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Amazon exec Charlie Kindel says he’s leaving to take a serious break from ‘work’

Amazon is famous for its hard-charging work culture, and Charlie Kindel, an Amazon executive who helped shape the rise of Alexa, is ready to hit the pause button after a five-year stint with the company and three years with the team at work on the company’s smart home division. Writing on his personal blog earlier today, Kindel shared the memo that his colleagues received last week to explain his decision. In a nutshell, Kindel told them, he’s burnt: The pace of the past 5 years has finally gotten to me and I simply need to catch my breath. I’ve recently been joking with folks that “I used to get my adrenaline rush going heli-skiing. Now I just go into work.” I have a car restoration project that is two years behind schedule. My home automation system needs a complete revamp (it’s gotten a bit crusty since it was installed in 2001). I was originally just going to take a temporary leave, but I like the idea of having total freedom of thought to decide what’s next in my life. By making a clean break from Amazon all options (including coming back to Amazon) are still on the table. Kindel, who held a director level role at Amazon, said on his blog that his last day with the e-commerce juggernaut was Friday. Before joining Amazon, Kindel had held the role Microsoft Windows Phone general manager. He has also dabbled in the world of startups, including starting a company called FreeBusy whose tool used artificial intelligence to generate mileage logs using users’ cloud-based calendars. That outfit has more recently evolved to center around an AI scheduling assistant.

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Alexa will soon have a memory

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Amazon's Alexa was an amnesiac: it can't remember important long-term info, or even that you started talking to it a few moments ago. Soon, though, it'll be considerably less forgetful. Amazon's Ruhi Sarikaya ha...

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