OAKLAND, California – When Jeff Barr, a prominent executive at Amazon’s cloud computing division and a popular blogger for the company, celebrated his 60th birthday last year, Corey Quinn made a fuss. doubt for him: a music video mocking Amazon’s business.
“Jeff, can you write me a blog post coming out,” one Amazon animation manager sang to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”. “What we have built is a mystery to me. But it’s spacious and tailored and its console is a joke. But if it does ship, I can do a VP ”
After the release of the video, Mr. Quinn, who advised Amazon customers to help them reduce their cloud bill, has passionately tweaked the giant technology.
“The best days started for me knowing only that my planned stunts would lead to at least eight @awscloud internal meetings and a crisis plan.” he wrote on Twitter. “Today is such a day.”
The world of cloud computing is not known for its humor or unusual personalities. Quinn, 38, is an exception: an outspoken and outspoken person, a technology analyst, part internet troller and part watchdog. With a carefree style that mixes technical acumen and sharp witty witty, he publishes a weekly newsletter with 21,000 subscribers, records four podcasts per week, and creates YouTube videos full of subscribers. Interesting jokes for those in the cloud industry. He also maintains an extremely active Twitter feed.
Officially, Mr. Quinn calls himself a cloud economist, a designation he made when he started consulting in 2016. He thinks it’s less sad than cloud accounting.
He rarely leaves the opportunity to scrutinize, analyze, interpret, mock, and defend Amazon’s cloud unit – sometimes all at the same time. He works with major Amazon clients such as The Washington Post, Ticketmaster and Epic Games, which seek his advice on contract negotiations or best ways to reduce cloud computing costs.
Based in San Francisco, his consulting firm, Duckbill Group, employs 11 people and only works with Amazon Web Services clients – making his comments even more weighty in Amazon. It also gave him more time to become the company’s pest director.
“It is a hostile relationship. When he speaks, everyone there will listen, ”says Ana Visneski, a former Amazon employee who usually deals with Mr. Quinn as she manages the new product release process. “Though some people weren’t interested in being clumsy.”
Amazon Web Services, also known as AWS, is Amazon’s most profitable business, but it doesn’t get as much attention as the company’s retail business, though its impact could be massive. than. Computers in Amazon’s data center power the internet, including Netflix and Disney +, while businesses large and small depend on AWS infrastructure to maintain digital connectivity. .
“Everyone wants to talk about other aspects of the business that are easier to understand, but if we look at Amazon’s next 10 years, it’s clear that AWS will be the defining part of that story,” said Quinn. “
The growth of Amazon’s cloud business gave Quinn the opportunity to build a dedicated fan base. At the 2019 AWS conference in Las Vegas, a few dozen attendees approached him for selfies.
Amazon declined to comment for the article, and Barr did not comment. In response to a description of Mr. Quinn as a playful person in an industry with no humor, an Amazon spokesperson responded with a link to an interesting video about the AWS product launch and an icon. smiling face emotion.
Mr. Quinn went a detour to become a cloud influencer. In 2003, he dropped out of school at the University of Maine, where he studied computer science. He moved from a deadlock job to another before working at tech consulting firms and startups. In 2015, he was working at a financial technology startup when the investment company BlackRock acquired. He left that job a year later to start his own consulting firm.
“I’m really bad as an employee,” he said. “I have sharp elbows. I get bored easily and go into other people’s lanes ”.
After years of trying to understand his company’s AWS bill, a confusing service fee and storage and data transfer could span over 100 pages for multiple users, he decided that the companies Another may use his expertise.
“I can describe what I do in six words: I am fixing the awful AWS bill,” he said.
He also bets that more companies will start using AWS and use it more often. He’s right. Today, cloud computing is ranked as the third largest expense for many internet software companies, second only to salaries and office space.
To promote his consulting firm, which later changed its name to Duckbill Group, with an angry platypus as a mascot, Mr. Quinn started his newsletter, “Last Week on AWS” in 2017.
In 2018, he almost accepted a job in the AWS payments team, but the company asked him to sign a broad non-competitive clause that prevented him from leaving to work for any of the competitors. any of Amazon. In a blog post accompanied by a photo of a man with both middle fingers outstretched, Mr. Quinn called such terms “abusive” and assured that the company would not enforce them. false.
The problem reappeared last year when Amazon sued Brian Hall, the former vice president of marketing at AWS, claiming that he was violating a non-competitive clause by joining Google in a similar role.
“What’s the secret sauce he’s going to bring with him? Releasing a bunch of stuff with horrible names and then marketing them incredibly poorly to infrastructure engineers? “Mr. Quinn wrote at the time. Amazon agreed to settle the lawsuit a month later.”
Mr. Quinn is a “very helpful advocate” with key opinions at Amazon, says Mr. Hall.
“Someone like Corey helped introduce AWS to customers, sometimes in ways the company liked and sometimes in ways the company didn’t. That makes him a must-hear, ”Mr. Hall said.
Like many industry analysts, Mr. Quinn is also paid by companies he criticizes. AWS financed his newsletter and paid him for a consultation, but Mr. Quinn said Amazon never tried to curb what he said. Google says they have also paid him to get insight.
Quinn’s regular goal is to name AWS products without smell. After Amazon released a slew of new services in a key meticulously scheduled keynote at a developers conference in December, Mr. Quinn made his unfiltered offer.
“Look at these terrible service guys. Look at how horrible they are, ”he said. He called out a slide with the worst offenders: Lookout for Equipment; Trainium; View of elastic glue; SageMaker Data Wrangler; and Amazon Outposts, The Smaller Ones.
Mr. Quinn recently thrived with another music video parody AWS. Instead of a happy birthday message for an executive, he introduced Amazon’s seemingly endless computing capabilities.
“Don’t Stop Releasing,” a sunglasses-wearing platypus sang to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” song. “The data centers are on the rise, hiding somewhere in your town. Don’t stop publishing ”.
Mr. Quinn said that the companies valued in the market trillion are a fair game for his necessity, but he avoids jokes that harm individual employees or executives. . When he made a video parody of Mr. Barr, he checked with someone close to the Amazon CEO to make sure he didn’t go over any limits.
Quinn said he made an exception for Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, because “nobody likes him”.
An Oracle spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking comment on Ellison’s popularity.