February 1, 2014

An interview with Tony Fadell

Tony Fadell (his Twitter) is the CEO and co-founder of Nest and he is also considered to be one of the creators of Apple's iPod. The goal of Nest is to take the unloved products in your home and make them simple and beautiful. This interview is from 2014. We have in the same series watched an interview with Matt Rogers, who is another co-founder of Nest.

Lessons learned
  • He's a little negative to Kickstarter because when you develop a physical product you don't make money until you have developed a third version of the product. This is a parallel to the company Tesla Motors that said they had to develop two more expensive electric cars, the Roadster and Model S, before they could develop a cheap electric car. You can't begin with the cheapest product because you need infrastructure and experience to lower the price. So you should use Kickstarter to prove that you have customers who want the product and then get an investment from someone else.
  • Outsourcing to China is not easy. When you develop a physical product you might realize you have to modify it when you have begun to manufacture it, and that process is complicated if you are in US and the factory is in China. Most manufacturers also want to manufacture a large amount of the product and not just a few hundreds of it.   
  • Saying "No" is more important than saying "Yes" if you want to focus.
  • The problem Nest is solving is that we are wasting energy. We don't need more power plants if we can eliminate this waste. 

More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews