Working with Jeff Bezos on the Kindle devices

Executive Collaboration · Hardware/Software · Design Direction

I joined Amazon as a Principal Product Designer in 2009 when the new Director of UX reached out to me for help. Being a huge fan of the Kindle, I jumped at the chance and immediately began working across products. This required regular face-to-face meetings with Jeff Bezos.

Initially, these meetings were stressful. The previous design leaders had adopted the habit of presenting options for Jeff to pick from. And the designers had creatively stagnated based on narrow subjective assumptions like, “Jeff hates icons.” I helped the team transition to a simple discussion format that transformed our outcomes.

We called it the four questions. In the lead-up to Jeff meetings, we would ask ourselves, "What do we need to know to unblock design and development for the next six weeks?". We carefully presented questions which would result in a clear decision from Jeff and an inflection point for product design. His answers would unlock our ability to move forward with more confidence and less friction within the organization. Our product teams were able to move faster with fewer conflicts, ultimately shipping features faster.

During my first year, I contributed to shipping three new Kindle devices—the first touch-based Kindle, the first Kindle Fire tablet, and an entry-level Kindle with a 5-way controller.

I worked on the Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire tablet, and Kindle 4th generation

Our team created the first design system for a Kindle device.