How an Amazonian will Answer the Question: “Why is the sky blue?”

Amazon reveres data; and data wins all wars, at Amazon.

Data matters more to win an argument than assumptions or the title of who’s making the argument. Amazonians tend to press on with an issue, until the truth (to the best extent possible) becomes evident. And data is the ultimate conduit to arrive at that truth.

Why is the sky blue?

For example, if I asked someone at Amazon, “Why is the sky blue,” I would likely get the following response: “The sky is blue because the air molecules scatter the blue spectrum of the sunlight, more than they scatter any other visible spectrum.” And if I have asked a true Amazonian, she will likely carry on explaining: “In addition, the air molecules scatter the blue spectrum of the sunlight more because the blue spectrum travels in shorter wavelengths than the red spectrum.” On and on, until she has exhausted the “Diffuse sky radiation” article on Wikipedia.

The Dentist game

Amazon usually does not accept a common premise as sufficient information. Not until the underlying data emerges. This is also known as the “dentist game.” It means to drill down with follow-up questions until you get to the atomic source of the issue. Like the dentist asks — “Does it hurt now? How about now? And now?” Until it hurts.

Similarly, in meetings, Amazon’s execs would often play the dentist game and ask the question ‘why?’ many consecutive times. I’ve seen this happen even if the exec agrees with the original premise. They would drill to test for Dive Deep and for conviction on the topic. Often they would drill to invite to be educated further.

The dentist game also helps when explaining complex topics in simple ways. Explaining complex issues simply, and then committing the explanation to paper, as a clear essay, is part of the Amazon culture.

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Entrepreneur. Immigrant. Ex-Amazon and Microsoft. ALAW.

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