Category Archives: Writing

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

Tenets

This post was inspired by a LinkedIn post by Dave Glick who was apparently the “Godfather of Tenets” at Amazon. Much of the content of this post is from notes I took in a class on Tenets at Amazon. I’ve subsequently used it to teach others how to be excellent at writing and using Tenets. Tenets are a few, carefully articulated guiding principles for a program or business area. They act as a guide for the team, …Continue reading

A FAQ About Frequently Asked Questions

A list of questions with answers written in English are a great way to drive clear thinking on all the stuff that surround the central idea presented in a narrative. This ‘stuff’ includes things like strategy, execution, technology, business, and resources.Continue reading

Tools to Achieve Clarity of Thought

This post inventories the tools I use from my toolbox to drive clear thinking in product development. I was inspired to write this based on a Twitter conversation: The more details you know, the better questions you can ask. The better questions you ask, the more everyone gets clarity of thought. Better clarity of thought leads to better decisions. By everyone. Essentially. — Charlie Kindel (@ckindel) March 30, 2018 Charlie’s Clarity of Thought Toolbox Write …Continue reading

Let Word Work For You

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I have to edit a document someone else has written and they’ve manually messed with the formatting. Microsoft Word has an incredibly flexible style system that makes creating docs that look great easy. It also makes easy for others editing the doc can keep things consistent. This isn’t to say Word’s style system is perfect. Far from it. Many of the same styling bugs that existed in …Continue reading

Clear Narratives Show Instead of Tell

This is yet-another-post on the topic of Amazon-style “six-page memos,” aka Narratives. This post focuses on the mantra: “Great narratives show, they don’t tell.” When writing things you believe to be facts, ask yourself: How do I know? How can I qualify it? Then, qualify it in your words. Tell (Bad): The BMW E28 M5 is a rare car. Show (Good): Of the 722,328 E28 5-series sedans BMW built between 1981 and 1987, only 2,191 …Continue reading

Be a Great Reader

When an organization has a culture where the written word is valued, being a great reader is just as important as being a great writer. Over time, I’ve tried to have a very high-bar for my own writing. I wrote a little about this in my post Details Matter. I’ve also learned the importance of being a great reader, and that’s the topic of this post. In the 2017 Amazon Shareholder letter Jeff Bezos wrote …Continue reading

Details Matter in Presenting Narratives

Narratives are written documents used to present clear thinking. Narratives enable readers to quickly understand the author’s ideas in order to drive robust conversations and decisive decision making. Details matter when it comes to printing narratives for others to read. Sloppy presentation of the written word detracts from content and shows the author lacks obsession about his or her customer (the reader). Authors must apply a very high standard for making it easy and pleasing …Continue reading