Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

GeekMBA360 header image 1 publishes How to get a job at A definitive Guide

By GeekMBA360

The Most Comprehensive Insider’s guide that helps you land a job at Amazon. Written by Former Amazon Hiring Manager who have helped hundreds of candidates land jobs at Amazon. No BS. Insightful. Candid. Direct. It simply works.

Amazon is #2 on the list of LinkedIn Top Companies 2017: Where the world wants to work now. It also ranked as one of the top five companies with the most difficult interviews. How can you beat the odds and land an offer at Amazon? What separates the successful candidates from the rejected ones?

We have identified five keys of successful Amazon interview , which will serve as the core framework for you to prepare for your Amazon Interview.

Behavior questions can make or break your chance to get an offer from Amazon. The soft questions are sometimes the most difficult questions to answer.

We break down each Amazon leadership principle and provide our interpretation with real world example. It guides you to prepare your own examples and stories to demonstrate your fit to Amazon culture that is critical to Amazon interview success.

How to prepare for phone interviews? What is the schedule and format of onsite interview? What is the role of bar raiser?

We provide you a comprehensive guide that leads you through the entire process of getting a job at Amazon, from finding Amazon job leads, to prepare for online screen and phone interviews, to ace the onsite interviews, to negotiate compensation, to deal with job title deflation, to relocate.

Do you know very few people at Amazon has base salary of more than $160K a year but Amazon offers a unique combination of sign-on bonus and stock vesting schedule to make up the difference? How should you negotiate your job offer?

We explain the structure of Amazon compensation package, and coach you how to negotiate .

Do you want specific advice on interviews for Software Development Engineer (SDE), Technical Program Manager (TPM), Vendor Manager, Operation Manager, Finance Manager, or MBA recruiting?

We have sections devoted to each of the above positions with specific tips and advice.

Check Out How to Get A Job At Amazon Now.

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If you want to get a job at Amazon you should read this

By GeekMBA360

Amazon is a controversial company to work for.

According to LinkedIn, it’s one of the top most desired companies to work for.

On the other hand, it also has the reputation for being a sweat shop and a difficult place to work. Not to mention one of its employees tried to jump off a building last holiday due to stress at work.

  • What is the inside scoops on amazon’s work culture and its leadership principles?
  • Should you still consider working for Amazon? Are you the right fit?
  • What does it take to nail the job interview and land an offer at amazon?
  • How should negotiate your salary, bonus and stocks?
  • How should you prepare for SDE, TPM, Vendor Manager, Finance Manager, Operation Manager and other jobs at Amazon?

After 8 years of successful track record of helping hundreds of people get jobs at Amazon, Andrew Franklin just published How To Get A Job At Amazon in the Amazon Kindle Store. As a former Amazon hiring manager, Andrew reveals the secrets of navigating the challenging interview process and landing a job at Amazon. Check it out now!

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Any success stories from applying Ray Dalio’s Principles?

By GeekMBA360

I have been reading Principles by Ray Dalio. In case you don’t know who Ray is, he is founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world.

Principles is a free book he published online. It’s essentially his life and professional philosophy. An expanded version of this book will be published later this year. But, you can find free copy of the PDF online.

I wonder if anyone has applied Ray’s Principles and find success. I like his approach, but I wonder how much of Ray’s success is because of his ability and his intelligence. He attributes his success to Principles. Is this really a framework that is teachable?

I’d love to hear any stories from readers who have found success from applying Ray Dalio’s Principles.

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Exercise for 30 minutes every day for 70 days in a row

By GeekMBA360

This Canadian woman is running a half marathon every day for 70 days in a row. That’s pretty intense and I’m not sure if it’s really healthy. But I admire her determination and persistence. I’m inspired to do something similar but in a much small scale.

Starting today I’ll exercise for 30 minutes every day for 70 days in a row. It’ll be any exercise. I might exercise for 45 minutes or even an hour, but I’ll make sure I’ll exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Knowing my not-so-regular workout routines, I think I’ll do one of the followings:

  • Shaun T’s Insanity workout. It’s an intense workout and sometimes I worry about the impact on my knee. Each Insanity workout is about 45 minutes – 1 hour. I might finish the whole program, or I can stop after the 30-minute mark.
  • 7-minute workout. I have the app installed on my phone. I will need to do 5 7-minute workout to cross the 30-minute threshold.
  • Playing 1-1 basketball with my kid in the weekend.

