Work at Amazon

My name is Robert Casto and I have been writing software for over 25 years. Back in 2006 to 2008, I worked as a SDE II (Software Development Engineer 2) at Amazon.com. My responsibility was over the Gift Certificate Service which catered to Points.com and Coinstar. It handled the generation of gift certificate numbers that would be sent to these services who gave them to customers once purchased. The system worked great and the codes given were able to be used immediately.

I was part of the Product Advertising API team which back then was called ECS (eCommerce Services) which was responsible for the service that provided information to affiliates who were advertising products for sale on Amazon. The affiliate program had over 2 million users and we had over 800 servers to handle all the requests. The team had about 22 people working on this and other projects. I was always a busy time, and the people I worked with were excellent programmers. Some of them are still at Amazon today, though they are working on other projects.

I worked primarily with Perl and Java on systems handling millions of requests. I learned a great deal about designing a system to be performant, queueing requests, proper API design, and much more. I left due to personal reasons back to Ohio in 2008.

eCommerce Work

In Ohio I worked on the FrontGate.com and GrandinRoad.com websites which were owned by Cornerstone Brands.  I was the primary developer, actually the only developer, for the 2 sites which also had a team of 3 editors, SEO marketing, business analysts, and 2 very good graphic designers. While the sites were definitely smaller than what I had worked on at Amazon, it was nice to have a lot of flexibility to do various things.

Selling and Taxes

After a while, my wife decide to sell things on Amazon and eventually purchased a large number of books for resale. They sold very well and over time her sales grew, as did her experience with how Amazon works. She needed some doing taxes since Ohio has 88 counties and the state requires us to separate sales into each county. Doing this manually was a huge chore, and so I used my software skills to eliminate that work and generate a nice report that could be used to fill out the tax forms. Over time other tools were created so that she could deal with inventory, review sales, figure out profitability, research products for sale, and so forth. Her sales were growing as were the number of tools I was creating.

Other Sellers Asked To Use Tools

We were part of a seller group to learn and share information. They learned about some of the tools I had created and were interested in using them. I created a website that would let them create an account and have access to the tools. The requests kept coming in, and so I created more tools, added features, and started working on business reports, gathering sales tax data, and a host of other things. As the functionality expanded, I needed to spend more and more time on the software, and with a fulltime job working for an insurance company, it was becoming difficult to do both.

Full Time Making Tools

When sales and income reached a sustainable level, I quit my job and started working on my wife’s retail business and my software development fulltime. This was in August of 2011 and I have been doing this work ever since. It has been very rewarding working with business owners to help them integrate their systems with Amazon’s data. I’ve developed software to bridge tools such as Bright Pearl, VRP, BigCommerce, Shopify, and more with the data Amazon provides through MWS (Marketplace Web Services). The knowledge I have gained from my time in eCommerce and with Amazon has given me a unique skill set that I am able to use on behalf of my clients. I’m able to integrate and automate many processes and work with many systems to bridge the gap that exists with Amazon’s data. I look forward to working with you and your business to help it grow and work better in the complicated work that is the Amazon Marketplace.