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Here’s what the Times reporters who wrote “Inside Amazon” have to say about their story

Amazon Unveils Its First SmartphoneAmazon Unveils Its First Smartphone founder and CEO Jeff BezosPhotograph by David Ryder — Getty Images

Inside Amazon,” the New York Times article consolidating Amazon employees’ testimonies about the company’s “bruising workplace,” received a lot of attention to say the least. The Times reports that the original story garnered about 5,800 comments, not including the countless reactions on various other forums, which is the most a Times story has ever seen.

Employees have come out saying that the company desperately needs to make a change; others defended Amazon, saying that they don’t recognize the view that was portrayed and, to their knowledge, some of the claims simply weren’t true. One thing that everyone did seem to agree on was that Amazon demands excellence.

Jodi Kantor and David Streitfield, the reporters who wrote the original story, published a follow-up defending their report.

They found Amazon to be an intriguing subject because founder and CEO Jeff Bezos built the company’s management system completely from scratch just 20 years ago, and the leadership principles it’s built on pervade every aspect of the workplace — they “were invoked in meetings, guided hiring decisions and were even cited by employees at lunch breaks.”

Kantor and Streitfield recognize that not everyone agrees this relentless workplace is damaging (Bezos actually considered naming his business, and it’s this complexity that’s significant. There are obviously both strengths and weaknesses to how the company is managed. It provides employees with incredible opportunities that can’t be found in many other places, and a lot of them find it to be a great place to exercise their ambition. At the same time, a lot of them feel the pressures of excessive workloads and expectations that Amazon admits are “unreasonably high.”

They write that Amazon is “a harbinger of changes in the white-collar workplace, which is growing more efficient but also harsher.” If anything, their article started a discussion. Is a brutal workplace simply “the price of greatness” or can greatness be achieved under milder conditions?