I’ll record my progress every single day on this blog. It’ll keep me accountable.

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Minimalist Checklist for Setting Up Self-Hosted WordPress Website

By GeekMBA360

I launched a new site a week ago. I’m familiar with WordPress and have installed, configured and launched multiple WordPress websites over the years. But, I still spent several hours to get everything right this time around.

To save you some time and pains, here is a checklist for setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog or website. These are the bare minimum steps required to set up a fully functional WordPress blog that is SEO friendly and is capable of capturing email addresses.

  1. Download latest version of WordPress files from WordPress.ORG download page

  2. Use a FTP client to upload the WordPress files to your web server. In my case, I have been a happy customer of for a long time. It’s not the cheapest but it’s one of the oldest and most reliable web hosting companies. (If you are looking for a new webhosting account, you can use my discount code at to get 20% off (discount code: pairref-J9ZGRJ4q).

  3. I use the Famous 5 Minute Installation instruction to install WordPress on my web host.

  4. Log into your new WordPress site as Admin. The first thing you should do is to change your Permalink to a SEO friendly format. I used “/%postname%/” but there are other options.  You want to do this before you start creating any new posts or pages. Otherwise, you’ll have to redirect your URLs later if you decide to change your Permalink format.

  5. Get a new Gmail account. You’ll use this Gmail account to access a number of Google tools.

  6. Use your newly created Gmail account to access Google Search Console. Enter the URL of your new WordPress website and click “Add a Property”. Follow the instruction to verify your ownership of the new site.

  7. Use your newly created Gmail account to access Google Analytics.

  8. To install Google Analytics pixel tracking on your website, install Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights.

  9. To generate a XML Sitemap for Google Search Console, install Google XML Sitemaps plugin.

  10. Because I made the mistake not to change the Permalink setting before I made my first post, I had to create 301 redirect for several posts and pages. I installed Redirection plugin. I also tried Simple 301 Redirect but it didn’t work correctly for my blog.

  11. I used Google’s PageSpeed tool, Pingdom Website Speed Test and GTmetrix. None of the tests is perfect and I take their results with a grain of salts. For example, I entered into PageSpeed search box. Amazon scored “64/100 poor” for mobile and “57/100 poor“ for desktop.

  12. My PageSpeed was low. There are a lot of technical details going into improving the performance. Fortunately, I found the W3 Total Cache which improved my site performance significantly.

  13. To capture email addresses, I installed MailChimp for WordPress plugin.

  14. I tried several free themes and ended up using the Basic Theme. At some point I probably will switch to a premium theme.


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Still searching for the best Android launcher

By GeekMBA360

I switched from iPhone to Android during 2015 holiday. I got a Samsung Notes 5.

I appreciate the openness of the Android operating system but I’m still struggling with the launcher app.

I like Google Now launcher. But, the icons on the homepage would disappear or get moved around when I accidentally touch the screen. To this day I couldn’t find a fix for the problem.

I tried ZenUI launcher. It is great but it crashed often. Before I installed ZenUI Launch, my phone rarely crashed. After I installed it, I had to restart my phone every 2-3 days. It’s that bad.

Android is a mature operating system. Why can’t we have a fully functional launcher app? iPhone never has this type of problems. It simply works.

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James Altucher’s epic podcast interview of Jon Morrow

By GeekMBA360

It was a rainy late afternoon. I was depressed and frustrated after a long day at work. I really need something to pick me up.

Right before I got into my car, I saw an Gmail alert that Altucher just published a new Podcast. It had the catchy title “Jon Morrow – Do you have a gun to your head”.

Out of curiosity, I turned on the Podcast app on my phone and started listening as I pulled out of the garage.

This is EXACTLY what I needed at the moment. Jon Morrow, who has been paralyzed from the neck down since birth, has created several multi-million dollar businesses in the past few years.

