Nick Block Printing Amazon India
Nicholas Denissen, Vice President, Marketplace New Businesses (Amazon) attempting his hand at block printing after he attended a round table with global sellers from India.

Welcome to India...this being your maiden visit, can you share your thoughts on the Amazon India business:
What I like about our India business, is that India has unique challenges and opportunities that push our thinking and require us to be flexible in our ways and dynamic in our approach. With India you have to take unconventional and creative approaches – for example Chai Kart where you on-boarded sellers over a cup of tea. This is something that has inspired us in our approach with Handmade. Especially in a country such as Mexico, where we the challenges are similar to those in India, where most people are on mobile and not PC. We also started signing up artisans at craft fairs in the US, something similar to what to you did during Amazon Tatkal. There is a lot of exciting innovation happening in India, that will not just benefit India.

“There are many customers who may systematically wait 6 months to a year, once a new phone comes out, and wait to buy a used one – that is ideally as good as new, but at the price of used. Here is where Amazon Renewed comes in.”

Tell us a little about Amazon Renewed in India:
It’s early days for Renewed in India, but we have a lot of customers here who are looking for exceptional value. There are many customers who will not buy a phone the minute it’s out for various reasons – their budgets being one of them.They may systematically wait 6 months to a year, once a new phone comes out, and wait to buy a used one – that is ideally as good as new, but at the price of used. Here is where Amazon Renewed comes in. We offer these customers a state-of-the-art device at a significant discount from new, and with a shopping experience they can trust. We have clear criteria on the quality, so that customers will know exactly what they are getting. And this does not just apply to mobile devices. We have seen customers have a similar need with kitchen and home appliances. Renewed currently covers 19 categories in India, whereas in the US we already have 30 categories. There is a customer segment that loves this value proposition, and we have mechanisms in place that will ensure that the Renewed products meet our high quality bar. Customers love these products. I could see the Renewed proposition being even bigger than in the US!

Which Leadership Principle is closest to your heart?
(Laughs) I have 3 sons and it’s like asking me who is my favorite. While I spend a lot time on Think Big – it’s front and center for me and my team – I would call out Learn and Be Curious. It goes hand in hand with Think Big. To Think Big we need to solve big problems, and without learning and being curious it’s very difficult to build great and innovative solutions.

Handmade Sellers Amazon India
Nicholas Denissen with some Indian artisans in Japiur, who are selling on Handmade in US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

You call yourself an e-commerce pilot. What are parallels between flying aircraft and running a business?
Flying like business can be risky, and risk needs to be actively managed. Rule 1 – aviate, navigate, communicate. Prioritize what is critical to drive desired results. Rule 2 – always leave yourself an “out”. For every plan, have a plan B and C. Rule 3 – Stay ahead of the airplane. Run the business, don’t let the business run you. Rule 4 – Take off is optional, landing is not. Only start what you will finish.

Do you miss aviation?
I wanted to be a pilot and ended up working for McDonnell Douglas, a company that designed and built aircraft . I then got into developing robotics systems for them and that took me off on a different path altogether, but I have always had a passion for flying. I went on to get my commercial pilots license. I have licensees in the US and in Europe. I fly as a hobby now.

What is your favorite TV series on Prime Video?
A the moment I am totally caught up in Jack Ryan. It’s accompanying me on my international travel to India.

What is your favorite gadget?
My smartphone!

Who is your favorite Indian sports star?
When I lived in Kenya growing up, I followed cricket. Kapil Dev was someone who impressed me.

What is your favorite Indian food?
I love Indian food – especially spicy food from southern India. Lamb vindaloo is one of my favorite dishes.

What is one task that has been forever pending?
I want to get my seaplane rating.

When you are not working, what do you do?
Living in Seattle, I enjoy spending time with my wife on the water, boating.

If you did not work at Amazon, what would you be doing?
Flying airplanes.