"Working hard on tough problems is what will help you grow," says Udit Madan, "whether it's grow as a leader or grow as an individual. Amazon will help you do that."
By the time Udit came to Amazon ten years ago, he had studied hard in high school, earned a spot at the University of Texas, left his home in India, graduated with a degree in computer science and economics, and considered branching out even further by becoming an investment banker. "But when I got to Amazon, I was given opportunity after opportunity to take on more, and to be able to stretch myself," Udit remembers. "For every single leader I've worked for, it wasn't about how long I'd been here. It wasn't that I was 22 years old when I first got into management. None of that mattered. It was all about what I was capable of doing."
It wasn't about how long I'd been here. It wasn't that I was 22 years old when I first got into management. None of that mattered. It was all about what I was capable of doing.
At Amazon, Udit found "the two things that make me tick. The first is working with really smart people and learning all the time. The second is, I really like working on problems that aren't solvable in a day. They aren't solvable in a week. They're problems that you will probably never solve in your lifetime, but you will keep finding better and better solutions over time. Sometimes I fail. But no one has ever killed my appetite. It's expected that people will fail, or projects will fail, or initiatives will fail. The entire leadership team at all levels expects it. The biggest reason we have so many people who can innovate is because we take risks all the time, and we know we are taking risks."
Encouraging smart people to take smart risks also yields some big successes. Udit led the way on one of those big successes when his team took up the challenge of reinventing most of the fulfillment process—everything about how we get products off of fulfillment center shelves and into boxes on their way to the customers who have bought them. Udit led the team who integrated the revolutionary possibilities of robotics into the fulfillment centers, to make everything work more smoothly and efficiently.
"Changing what we had done at our core, to rip it out completely and bring in something new, it was an incredible challenge from a technology and process perspective. To get it all to line up in a short amount of time took a lot of hard work, a lot of smart people."
The process they created launched in eight fulfillment centers over just a year’s time.
"Yeah," says Udit, "it's been a fun ride."