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

Kindel also recognizes that he’s in a much different situation and has gone from one of the planet’s most recognized brands to a company that’s not well known.

Control4 was a small publicly-traded company until earlier this month, when it agreed to be acquired for $680 million[11] by rival SnapAV, whose majority shareholder is private equity firm Hellman & Friedman. Hellman has been on a tech buying spree, helping lead the $11 billion acquisition[12] of Ultimate Software this year, after snapping up Financial Engines in a $3 billion deal[13] last year.

Kindel declined to comment on the sale, which hasn’t closed yet.

Kindel was familiar with Control4’s technology before he took the job — his home in Bellevue, Washington, has more than 200 connected devices. Early last year, Kindel decided he was done managing them all and bought a system from Control4, whose products start at about $1,000 and cost more for larger homes featuring more devices.

Even before that, Kindel met Control4 CEO Martin Plaehn. Years ago Kindel’s Amazon team was trying to get Control4 to build an Alexa Smart Home skill that could enable voice control. After Kindel said he was leaving Amazon, Plaehn reached out with a job offer. Now he commutes every week from Washington to Control4’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bezos remains an influence on him, particularly when it comes to getting a group of employees to work toward a shared goal.

“I’ve heard Jeff Bezos say repeatedly, ‘A team can never spend too much time debating their tenets,'” Kindel wrote in an email. “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.”

WATCH: Amazon and Google are becoming omnipresent whether you like it or not[14]


  1. ^ Amazon (
  2. ^ future press releases (
  3. ^ Control4 (
  4. ^ Microsoft (
  5. ^ Jeff Bezos (
  6. ^ New York Times investigation (
  7. ^ a document (
  8. ^ leadership principles (
  9. ^ personal blog post (
  10. ^ Smart Home OS 3 (
  11. ^ $680 million (
  12. ^ $11 billion acquisition (
  13. ^ $3 billion deal (
  14. ^ Amazon and Google are becoming omnipresent whether you like it or not (
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