Welcome to India...This is your second visit to India. Can you share your thoughts on the India business and how it is different from other marketplaces?

Deaf Associates in red vests take a selfie with John Felton on his visit to India
Deaf associates take a selfie with John Felton on his visit to India

I’ve had the pleasure of coming to India at least once a year since 2015. I love being in the country. It is such a dynamic place and I truly do believe I can feel the entrepreneurial spirit and optimism of the country. I tend to focus on how things are the same between countries. I think a mistake we often make is focusing on what is different and bridging out those differences instead of focusing on what is the same. It allows for better benchmarking and sharing of best practices.

The I Have Space program – an India innovation - has not just empowered our local ecosystems, but has also motivated many to become entrepreneurs. What were your first thoughts when you heard of this and has any particular story of empowerment stayed with you?
I love the I Have Space program. It is an “India First” innovation that I think will be successful in other parts of the world. Involving people who have excess time and capacity and who know the neighborhood has been a great way to grow and expand AMZL.

The customer obsession and focus on innovation and speed is so exciting that I really do enjoy coming to work each day.

You’ve been at Amazon over a decade now – do you remember your first day at work? And if yes, what would that be? (any anecdote) Did you ever think you would stay on this long?
I didn’t actually know who my boss was going to be and the role I was going to have until my first day. It was a great lesson in being able to handle the ambiguity and dynamic nature of Amazon. The big lesson for me was that it didn’t really matter because there are so many great roles at Amazon and great leaders to work with. I definitely never thought I would have been here 15 years when I started but I can’t think of a place that I would rather be. The customer obsession and focus on innovation and speed is so exciting that I really do enjoy coming to work each day.

John Felton  looks at some clothes stitched by women at the Community Centres.
John Felton looks at some clothes stitched by women at the Community Centres.

Since we are on tenure, what is your mantra to keep alive the Amazon culture across all locales, given that we are there in so many countries around the world?
We do need to keep very focused on our Leadership Principles and ensuring we are hiring and developing people who embrace them. We also need to make sure we are continually building mechanisms and auditing the business and people to ensure our leadership principles are thriving.

Finally, have you made time to visit India on a holiday? If yes, which place did you like the most? If no, what is on your wishlist?
I have not yet been to India on a holiday. I love a relaxing beach vacation, so I think Goa is probably my first stop on an Indian holiday.

Quick Takes:

• Your fav show on Prime: Jack Ryan. Amazing show!
• Your fav Indian food: Akhil Saxena invited me over to his family home recently and his wife made a chicken in a white yogurt sauce that was unbelievable. It was an amazing dish and overall an amazing meal.
• A book/film that has always stayed with you (why): Last night, I just finished reading the Forgotten 500. It was a great World War II history book about the Yugoslavian people protecting American soldiers and a rescue operation to get them out from behind enemy lines. I like feel good stories that have a little bit of action but end well.
• In your free time – you like to: I have three small children so most of my free time is spent with them and at their various activities. That means most weekends, I’m shuttling between baseball, soccer, volleyball and hockey games. Busy but super fun!