Category Archives: Leadership

No Starving Children? The Shocking Truth About Prioritization.

Prioritization means making decisions that focus energy and resources on a few things that are at the top of the list, and starving things that are lower in the list. The most important aspect of prioritization is the concept of starvation. In the context of prioritization, starvation refers to the lack of attention or resources given to tasks lower down on the priority list. By definition, as we allocate more resources to higher-priority tasks, lower-priority tasks …Continue reading

Don’t Sell Ideas – Debate Them

The practice of selling ideas in meetings can lead to misalignment and superficial agreement. When the focus is on persuasion rather than understanding, team members may agree without fully grasping the implications or having their concerns addressed. This superficial agreement will lead to problems down the line when the complexities of the idea come to light during implementation. If the presenter’s goal is to get buy-in for an idea, dissenting voices may be silenced or …Continue reading

How AI Will Keep Us Honest

I was a guest on the “Are We There Yet?” podcast. We dove deep into several topics close to my heart: The future of life on Earth, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, leadership, and more. Have a listen and let me know your reaction! Legendary technologist, product visionary, and leadership coach Tigger (Charlie) Kindel winds through the challenges and choices his team made during the early development of Amazon’s Alexa; where AI fits in the continuum …Continue reading

The Secret to Delivering Outsized Results

In 35+ years of building companies and organizations in multiple industries, I’ve concluded most leadership books are great examples of survivorship bias. I’ve learned a lot from many of these books. But none of them really clued me into the secret of what distinguishes teams that consistently deliver outsized results from teams that are just mediocre. So what’s the secret? Principles. Principled leaders have a set of strongly held beliefs in the how (vs the …Continue reading

Announcing Kindel Leadership Development

In 2020 started hosting my Free and Open Office Hours as a way to give back and meet more people in the space industry. As I became useful to those in the space industry and gained expertise in the space domain I discovered how fulfilling helping multiple companies with leadership development was. To that end, I have pivoted and made Kindel Leadership Development my primary focus. Hire me for Learn more and get started here: …Continue reading

Biases and Fallacies Lead to Smol Thinking

All human beings are prone to cognitive biases and fallacies that influence our thinking and decision-making processes. These biases and fallacies can be sneaky and hard to detect, but it’s important that we are aware of them and try to minimize their impact on our lives. By being mindful of our biases, we can expand our thinking and consider new perspectives and possibilities. One way to do this is by looking beyond our own planet …Continue reading

Engineer the Sh*t out of Errors – Everywhere

Errors. They’re everywhere, but they don’t have to spell disaster. In fact, they’re an opportunity for improvement, if you Engineer the Sh*it out of them. By everywhere, I mean in all functions of a company, not just product or operations. A hallmark of a world-class organization is a mechanism that treats errors as they should be: imperfections in the systems or processes, not personal failings. One of the most famous is Amazon’s Correction of Errors …Continue reading

Make the Routine, Routine – Blow up Dunbar’s Number

As fast-growing organizations approach Dumbar’s number, they either become forever mediocre or they adapt and become excellent at scaling (in addition to being excellent at delivering customer value). The key differentiator is making the routine, routine by implementing cadence-based mechanisms, which I call Routines.Continue reading

Breaking Down Innovation & Invention

A friend recently asked me if I had a Lexicon & Taxonomy for Innovation and Invention. While I do, I realized I’ve never written it down. Here’s my first stab; using the Customer, Business, Organization, and Technology (CBTO) mental model. What do you think? Lexicon: Taxonomy: This lexicon and taxonomy of innovation and invention provide a mental model for understanding and categorizing different types of innovative ideas and approaches. However, simply having innovative ideas is …Continue reading

Be A Volunteer

Once you get to the point in your career where you realize a) you’ll be just fine financially (because your resume kicks ass), b) your company doesn’t give a sh*t about you, and c) you know what the Right Thing to do is, act like a volunteer.Continue reading

