Table of contents with links
This page is designed to make it easy to catch up on the novel that I started serializing on March 13, 2022 and is now complete on my Fiction home page. You can use the chapter title links to navigate directly to each chapter, and use the navigation at the top and bottom of each chapter to move through the novel. Thanks for reading.
Chapter 1: There’s That Guy in the Van Again
Christopher Dourado recently started a new job at Amazon1, but he tells his friend Dan (the primary narrator) that the level of surveillance there is starting to creep him out. Meanwhile, Dan’s brother, Keith, also works at Amazon, on the Human Dynamics team, which monitors employee behavior. Keith tells Dan that Christopher is starting to cause problems for his team.
Chapter 2: Why Should I Worry?
Our narrator Dan calls up his old friend Kate Stamper, who is Head of Strategy for Human Dynamics at Amazon, to get some perspective on what he’s hearing from Christopher and Keith. When he asks if they are surveilling employees at Amazon, she says “It’s not quite like that.”
Chapter 3: Maneater
We get to know Kate Stamper, the driving force behind the Human Dynamics program at Amazon. Dan narrates how he got to know Stamper, when she worked for him at a small company called Wizards of WBT.
Chapter 4: There Are No Vans on Mountain Tops
Dan checks back in with Christopher, who’s getting even more paranoid about the monitoring that goes on at work. They go out on a hike to Silver Mountain so they can speak freely—but it turns out that Christopher may not be able to escape the tracking.
Chapter 5: Keith Likes Numbers
We get some deep background on Keith, who has a real penchant for data collection and financial analysis, and learn of his excitement when he signed on with Amazon.
Chapter 6: Stamper’s Big Project, Part 1
Stamper’s ambitions around training and behavior change are supercharged when she develops an idea to improve the work at the company where she and Dan work. She puts in motion the ideas that she’ll ultimately take to Amazon.
Chapter 7: Let’s Call It Our War Room!
Stamper presses her team and her company to push harder and faster as they develop her ideas to revolutionize employee performance improvement, and Dan starts to wonder if she’s pushing too far.
Chapter 8: Why Can’t We Go Faster?
Stamper’s drive to create a perfect performance improvement system proves too ambitious for Wizards, even after they take on private equity money, so Stamper quits to find a mysterious new job.
Chapter 9: Screw You and Your Panopticon
Four years later, Dan catches up with Stamper and learns about the job she took (at Amazon) and of the new Human Dynamics team she is leading—a team that utilizes Amazon’s resources and data collection powers to transform the employee experience. Dan raises his worries about the system, but he doesn’t convince Stamper.
Chapter 10: It’s Just Data Analysis
Dan visits with Keith once he’s been at Amazon a while, but Keith refuses to reveal much about his work with the Human Dynamics team. We learn more about Keith’s complex motivations.
Stamper tells Dan about the new guy who has taken over at the top of Human Dynamics, Mitch Cascade, and she explains to Dan how their “tap” system is working. She also reveals that she worries they may be pushing things a little too far, confirming some of Dan’s suspicions.
Keith prepares his data analysis for a big meeting that Kate Stamper attends, prompting the first meeting between the two of them. Their conversation reveals just how sophisticated the Human Dynamics tap system has become … but Keith wonders how he can go about raising his concerns about the system without appearing disloyal.
Chapter 13: Way to Respond to that Tap Christopher!
Christopher’s a smart guy, but he keeps getting these darned taps interrupting his work—and he starts pushing back.
Chapter 14: Not All Data Is Good Data
Keith inserts a new kind of question into the Daily Pulse survey, raising the ire of Mitch Cascade, who sends Stamper off to find out why. She turns to Keith for answers …
Chapter 15: We’re Not Hiring Sheep
Keith shares the data he’s been gathering with Stamper, and it shows there are troubling signs of resistance to the HD system emerging. Stamper pushes for more—and learns that the resistance seems to be centered around her old friend Christopher Dourado.
Chapter 16: I Knew This Would Cause Trouble
Chapter 17: Stamper Takes an Override
Chapter 18: Cascade Reviews the Data
Chapter 19: Friction
Chapter 20: Verbal Override Requested
Chapter 21: Bury These Friction Reports!
Chapter 22: Swale Canyon Showdown
Chapter 23: Shut This Down!
Chapter 24: Party at Dan’s House
Chapter 25: Two-Way Door
It’s important for me to clarify that I’ve set this novel at Amazon because of its size and its familiarity to readers—and not because I worked there very briefly in 2021. While I use Amazon’s real “Leadership Principles” in the story, all other elements in the story related to Amazon are the product of my imagination.