He is Anthony Robbins + Tim Ferris. I was in tears for several times during the Podcast:

  • Jon has an incredible mother. When doctor told her that Jon would have to fight for his life, she said that I would fight for him.
  • Jon’s Dad lost millions of dollars during the 2008 financial crisis and his mother lost her job as well. Jon moved to Mexico and made money from consulting and teaching online. He used his online income to buy a car for his Dad. They both cried when he bought him the car.
  • Jon had 10+ job offers after college but he couldn’t take any of them because he needed to keep his income below $700 per month to be eligible for Medicaid. He blogged for free for 40 hours per week, and his only asked was that someday he would ask for a favor. The returned favors eventually helped Jon jumpstart his business. What a great example of Power of Free!

Jon has to overcome so much. Compared to what he is going through, most of our challenges are trivial. No more self pity. No more excuses.

Jon is an inspiration. Jon is a reminder of the unstoppable human spirit. His web site is UnStoppable.Me. I highly recommended you to read Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face and How to Accomplish Big Things, Even When You Feel Small.

Back to work. I know I have no excuse. I have no self pity. I’m inspired. I’ll get to where I need to be. Thanks James Altucher and Jon Morrow for the epic interview.

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The most underrated skill

By GeekMBA360

A lot of people don’t have this skill. In fact, in a corporate environment, the higher you go, fewer people you’ll see have this skill.

Right now I’m dealing with a couple of senior executive colleagues who have essentially zero amount of this skill. It’s hard to get them to understand what is going on and change their mind. They have a lot of opinions based on gut feeling but not on facts. The problems is that they don’t know what the facts are, and they don’t try to gather the facts. This is because they lack this skill.

The skill is the listening skill. The ability to ask questions, let someone to finish their sentences and explain, and quietly process the information before talking again.

A couple months ago, I interviewed a candidate for a senior marketing executive position. She interrupted me multiple times “I got it.” while I didn’t even finish describing what I was going to say. That’s a huge red flag.

Listen more. Ask more questions. Have the humility.

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It is not about money

By GeekMBA360

It’s not about making more money. I have very little interest in material things. I live in a small house. I drive a Honda that is several years old. As long as there is a computer, an internet connection and a coffee shop nearby, I’ll be pretty happy.

However, I work really hard. I want to achieve financial independence. This is not because I want to have a lot of money so that I can retire or buy a lot of stuff. That’s not what I want.

I want to have control over what I do, what kind of people I work with, and where I live and work. It’s about freedom. It’s about having control over the most importance resource I have — my time, my mind and my body.

It’s impossible to achieve the above if I continue to work for a corporation.


This is about working for myself. This is about choose myself.

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Travel vs. Relocation

By GeekMBA360

This is a topic that has been in mind a lot lately.

I recently took a job with company that is based in Chicago. In fact, many companies are opening up offices in the Seattle to take advantage of the technology and E-commerce talents in this area.

Because of the time difference, I have been starting my day early. Last Friday I had a conference called started at 6 AM PST. This is not that big a problem now because kids don’t have school now. Once school starts, my morning will get really crazy.

I have also been traveling to Chicago quite a bit. I usually take the 8:30AM fights, and arrive in Chicago around 2:30PM. I’ll still get a couple hours of work in the office. Again, traveling is hard on the family.

I have been thinking about this a lot. Seattle is a tier-2 metropolitan area. It’s not New York, San Francisco, LA, or Chicago. There are fewer employers and fewer job opportunities. Yes there are a lot of tech jobs in Seattle for software developers. But, if you’re in leadership/managerial position, you’ll soon find that Seattle is a small place.

I have been wondering if I’m better to relocate to Chicago. I’ll be able to focus on the work. Family and kids will get the chance to live in another part of the country for a couple years. I don’t plan to to there forever, but a few years might be good for my career.

I have to admit the process of relocating make me feel stressful. But, will relocation be a better option than frequent travel (e.g. travel every other week to Chicago for Monday through Thursday)?

I don’t have an answer. Sometime, I wonder if it’s better to commit to an area, and focus on building and growing a small business so that I’ll be free from the relocation dilemma …

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