Ann Hiatt, who shared a now well-known anecdote about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at the time of his stepping down as CEO of the company, has a thriving consulting business of her own. The former assistant to top Silicon Valley executives, including Bezos and op Google/Alphabet executive Eric Schmidt, is a consultant, speaker, and author.
Drawing on her years of experience working with the industry's most renowned executives, Hiatt speaks around the world and shares business and leadership secrets via her blog, podcast, and new book, Bet On Yourself: Recognize, Own, and Implement Breakthrough Opportunities.
Ann Hiatt’s Amazon experience
Though it was years ago, Hiatt may be best known for having worked as Jeff Bezos's executive assistant from 2002 until 2005. In a CNBC Make It article, she shared details about the interview experience that resulted in her being hired at Amazon.
According to Hiatt, she had no experience working with a CEO and no computer science background, but applied to the position at Amazon anyway, figuring it would be good to explore her options. The interview process included multiple rounds and sometimes back-to-back daylong interviews with top leadership at Amazon. After a few months, she was asked to come for a final interview, not realizing she would meet with Bezos himself.
Hiatt explained the two questions Bezos asked her in that interview. The first was what he called a “brainteaser” and asked her to estimate the total number of glass panes in the city of Seattle. Together, Hiatt led the strategizing while Bezos did the calculations.
Hiatt wrote that she thought to herself, “He wants to see the way my mind works. He wants to see me break down a complicated problem into small, manageable steps.” After figuring out that problem, he also asked about her career goals.
According to Hiatt, she responded by describing her admiration for the ambition and passion of Amazon’s employees and that she wanted to be like them. “I knew the importance of being consistently outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to jump into an astronomical learning and growth curve.”
She was hired just after the interview and worked with Bezos until 2005. Hiatt has compared Jeff Bezos to a “puppy” that never gets tired, telling the media that he used to climb 14 flights of stairs to get to his Amazon office rather than take the elevator.
Ann Hiatt’s net worth and business today
Ann Hiatt's exact net worth isn't known. She has formed a consultant firm in which she helps “high performing CEOs obtain their ultimate dreams through strategic decision making.” Hiatt says she only works with up to five clients at a time in order to focus on their needs.
Hiatt published her book, Bet On Yourself: Recognize, Own, and Implement Breakthrough Opportunities in Oct. 2021. Her podcast, Bet On Yourself by Ann Hiatt, is in its third season.