Is AWS trying to throttle back its growth?

by Robin Harris on Thursday, 22 October, 2015

I was hoping to go to this year’s Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference, as I did last year, but no joy. Not enough press passes to go around, I was told.

But then I learned that AWS limited press and analyst passes to fewer than 30, much to the disappointment of exhibitors, who love to get coverage at such big events. Why?

CES and NAB
Trade shows encourage legitimate press and analyst coverage because it extends the reach of the show and makes it more likely that more exhibitors and attendees will sign up for the following year. CES – which is one of the largest trade shows in the world – typically has hundreds of press from all over the world attend. Likewise with the NAB – National Association of Broadcasters – show, with its focus on professional content production.

So the AWS limitation is puzzling, not to mention foolish. AWS may be the biggest fish in the cloud pond today, but Microsoft knows a thing or two about marketing, is immensely more profitable, and has AWS in their sights. Google is also immensely profitable, but seems to be lost in a fog, but perhaps their new corporate structure will help fix that.

This is not the time to throttle back on press and analyst coverage.

The StorageMojo take
I suspect this decision was made by Andy Jassy, Amazon’s Sr. VP of AWS. Few PR people would willingly decline additional ink or pixels.

But why? It’s not as if the marginal cost of another 100 free attendees will send AWS into the red. Or that dealing with a room full of professional skeptics for an hour will derail the AWS master plan.

So maybe AWS has all the growth it can handle right now and doesn’t want more visibility. AWS may be less scalable than we’d like to believe.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Houle October 25, 2015 at 3:08 pm

I think Amazon is mad at the “mainstream media” at this time because of the New York Times articles alleging it is a horrible place to work. Amazon is a big company and if you go looking you will certainly find people who like their job and you will certainly find people who have a terrible boss or can tell other horror stories.

Whatever the truth of the situation is, once you go into the defensive “hate the media” mode you are following in the tracks of L. Ron Hubbard and others who have tried to control the information environment and failed. I think in the big picture Amazon just wants to push the media away right now.

John H October 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

I think it is more likely the re:Invent conference is less scalable than Amazon would like to believe. While I would agree that the 40 vs. 100 is pretty insignificant in a conference of 18000 people, this is just one of the issues with re:Invent. I attended the first 3 years and saw it grow from an accessible and collaborative technical conference into essentially an enormous moving crowd. At this point, I believe AWS the platform is way more scalable than AWS the communicator and marketer.

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