Virtuous Cycles, Platforms, Flywheels, Snowballs, and Tidal Waves

I’m working on writing down my thoughts on space. I’ve learned a ton since deciding space would be my next mission. Some pretty clear thoughts are forming, and whenever that happens, I’ve trained myself to write, write, and write to really solidify things. Space is big. In fact, it is, literally, the largest domain. Given the vastness of the domain, I need to formulate a Taxonomy and Lexicon that resonates to gain clarity. I’m a …Continue reading

I’m Advising Carv Because It Improves My Skiing

Last Christmas (2019) my daughter gifted me Carv. I fell so in love with the product that I stalked the CEO and begged him to talk to me to see if I could help. I’ve been working with the company since December and last week he asked me to join Carv as a Strategic Advisor. Initially, I assumed Carv was a gimmick. The abbreviated 2019/20 ski season meant I only got 6 days using Carv, …Continue reading

From Servers, Phones, and Voice Assistants to Space…

Last week I joined my good friend  Den Delimarsky and his colleague Courtny Cotten hosted me on The Work Item podcast. “In this episode, we dive a bit deeper into Charlie’s approach to product ideation and design, discuss the importance of having a principled organization, and ask questions about his most recent adventure around space.” Czech it out here (I love that the transcript is available along with the audio): From Servers, Phones, and Voice Assistants to …Continue reading

Find the Crux by Debating Excellence

No, don’t debate excellence; become excellent at debating. “It is better to debate a decision without settling it than settling a decision without debating it.” – Joseph Joubert Vigorous debate is critical to clear thinking in an organization. Debates garner the full intelligence of an organization. For decisions of great import, rigorous debate depersonalizes the decision. People are predisposed to focus on symptoms or minutia. Arguing over extraneous details is inefficient and is often the …Continue reading

How to be a Secret Agent (of Change)

Great leaders don’t let changes happen to them. Instead, they become skilled at driving change. Leaders effective in driving change are known as agents of change or change agents. This post documents a tool called D x V x F > R that will enable you to become a great agent of change.Continue reading

Do Your Job – Don’t Use Placeholder Text

If you are a UX designer, Software Developer, or Product Manager, and you use placeholder text anywhere but where it’s impossible to know what the content will be (user supplied) then you are doing it wrong. And you are not doing your job. I learned this from @joebelfiore: Using placeholder text defers decision making. It’s a cop-out by the person using it and gives reviewers an excuse to also not debate what’s right. It’s far …Continue reading

Open Office Hours with Charlie

Last month I offered “office hours” to anyone who wanted to chat with me. It was an experiment to see a) if interesting people would reach out, b) if I could be useful to these people, and c) if I’d be exposed to domains where I could spend more of my time in the future. All three hypotheses have turned out true. Thank you to all of you who utilized this so far! I still …Continue reading

Interview with Authority Mag: Homes Of The Future

Jason Hartman recently interviewed me for Authority Magazine. Check it out. Homes Of The Future: “The Future Of Smart Homes” With Charlie Kindel of SnapAV Some quotes: One of the things that really motivates and drives me professionally and personally, is the idea of how technology can improve people’s lives in their homes… I realized then that I was doing it all wrong and that everybody around me was doing it wrong and that they …Continue reading

Broken Windows – Right Idea, Bad Analogy

It is well understood that no product is perfect and small issues will always exist. Without an ongoing mechanism to fix those issues, not only do they not get fixed, they pile up. Having a clear Lexicon and Taxonomy is critical to getting large numbers of people moving forward towards a vision. Having the lexicon be composed of terms that make logical sense, disambiguate, and are memorable is important. Over the years of building many …Continue reading

Mechanisms

Mechanisms are complete processes built around a tool, owned by a leader that gets adopted broadly and regularly inspected and improved to ensure things get done, not because everyone has good intentions, but because the mechanism’s elements structurally force the desired behavior. “Good intentions never work, you need good mechanisms to make anything happen.” — Jeff Bezos I’ve written previously about how Good Intentions are Never Enough and why mechanisms are needed, but I didn’t go deep into how to make mechanisms actually work. …Continue reading