Amazon’s Dave Limp, And How Customer Feedback Drives Innovation

Amazon’s Dave Limp, And How Customer Feedback Drives Innovation
Photo by José Mandojana

Dave Limp

Vice president, Kindle,
Limp runs business operations for the Amazon Kindle and has overseen the development of the Fire and Fire HD devices, as well as the company’s fifth-generation Kindle e-reader, the Paperwhite.

The Listener

“Every day, when I wake up, I read customer feedback. Some days it’s hundreds of emails; others, it’s thousands. We get ideas from all of it.

The feedback leads to rapid iteration. The day after we shipped Fire there were at least five emails that said, ‘There are no parental controls on this device.’ Shame on me. I have kids. Over the course of the next month, we quickly put a fix in place–just a simple password in front of Wi-Fi access. Within three months, we added more settings: granular levels of in-app purchase controls and controls for individual categories like web browser or video library.

Some innovations require a long time to develop, so we also need to look beyond the horizon. Sticking with the parental controls example, we said, ‘Let’s not just fix the mistake. How do we invent the next level?’ FreeTime, the latest set of parental controls, was born out of an update meeting. Jeff [Bezos] started talking about how he hated playing traffic cop with his children, judging the amount of screen time they’d had. We got up on the whiteboards and started sketching.

By the next meeting, we had a working-backward version of FreeTime. Now, if I hand a Fire off to my kids, they can watch videos for 20 minutes a day, play apps for 10 minutes a day, and they can read for an unlimited time.”

Fast Talk: From Idea to Innovation:

Mark Payne, The Innovation Architect
Divya Gugnani, The Negotiator
Karen Hershenson, The Facilitator
Albert Lee, The Torchbearer
Smart Talk: Justin Rattner, Anindita Mukherjee, Mary Barra, George Hu