Difference between PMs at FB, Google, Apple and Amazon?

I’m going through the process for Amazon, I think I might also try applying to the rest of the FAANG, but I’m curious about peoples’ experiences - is there a clear top contender for product jobs?

Would I have a significantly better/worse experience working for any of them or are they all basically the same?


They are all super different. Obviously, there is massive variability between teams, so I’ll speak in generalities.

Facebook and Amazon are most likely to land you on a team with poor WLB. Facebook will compensate you handsomely if you do impactful work. These two and Netflix have the most “get things done” mentality. People who enjoy working generally love Netflix or less political teams at Amazon.

Microsoft and Google are more laid back. Microsoft has the highest PM:Eng ratio, and their PM roles are sometimes product, sometimes program, and sometimes a mix. The scope of responsibility can be small due to the abundance of PMs. Google can be the opposite, with an extremely broad scope, but it’s also more of an engineering-driven culture. Amazon is business-driven.

Netflix hires you to fulfill a specific purpose. If you don’t find your next purpose by the time you complete the first, you will be fired - but you won’t be looked down on for it. That’s just how it is.

Apple? I mean have you ever met anyone who works at Apple? I’m thinking it doesn’t actually exist. (Seriously though, nobody talks about Apple culture, and I never got a clear picture from even friends who work there.)


Regarding PMs at Apple: I concur, they definitely don’t speak about the culture or even their work in general, in part because they are definitely more secretive. Friends who have PM’d at Netflix and Amazon are more vocal.

It is a good question to ask but I would encourage you to look even deeper.

The key litmus test here isn’t market capitalization but whether it is the ideal place for the PM to grow their career.

Second, the number of products that fail is exactly why they are trillion-dollar companies. They ship, learn from failures, and relaunch. Google tried Google+ but it didn’t work. They learned and launched Google photos that now has 1+bn users.

Third, PMs in FAANG have the autonomy to launch new products and in new markets. There is no corporate strategy or top-down mandates, which makes PMs just backlog groomers.

Fourth, the compensation is 2-3x the other companies. Why would someone work in an org where you’re paid less but have the same responsibilities. (Exclude well-being since you can’t put a price on that).

Having said that, I agree that there are other good companies that have a great PM culture and org for you to grow your career. Also, know that WLB in these orgs isn’t ideal.

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