Former Amazon executive uses Bezos’ mock press release trick at his smart home company

In his current leadership position, Kindel wrestles with his Amazon experience. He pushes employees to raise the bar and to understand the attention to detail required to create products people want and love, while also recognizing that there are conflicts and contradictions in the Amazon way, particularly with its leadership principles[8].

In a personal blog post[9] earlier this month, Kindel spelled out the challenges with Amazon’s attempt to both move fast to stay ahead of the market and, at the same time, follow Bezos’s insistence on focusing on the long term and where consumers will be years down the line.

Founder of Amazon as well as space company Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, speaks about the future of commercial space travel.

Brent Lewis | Denver Post | Getty Images

“On one hand, Bias for Action tells us to move quickly without perfect information; to take short-term risks,” he wrote in the post. “On the other hand, Think Big tells us to take a long-term view, cover all the bases, and consider audacious and unconventional ideas. In the moment, you as leaders will discover these are clearly at odds with each other. Great leaders practice testing this tension and build skills for navigating it.”

Kindel spoke with CNBC this week as Control4 was preparing to announce Smart Home OS 3[10], a major update to its existing operating system for home automation. The upgrade is designed to let people more easily make changes with their favorite internet-connected devices, whether that’s turning on certain lights or lowering the temperature in a room.

Kindel said the company wrote the future press release after his arrival in July, even though the project was already underway, adding that such focus helped give the team a clearer view of what it wanted and needed to deliver.

“The model the company had before was not incompatible with that,” he said.

Kindel’s process includes setting out on paper an “ambition date” for announcements, to get everyone working fast. This type of aspirational date is a must-have for press release mock-ups at Amazon, he said.

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