG stands for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.
Becoming a FAANG full-time employee is a no-brainer when it comes to investing in your Human Capital. And that is where I can be of service to you: I know Amazon’s culture and can share actionable advice to help you get employed there, if you really wanted to make that leap.
Another full disclaimer: becoming an Amazonian, first; and being a successful Amazonian, second; is not going to be easy. But it will definitely help your Human Capital soar. You will forever benefit from learning Amazon’s business and Amazon’s culture and from working on challenging and innovative projects. No one can take that away from you... Ever.
So, if you want to let Amazon invest in your Human Capital (by hiring you,) you should consider subscribing to this podcast. This podcast is a part of a broader program called Amazon Bound that I have developed to help job applicants get employed by Amazon.
OK – that was Topic One, which covered the goals of our podcast.
At a high level, there are three types of listeners, who are likely to find this podcast useful. One, people who want to invest in their Human Capital by working for Amazon. And, to state the obvious, our podcast could help these listeners get full-time employment there. The second cohort of listeners who would find this podcast useful, are people who will interview with other companies (outside of Amazon) that practice behavioral interviewing methods to hire their full-time talent. You can invest in yourself by working for a number of great companies other than Amazon, and this podcast could help you get employed by them. And, the third cohort of listeners who could benefit from our podcast are listeners who are generally curious to find out about Amazon’s culture and what it’s like to work there. For those listeners, we will continually share cultural stories about Amazon. Similar to the story, with which we started our first episode about how Jeff Bezos decided to create Amazon Game Studios. In a different episode of our podcast, later on, you will find out how that story ended and you will hear other similar stories throughout.
Alright, this covered Topic Two, which is “Who should listen to our podcast?”
Amazon Bound is a program I designed to help prepare candidates to interview with Amazon. Amazon Bound has three independent, yet related, parts that build on each other, like sequential steps in a larger progression:
Part 1 is an online course called "The Essential Course to Prepare for the Amazon Interview" – By the end of that course, candidates learn to effectively present their professional experience in Amazon’s behavioral format. They are also able to confidently apply Amazon’s Leadership Principles when interviewing there. Most importantly, candidates accumulate a portfolio with written responses, all of which are based on how Amazon interviews applicants today. The course focuses exclusively on Amazon’s practices but is also likely to also help candidates interview effectively at other companies, which practice behavioral interviewing.
Our podcast will borrow sections from this online course and will make them available to you, our listeners, completely free of charge.
Part 2 of Amazon Bound is a workshop called "The Complete Workshop to Prepare for the Amazon Interview" – The workshop helps candidates craft their professional experience via Amazon’s behavioral SOAR (situation-obstacle-action-results) format. Candidates participate in Leadership-Principle case studies and write their top professional accomplishments and failures in the SOAR output. Candidates also present their accomplishments to each other, participate in a live Amazon interview, and learn by doing, with instant feedback of what works and what to improve. Think of this workshop as a laser-focused exercise that helps candidates to prepare and present their professional autobiography in a crystal-clear way that Amazon understands and appreciates.
Part 3 of Amazon Bound is a simulation called "The live Simulation of the Amazon Interview loop" –During the simulation, candidates interview with five to six current Amazon employees, individually matched to each candidate’s job level and function.
After the interview loop, candidates attend their own debrief as “a fly on the wall.” During the debrief, they witness the interview team deliberate and decide whether to “hire” the candidate based on Amazon’s Leadership Principles and functional competencies.
And that is the full extent of the Amazon Bound program.
Again, to be clear, as a listener to this podcast – you don’t need to enroll in any of these courses or workshops. I just wanted to give you a brief overview of the methodology I have developed to help candidates interview with Amazon. This methodology has helped a number of candidates get hired by Amazon and by other quality companies like Facebook, Tableau, Slalom Consulting, among others. This is a methodology, which we will borrow from during our podcast and I will share some of its material and content with you, completely free of charge.
And with that, we’re done with Topic Three: “What is Amazon Bound?”
Moving on to Topic Four: “What this podcast won’t cover and what this podcast won’t try to be.”
I think it’s important to be transparent with you about this, from the very beginning. This podcast is primarily focused on helping candidates who have accumulated a body of work. If you have accumulated a body of professional or academic work, this podcast is going to help you articulate and present this work better. We will help you present yourself in a clear, succinct, and eloquent way that Amazon understands. If you have not quite accumulated a sufficient body of work however, it might be more helpful for you to refer to this podcast as a sidebar resource, while you accumulate your experience. And, when you're ready, you can employ the learnings you’ve gotten here.
What this podcast won’t offer is a magic bullet that somehow guarantees that Amazon will hire you. Amazon hires less than 10% of the people who apply there. Some of our students have asked us – “I thought you would guarantee us getting hired.” That is not the case, unfortunately. Amazon’s interview is not like a DMV driver’s test with predetermined questions and with answers that you can memorize. This podcast will help you express yourself clearly and describe your behavioral accomplishments during the Amazon interview. But whether Amazon hires you or not, will be determined solely by the significance of your accomplishments and by whether your accomplishments raise the Amazon hiring bar. We will talk more about the Amazon hiring bar later in a different episode.
Alright, this completes Topic Four: “What we won’t try to be with our podcast.”
The first few episodes of the Amazon Bound podcast will take the form of lectures, if you will, where I will share with you a lot of knowledge about Amazon’s culture, business and interview process.
As I mentioned earlier, some of this material is borrowed from "The Essential Course to Prepare for the Amazon Interview" that has helped a number of candidates get hired by Amazon.
However, the experienced podcast listeners among you will recognize that this is not your classic podcast format. The classic podcast usually features interviews and conversations between two or more participants. We will get there in time, and we will have guests of our own, on our podcast, but I think it’s important that we cover some important context first, that would get us all on a common foundation that we can build on with more depth and nuance, in the future. Our future interviews will bring that depth and nuance… but all that will happen in due time.
Another unusual aspect of our early podcast days, is that we will end each of the first few episodes with a quiz. We will publish the full quiz on our website https://amazonbound.today, and you can email us your responses to: [email protected]. And then, in the beginning of each consecutive episode, we will award five listeners who have submitted the five best responses, with a free download of "The Essential Course to Prepare for the Amazon Interview."
You didn’t know you’d be given homework while listening to a podcast, did you? Well, what can I say – you would get homework. Submitting answers to the homework though, is not mandatory, of course. But, to make sure you get everything you can out of this podcast, I encourage you to be an active student: that means taking notes as you listen, taking the quizzes I have designed for you, and sending in your responses to us. Actively engaging throughout the podcast will help you retain the concepts as we go.
OK – so that is how the first few episodes are going to be. Then later on, and of course provided that you find the content we discuss useful, I will start inviting guests to our podcast and evolving it into a more classic interview format. Some of our guests will be students I have had, who have performed well during their Amazon interview.
Other guests will be current and former Amazon employees with whom we’ll discuss Amazon’s culture and we’ll talk about what to do and what not to do there. Or, you could tell me who our guests should be. They could be experts in topics I have not yet prepared, but topics that you want to know more about.
In general, we will evolve the podcast to keep it both useful and engaging for you. I am sure there will be missteps along the way, but I can assure you that my genuine intent is to offer you something you would look forward to listening, with each new episode coming out.
Alright, this covers Topic Five: “How our podcast will evolve in the future.” And, this also wraps up our second episode. We have covered a lot. We have covered five big, meaty topics. And I hope this has been informative for you.
Thanks for listening. You can find the full transcript of this episode on our website, https://amazonbound.today. Please, subscribe to our podcast and, if you have a second, please give us a rating and a review, wherever you get your podcasts.
See you next time.