Category Archives: Career

Advising Rebel Space Technologies

I’m honored to announce that Rebel Space Technologies has asked me to join them as a Strategic and Technical Advisor. Satellites need to reliably and efficiently communicate with each other and ground stations in the face of severe spectrum congestion, celestial dynamics (these things and the Earth are always moving relative to each other), and changing mission profiles. Rebel’s first product is the Rebel Space Radio, which leverages software-defined radio (SDR) technology to allow RF …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

I’m Breaking into Space

I exited my last role recently and have been drafting my next chapter. I have decided to make my new mission Space; specifically getting humanity off Earth. Over the past months, I’ve focused on learning about the space industry’s state and meeting people working on cool stuff. I’m convinced there must be initiatives where someone with my experience and expertise is needed. I now need to figure out how to ensure folks with such need …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

Friday was my last day at Amazon

The goodbye mail to the Alexa Smart Home team explains it all pretty well: Date: Apr 27, 2018 3:03 PM Subject: Smart Home Org Update Team, With mixed emotions I share the news that Charlie Kindel has decided to leave Amazon. Charlie has accomplished many things in his time here, not the least of which is the founding and scaling of Alexa Smart Home. Alexa would not be the leader in Smart Home that it …Continue reading

Customer, Business, Technology, Organization (CBTO)

CBTO = Customer + Business + Technology + OrganizationContinue reading

Merit Badges – A Mental Model for Success

A long-time mentor of mine, Chris Phillips, taught me the Merit Badge mental model. This mental model has given me clarity and peace of mind over the years when navigating big career decisions. What’s the Merit Badge mental model for measuring success? The concept of a Merit Badge comes from the Boy Scouts. The idea being a scout can only earn a particular merit badge (actually a patch that gets sewn onto a vest) by …Continue reading

What it Means to Be Great Product Manager

A Tweetstorm of mine from earlier in the week: https://twitter.com/natbro/timelines/611337333711843330 Piling on a comment @natbro made about PMs: Besides customers, there are two groups of people involved in building tech products: Engineers and everyone else. Only the engineers actually produce anything for the customer. The job of everyone else, especially PMs is to generate clarity and commitment to a purpose so that the engineers can create magic. Bad PMs don’t get this and think the …Continue reading

Find Work That Does Not Feel Like Work

The first thing I ask people who are looking for a new job is “What work do you want to do in your ideal job?” It is interesting how few people answer this question. Almost everybody wants to answer different questions like “What do you want to work on?” or “What kind of work environment are you looking for?” They respond with answers like “I want to work on a small dynamic team with other …Continue reading

The Job Decision Matrix

Thinking clearly about what is important to you can be hard, but without clarity on what is important to you making a job, the decision is fraught with danger. As I have traveled along my personal career trajectory I created a tool that has helped me with this. I call it the Job Decision Matrix. The Job Decision Matrix will help identify what is actually important to you at this point in your career. Gaining …Continue reading

You are Thinking of Your Career Trajectory Wrong

Most people think about their career trajectory as being like a bell-curve or that of a cannon ball fired from a cannon. Something like this: For 99% of all successful people, this is completely the wrong way to think about it. For that other 1% (the Bill Gates & Mark Zuckerbergs of the world) it might work. For the rest of us, there’s a mental model that will help keep you sane, help you appreciate …Continue reading

After 21 Years: Goodbye Microsoft

Today I announced that after 21 years I am leaving Microsoft to build a new company. I’m not yet ready to disclose details about the new venture but I can say I will be staying in the Seattle area to build it. It has to do with sports, advertising, mobile, social-networking, and, of course, the cloud. I’m insanely excited to get started. Subscribe here or follow me on twitter if you want to hear more …Continue reading

Change the world or go home

I’ve been working at Microsoft a long time. Almost 17 years. My family and I have made huge sacrifices in our personal lives for Microsoft.  For the most part, I’ve been financially rewarded for those sacrifices. Financially, it’s been a good deal. However, when people ask me “Why? Why do you still work at Microsoft?” the answer is out of my mouth before they can even finish asking the question: “I can’t imagine anywhere else where I …Continue reading

Heros

Speaking of heros… This got me thinking about who my heros are. I actually have quite a few, and I think I can categorize them: Real Life My father. Duh. Geeks Jim Gray Ray Ozzie Anders Hieldberg Chris Guzak Leadership Bob Muglia Ronald Regan Abrhahm Lincoln