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As an electrical engineer at Amazon, I get to build Kindle and Fire devices that make the news! I work directly on the circuit board design and manufacturing for the latest ereaders and tablets. As an electrical engineering lead, I own the logic board design, layout, schematic, and work with our suppliers and factories to bring these products to reality. I also work closely with our device architecture and platform teams to select components and make design decisions for our next generation products.
The most rewarding work I do at Amazon is when we are solving the tough technical problems as a team. I get to spend time working closely with incredibly smart people in our labs, brainstorming, testing, and developing solutions to the complex problems we discover. At Amazon, you are an owner and people expect you to make decisions to keep our projects moving on schedule to deliver great products to our customers.
I am most proud of being the electrical engineering lead on Kindle Oasis, where I owned the main circuit board design for our most advanced reader to date. It was really cool to give an Oasis to one of my close friends, an avid Kindle reader, who was blown away by how thin and light we managed to make the design.
Outside of work, I enjoy my hobbies in amateur radio, climbing antenna towers, and enjoying the great outdoors!
System Engineer Lead
Hello, my name is Julie. I am a System Engineer Lead at Amazon Lab126. I work closely with the Engineering Program Manager and lead a cross functional team in designing hardware devices like Kindle e-readers. My role is to look at the entire system as a product and make sure that the hardware, software, and mechanical works well together and meets all of our functional, reliability and compliance requirements. As a lead, I need to be on top of all the issues and able to deep dive into any technical problem the project encounters, like ESD. Electrical Engineering Leads need to have a strong technical background and good understanding of Amazon's leadership principles. I enjoy working at Lab126 because I get to design and develop new and innovative products. We have great teamwork here - everyone works hard on a tight schedule to deliver high quality products.
Director, Connectivity Solutions Group
Narsi was on the small team that developed Amazon's first e-reader, and every story he tells about the experience seems like it should end with the words "... so it's an absolute miracle that Kindle exists at all." But Narsi doesn't talk that way or think that way, which may explain why he was able to find joy in solving daunting problem after daunting problem.
Narsi's job back in 2004 was to figure out how customers could download books wirelessly. At first, he thought Wi-Fi networks were the answer. But Amazon's founder and CEO had a different vision for Kindle. "Jeff Bezos turned to me and said, 'I don't want Wi-Fi. It's very hard to set it up, and it's not the right customer experience. I want to be able to go with a device anywhere, connect to the store, download a book, and be reading it in 60 seconds.'"
Wi-Fi would have been harder for customers and way easier for Narsi. The approach Jeff wanted would be almost magically easy for customers, but Narsi barely knew how to start making it happen. "I knew nothing about mobile wireless or cellular," he remembers. "I told my boss in a joking way, 'This might be the right time to fire me, because I don't think you have the right guy here.'"
His boss replied, "Don't worry. You'll figure it out."
Narsi not only figured it out, he enjoyed doing it. "People who like to solve deep problems tend to have fun," he says.
One deep problem involved finding a way to work with a major wireless provider to deliver on the vision of buying a book and starting to read it in 60 seconds - from anywhere. Two of the big cellular networks turned Narsi down. Another one was interested. "We wanted to ship a million Kindles," Narsi says. "We needed a million telephone numbers. Each device needs a unique telephone number because that's the only way the devices are maintained. The wireless company was like, 'Are you nuts? We don't even handle a million telephone numbers. What are you talking about? We'll give you a thousand.' We said, 'Then what happens to the 1,001st customer?'"
Narsi did some more digging and found a little known technology that the same company was using in another capacity. It completely solved the "what happens to the 1,001st customer?" problem, and Kindle ultimately became a reality.
For Narsi, the launch had extra meaning because of his father. "He's blind in one eye, and he has very limited vision in the other one. For him, it's very hard to read normal books. He needs big. With Kindle, he could increase the font size. It was exciting."
Narsi has gone on to work on getting Kindle to connect just as smoothly all around the world, and generally doing what he describes as "looking two-plus years out into technologies that could be meaningful in people's lives."
What he appreciates about working at Amazon is that "you're not going to be put in an ivory tower. We're looking at practical ways to make a meaningful impact to our customers. When you solve a problem, we'll find a forum for you to get it out there."
Director of Hardware Product Design
From a product design point of view, Amazon is a perfect storm of working on cool devices that have a strong brand presence and getting them in front of millions of customers.
Product design engineers at Lab126 are typically put on a challenging program and lead a specific subsystem to have a major impact on a product. The also work with cross-functional groups and get exposure to new technologies.
I think of product design engineers as the glue that holds together hardware teams and their requirements. The PD engineer sees the look that the ID team wants to create for a product, reaches out to suppliers, materials and process teams, and creates a CAD model to look at how to fit PCB hardware components. They work with the electrical engineering team to see if we can fit the electronics to the hardware feature set and work with operations to understand cost targets and the supply chain.
The mission of the team is all about pleasing the customer - we want the hardware to melt away and let the customer get immersed in the software. Working on the small details is very important for that experience. We also get to work on a diverse range of products, from Kindle e-readers to Echo devices. There is so much opportunity to learn.
Manager, Accessories Engineering Program Management
I am the manager of the Accessories Engineering Program Management team at Amazon Lab126. When I first came to Lab126, I had been retired from tech for six years, but I was excited about Amazon developing an e-reader and decided to join.
I like to say that devices are cool, but accessories are sexy and fun because they allow customers to personalize their devices. My team manages accessories across all of Amazon's devices, and the challenge for us is to deliver an exceptional customer experience for an appealing price point. When I look for EPM candidates, I look for people that can build trust and become a jack of all trades as they work with other teams and our contract manufacturers. As an accessories EPM, you may be running four different accessories at the same time. You are the voice of the product, and to have that level of responsibility to move something from concept to development cycle into production is a very exciting experience.
My favorite accessories project was developing a keyboard book cover to turn your Fire tablet into a mini laptop - it pushed our team to its limits because we tied soft goods to electronics that had to communicate to the device through Bluetooth.
Everyone has their own projects on my team, but we are cohesive and enjoy working together and supporting each other - that's important to me as a manager.
Senior Software Development Engineer
Hello, my name is Jamie Meyers, and I am a Senior Software Development Engineer - I joined Amazon in 2007 and have worked on several generations of Kindle e-readers. I then became a device software team lead for the Amazon Echo family of products.
I was passionate about helping shape Alexa's interactions, and worked on the messaging protocol between the device and server, laying out what would become the framework for the Alexa Voice Service today. I worked closely with our User eXperience designers to help detail how an Echo interacts with users. We continue making Alexa smarter by adding new features every single week, which is really unique for a device.
Amazon has provided me with a lot of unique opportunities to work on big technical problems, like figuring out a way to make making conversations with Alexa feel more natural. As a group, we all take ownership of the software and have a stake in it to move forward. A lot of our code reviews and design reviews aren't focused on the software itself, but instead focused on doing the right thing for the customer.
Most of the team reads feedback from our customers every single day. Having the customer's perspective really enables us to integrate feedback deeply into the product. It's going to become even more interesting as consumer electronics become more automated and embedded in the home.