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Interesting. At both Amazon and my current employers, engineers at that level have to be able to both talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk. No resting on laurels and being buried in the past.

Anecdotally, one of the distinguished engineers at my current place came from a similar role in Google. They left Google because they kept putting them and a number of other distinguished engineers on products and projects that would never see the light of day, or be turned in to an actual project.

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