Seattle J-Term: Amazon’s creativity in retailing & standing out from the crowd, by Shelby Pankratz

Posted on January 12th, 2017 by



First thing in the morning we set off for Amazon headquarters. We met our Seattle site-host, Kari Petrasek ’93 downtown, before hopping on a street car which sent us directly north to Amazon’s Houdini building. After checking in and watching one Amazonian after another start their work day with their dog in tow (I thought I was dreaming) we began our day learning about Amazon’s strategy for innovation. Amazon challenges their employees to think big and have the courage to offer up crazy new concepts. My greatest takeaway was  the realization that risk is very often necessary in positive change and without it you, and thus your organization cannot grow and excel. Throughout the day we had the opportunity to meet three successful Gusties who work at Amazon; Lucien Truong ‘03, Kristina Nordstrom ’93 and Andy Vu ’03. After five hours jam packed with networking, inquiring and absorbing new information we said our goodbyes and found the beautiful Starbucks Roastery where we ordered unusual, but tasty coffee. There was the nitrogen infused cold brew, the sparkling mint espresso and of course a signature coffee flight. The rest of our evening was free to find some food and relax in the Jacuzzi while we prepared for the next day ahead.

Kristina Nordstrom ’93, Kari Petrasek Merz ’99, and Lucien Truong ’02 sharing Amazon’s unique way of generating the Next Big Thing. We can’t tell you what it is, though: we all signed non-disclosure agreements!








Don’t ask how much caffeine is in those drinks. Almost illegal!


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