It's that time of the year when the tech community of Amazon comes together to collaborate, engage, share ideas & best practices and discuss current technologically relevant topics. And from an Innovation fest to WaveTank Presentations to an Alexa Workshop – Day 1 of the 11th edition of the Amazon Tech Conference was buzzing with activity! Bikramjit Singh Walia, Director HR, set the tone for the event with his opening address. “A sizeable portion of Amazon’s tech population resides in India”, he said. And if you though only the techies prepped for this, Alexa was not behind. She too had prepped well for this event. Not just a chatty co-host to the event but Alexa also made a splash in the workshop that acted as a sundowner for day 1.

Mechanisms that drive innovation
Gavin Jewell, Director CCE, gave a riveting talk on the tenets at Amazon that enable innovation. "All innovations at Amazon focus on the customer and then we work backwards. It’s not about the company, profits or team goals. The focus is always the customer”, he said while talking about the mechanisms that drive innovation and giving examples from his 12 years at Amazon. A Panel discussion always brings varied opinions to the forefront. The much-awaited session had experienced Principal Engineers like Alok Govil, Venkataramanan Subramanian, Sanjeev Krishnan, Dick Hardt and Vijay Seshadri on the panel and Manmeet Dhody as the moderator. “How does scale impact us?” This set the ball rolling. The panelists discussed current technology trends when it comes to coping with growth. The audience too participated enthusiastically with questions on predicting traffic and how to introduce scaling and AWS at early stages at Amazon.

All innovations at Amazon focus on the customer and then we work backwards. It’s not about the company, profits or team goals. The focus is always the customer.
Gavin Jewell, Director CCE

Guiding principles
The ‘Follow the Leader’ energizer got the audience on their feet while the ‘Computer Vision’ case study saw them glued to their seats. “Invent and Simplify” seemed to be the guiding force for most Innovation fest participants. Aditya Paul and Sahil Maggu who are participating in the fest took inspiration from the Amazon tenet in coming up with original ideas and solutions. Over 250 entries were received, of which the top 16 were selected to be displayed at AmazONed 2018.

The WaveTank presentations were extremely innovative and engaging. Of the 300 submissions, only the top 10 made it to the final round where they got to present in front of a packed audience. Out of the box ideas and a flair for presenting brought life to the AmazONed stage during the WaveTank presentations.

Day one ended with everyone talking about Alexa after the much awaited workshop by Ankit Kala and Sohan Maheshwar. The tech conference this year is putting the spotlight on innovation so stay tuned for updates on the second day of the conference.