The mysterious group that authored the “Amazonian Manifesto” to urge changes in Amazon’s workplace culture has hired a marketing company to get the message out to employees on the Amazon campus.
The group, led by an anonymous person claiming to be an Amazon employee, told GeekWire that materials would be handed out on Amazon’s Seattle campus starting on Tuesday morning. But when we spoke to a woman handing out the cards, it turned out she was hired for the job and has nothing to do with Amazon or the manifesto group.
The woman was wearing regular street clothes, quietly handing out business cards and saying, “A gift from Amazon” to anyone who walked by. The cards had the Amazonian Manifesto logo, Twitter handle and web address. It also listed the seven alternative leadership principles the group has been lobbying for ever since it popped up in the wake of a widely read New York Times article that characterized Amazon as a “bruising” workplace.
GeekWire has not been able to confirm the group’s identity, or determine whether it is actually a group of Amazon employees trying to create change from within, as the Amazonian Manifesto blog posts have suggested.
The workers who received the cards didn’t appear to respond very strongly one way or another, most just glancing at the cards before walking on.
The woman handing out the flyers said she was hired by Seattle-based i2i Marketing, which in turn said it was hired by the manifesto group. James Devine, president of i2i Marketing, said he didn’t know the person who hired his company for the job and hadn’t even been told what material they would be passing out until the cards arrived a couple days ago. Devine said his client only communicated via email, and that was from a Gmail account, not an Amazon employee email address.
The distribution of the cards is the latest challenge to Amazon’s culture, both internally and externally. Many employees have come forward with their own stories since the New York Times article was published last month. Some have supported the newspaper’s characterization while others have disputed it.
The Amazonian Manifesto group, whether or not it’s made up of employees, seems intent on keeping the issue front and center. Devine said his company hasn’t been hired for any future jobs, but he has no idea what the group may have planned.