About the Scarlet Ink Newsletter

The Scarlet Ink newsletter educates both technology veterans and newcomers on how to grow their careers, build their leadership capabilities, and level up their interviewing skills. It is also a rare inside view into how senior leadership works at Big Tech.

About Dave

It is authored by Dave Anderson, who spent 12+ years at Amazon as a Technology Director and GM, was a tech leader at Meta, and was the first CTO of Bezos Academy.

Articles about me personally. I like family time, hiking, photography, raising chickens, writing (not just newsletters), and reading about everything. Media appearances are found here.

What type of content should I expect?

  1. The most well known “How to Interview at Amazon” article of all time.

  2. "I Was Under Leveled!" — Avoiding the Tragedy of Making Only $500k a Year

  3. A Day in the Life of a Senior Manager at Amazon

  4. Are You Behaving Like a Senior Engineer? Tips to Level Up.

  5. Are You Getting the Performance Ratings You Deserve?

  6. Why Twitter had 7500 Employees, and Startups Crush Big Companies.

  7. Navigating Career Bottlenecks in Management aka How to Progress to Middle Management

  8. Stack Ranking, Ratings, PIPs, and Performance Management – A Summary

  9. Hit the Ground Running - How to Ramp Up at Your New Job in 3 Weeks

  10. A Day in the Life of a Tech Director Being Promoted to General Manager

  11. A Couple Decades of Unlearning — Lessons on the Path to Director

What do Free and Paid subscribers get?

I write one article per week. Each article is somewhere in the thousands of words territory. I fight to keep them short enough, as I type quickly, and I can write a lot if I’m having fun.

I aim to give (around) half of each article to free subscribers. Tens of thousands of free subscribers have been happily reading for years now, and they repeatedly email me to say that the free content is great.

Paid subscribers have access to each article, as well as my entire archive (years of content).

Why should I pay to subscribe?

While at Amazon, I repeatedly met new employees who had read my articles (I was writing while at Amazon), and insisted that the only way they were able to pass the Amazon interview loop was by reading my writing.

Since Amazon, I’ve received many dozens of emails from Amazon employees, explaining that they were promoted, got a larger raise, or resolved issues with their managers due to what they read in my articles.

If you’re in the tech industry, a tiny improvement in your communication, interview skills, delegation, or interpersonal skills is easily worth tens of thousands. A single article could easily create enough value for your career to pay for 100 years of a newsletter subscription. I firmly believe that this newsletter (and others I recommend) are a steal at their current cost.

Many companies are also happy to let employees expense this type of newsletter as an educational expense (ask around!)

How do I get a receipt or invoice?

If you need a receipt or invoice for various purposes, go to settings (upper right), click on a newsletter, billing history. The 3 dots menu on that page has all the links you should need.

There is more information here.

I’d like to expense your newsletter.

Totally fair. I know many people do. The receipt/invoice information is above.

If you need some help convincing your manager, consider this template as a starting point!

What if I want a refund?

You can get a refund at any time (inside 30 days for annual subs). This means if you forgot to cancel your subscription, or you subscribed and you don’t like my sense of humor, or you got out of technology to become a llama farmer (that’d just be super cool) - just email me and ask for a refund.

I believe you can reply to any newsletter to contact me (I’ll verify that one), or email me at dave@scarletink.com.

I want to change my email address.

No problem! Take a look at this Substack help page with simple directions.

I want to get a group subscription.

No problem! Group subscriptions are available discounted here at this button:

Get 20% off a group subscription

What if I have a question, or comment, or ideas?

Always feel free to contact me directly via email at dave@scarletink.com

Why Scarlet Ink?

I loved Amazon’s document culture. I feel writing well = thinking well. Reading > verbal discussing.

When entering meetings, I’d have a red pen tucked into my pocket. They’d hand out documents, and I’d happily take notes in red pen. Red pen, because it was easier to see against the black and white document.

I decided on the domain of scarletink for my writing, as the redink domain was taken, and scarletink felt more literary.

Where do those photos come from?

My wife or I take all our photos. We love travel and photography. When I was looking for media to put into my first newsletters, I decided simply to share our personal photography.

There’s no pattern to what photos I use. Sometimes they’re from our most recent vacation. Other times, it’s just what I find when I’m wrapping up an article.

What about the names in your articles?

When I use names in my articles, I pull them from a random name generator on the internet. I used this method to avoid any unintentional bias regarding gender or ethnicity. Now I'm just borrowing some internet name generator bias instead. Funny right?

Are my quotes in my articles exact?

My quotes in articles are almost always best effort memories of an actual discussion or written conversation with someone. They're usually a bit abbreviated compared to the actual discussion because as you might imagine, actual discussions tend not to be brief.

I heard that you Scuba dive!

Holy smokes, you’re reading really far down on this page. But it’s true! I'm a Scuba instructor (OWSI). I have some fantastic memories of people doing stupid things underwater (both myself, and others). I swam with dolphins a couple of times now as well.

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Tech industry career and leadership advice from an ex-Amazon GM and Tech Director.


Author of scarletink.com Ex. GM and Tech Director at Amazon. Ex. Tech Leader at Meta. Ex. CTO at Bezos Academy.