Ex-Amazon executive reveals Jeff Bezos' trick he now uses at his new company

Businessman Charlie Kindel, the "mastermind" behind Amazon's Alexa for Smart Home Devices, gushed about his former role within billionaire Jeff Bezos' tech company last week.

Kindel — who left Amazon in 2018 to serve as senior vice president of products at home automation company Control4 — said the Amazon founder and CEO taught him several valuable lessons throughout his nearly five years there. One exercise, in particular, he said he tried with his own workers.

“It’s fun for me to take what I’ve learned at Amazon and apply that," Kindel told CNBC on Sunday.

The former director of Alexa Smart Home explained that he now uses Bezos' famous pretend press release "trick" to help his team see the big picture when pitching new products.

The tactic, which has been referenced for years, involves a developer writing a hypothetical press release explaining their new update or feature before writing "a single line of code," Business Insider reported in 2015. Andy Jassy, who leads Amazon Web Services, explained the process at a research summit that year.

Jassy said the "working backward" method helps developers fully think their ideas through before they begin, according to the publication. If they struggle to put their vision on paper, then it may not be worth it, he added.

Kindel said his employees at Control4 have welcomed the various techniques that he's brought with him from Amazon, especially the press release one.

“It’s been really rewarding to see how eager people in my teams are to try these things and experiment with them,” he told CNBC.


In an August 2018 blog post announcing his move to Control4 — which will be acquired by SnapAV with a value of $680 million, Kindel said he was eager to challenge himself technologically.

"The team is amazing and I’m looking forward to learning how to get stuff done at a much smaller public company. I’m also intrigued and a little scared to be taking on such a broad portfolio of products. I’m known for building and shipping more singular products and platforms. In this role I’ll be responsible for dozens of products across multiple domains," he wrote at the time.

He also admitted in a separate post that the pace at Amazon had gotten to him and he "needed to catch his breath."

But he said he respects Bezos' worth ethic.

“I’ve heard Jeff Bezos say repeatedly, ‘A team can never spend too much time debating their tenets,’” Kindel added to CNBC. “My team at Control4 is probably tired of me repeating this mantra. If you can get a set of people aligned on tightly written, pithy guiding principles (tenets) early, all decision making down the road becomes far easier.”

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An analyst for Piper Jaffray recently predicted Amazon's total worth could reach a whopping $1.5 trillion in the next two years.

“We believe AMZN shares will reach $3,000 by sometime between mid-’21 and mid-’22 or within 24-36 months,” Michael Olson, a senior research analyst for Piper, said in an email to clients last week.