A software engineer walks into an Amazon warehouse ...

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Published Jun 11, 2022, 2:03 PM

Philip Su, a software engineering leader turned non-profit founder, decided to shake up his life last fall — seeking an antidote to his seasonal depression in a job with more structure and less pay than he had experienced in many years.

Su worked the peak season at Amazon's giant flagship warehouse south of Seattle, in Kent, Wash., known by the code name BFI4 inside the company. It was a life-changing and eye-opening experience, as Su documents in his 15-episode podcast series, Peak Salvation.

A former Microsoft software engineer who was the second employee at Facebook's Seattle engineering office, Su led the London engineering office for Facebook (now Meta), then founded and ran the global health software nonprofit Audere before adding Amazon warehouse worker to his LinkedIn profile.

A newcomer to the front lines of global fulfillment, Su readily acknowledges that there could very well be good reasons for some of the quirks that he perceived as dysfunctions. Not only that, but he was a short-term worker, with a tenure of less than two months. He’s no logistics expert.

However, he brought fresh eyes and an engineer’s mind to the e-commerce giant’s operational nerve center. So we asked Su what changes he would make, based on his experience and observations. 

With GeekWire's Todd Bishop; Audio editing by Curt Milton.

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