Tony Fadel: New Steve Jobs or New Larry Page?
In the past, he guided the creation of an iPod to Apple and was one of the potential candidates for the role of CEO. Now is the founder of Nest, who has recently sold his brainchild Google for $ 3.2 billion, attaching every effort to penetrate our houses with you.
In one of the last issues of the popular business magazine Fortune, an interesting article about Tony Fadel was published, in which he was talking about the path of his formation, the period of work in Apple, the care and foundation of the Nest’s own company, as well as further prospects in the light of the recent Nest transition under the wing Google, the role of Fadel himself and his career growth in a new place. As you know, Apple works in close collaboration with Nest, and stories about key figures working (workers) in our beloved apple company, have always been interested in our readers, so we decided to translate it for you.
At the end of 1991, the young entrepreneur named Tony Fadel is trying to convince Stewart Olsop, a journalist recently become an investor, to invest in his startup Fuse Systems. Before that, Fadell worked in General Magic, a young company in the field of mobile software, and then to Philips, creating a mobile products unit. However, neither General Magic nor PDA Philips had a lot of success. Therefore, Fadel decides on the launch of a new startup, in which he will be able to apply all his knowledge and accumulated experience. His eloquence left much to be desired and he simply told Olsop: "I know about mobile products more than anyone else. Give me money."Olsop refused him.
Long ten years passed before Fadel turned to investors again, but for this decade he learned a lot. Tony scored Fuse Systems and came to Apple to head the command created by iPod. It was a great achievement – iPod rejoiced Apple and changed the usual foundations of the music industry, and however, the Fadel himself changed, turning away from a poor starter in an experienced leader who could withstand Steve Jobs. In the Silicon Valley, Fadel is still known as the "Great Father" of the iPod, and there is one brilliant point in its service list – participation in the development of the original iPhone. After his departure from the Guideline from Apple in 2008, there were a lot of conversations of his further fate.
Instead of throwing from side to side, Fadel took a couple of years of vacation, which spent on traveling and building a country house. The latter had a fateful meaning. Faced with the problem of choosing a thermostat during the arrangement of the house, he decides to create its own, which will be the best of all existing at that time – this idea and went on the basis of its new company Nest Labs. Cash collection began in 2010 and this time was much better perceived by potential investors. In addition, Tony became more eloquent. Randy Compare, partner Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, remembers the black velvet, which the presented product was covered and says that Fadel could remove it only after an economic justification will be fully built.
For those who are interested in Apple, it is obvious that the chip with the baked velvet devices is a tribute to Steve Jobsu. The deceased CEO very often covered products on public presentations and even in its own conference room to create a larger excitement. Nevertheless, when Fadel crushed a velvet veil, showing the prototype of a round thermostat, the commission was distressed. "I could not imagine something worse than this," says. However, he revived after Fadel demonstrated the last slide "after the thermostat, we plan to do the same with all home appliances that you hate and make them magic". Comicer said: "Then I take it. Nest will be a Trojan horse, which will go to our homes. The check will be with you within 48 hours, Tony ".
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Today, Nest is a company that has only two devices in its product line: "smart" thermostat and the smoke detector based on it presented in 2013. At the same time, Fadel is a billionaire who sells Google’s business for $ 3.2 billion in January of this year. Nest is still aimed at selling more products for home and in Google has its own interest in it – so it will remain a Belm in the eye of Apple, eager for more introduction into the daily life of users and ComSat, its rival in business communications.
As for Fadel, he now takes a rather rare place in the Silicon Valley. The only follower of Jobs, who reached unprecedented heights after leaving Apple, he is a link between his [Jobs] conceived, but not embodied the concept of the "digital living room" and the new meme "Internet of things", the vision of the many casual appliances familiar to us, connected to the network. In addition, Fadell is an exception to Apple’s general rules, since he had the opportunity to develop as an extraordinary personality, unlike the rest of the team members.
Fadel continues to manage NEST as a quasine-dependent company with a rapidly increasing number of personnel (more than 460 employees), which are subject to CEO Google Larry Page. Olsop draws attention to the severity of events developing in the valley. Considering the fact that Nest is still in its infancy, Google pays 1 billion dollars for Nest and 2 billion for the Fadel himself. "I think it is reasonable," says Olsop. The commander who persuaded Fadel not to sell Nest adds: "I think Larry bought the embryo apple on the cheap".
The story of how Fadel in his 45 years, united all the accumulated experience to create something new and impressive, a very interesting example in the theory of entrepreneurship and career growth. He learned a lot in Steve Jobs, but the story with Nest shows that his success did not depend only on knowledge of the knowledge received from the mentor. It was rumored before his departure that he could lead the company as a new CEO. These rumors resumed when the silicon valley rarely began to wonder if Apple would buy Nest, in particular in order to return Fadel. He could return to the company, achieving such significant success beyond? Or he could become a follower of paging in Google? The answer largely depends on how successful Fadel will be in Nest, turning out well-established technologies in our homes.
The story of Fadel originates in Michigan, where he was born and where his family was repeatedly returned to travel throughout America because of the work of the head of the family. Senior Fadel was the director of sales of jeans in Levi Strauss and his son for his 15 years he studied in 12 schools. He challenged around the country as at a small age, and being already a high school student in Grosse Pointe South High School, where children from the Families of the Steering Elite of the Automotive Industry. The traditions of his family belonging to the Midwest were the same different as the places where he grew up. The roots of Mother of Fadel stretched from the working suburbs of Detroit, the town called the Polish city. His father grew up in a large Lebanese family in Toledo.
On the eve of Christmas, we had a Lebanese food, and for Christmas we ate Polish-our dishes, "says Fadel.
Tony is a born artisan, he has a bald and a powerful voice. He attributes this feature grandfather on the mother line, the inspector of the academic district in Michigan, who was a master for all his hands and helped with home repairs to all neighbors.
"He collected and folded every nut, bolt or wire," – remembers Fadel. "He had boxes from cigar topped with all sorts of either and we often mastered something together. Birdhouse, lawn mower and other similar things. He loved tools ".
Being a teenager, Fadel visited a programming circle in a summer school and craved the Apple II computer. Grandfather considered computers tools, putting them into one row with screwdrivers and saws, so he agreed to add the missing amount to the one that Copied Tony workers in the local country club so that he could buy a computer.
Love for computers and with tools could have an impact on the Padel career. In Michigan University, he studied computer engineering and there, in the dorm room, he invented and sold his first startup to create multimedia for children. In 1991, after graduating from the university, he moves to a silicon valley, where he tries to convince his bosses in General Magic to create a device operating on the innovative platform Magic Cap. He failed to do this and he refers to Philips, which turned out to be agreed and hiring them to create products based on Microsoft CE.
PDA Philips Velo and Nino had a certain success, but Padel in his experience knew what it was like to popularize the product without having support over, especially in sales and marketing. "Workers’ stores and Philips trading agents had a percentage of television sales," he says. When a few years later, Steve Jobs and John Rubinstein called him in Apple to work on a music player, Fadel already knew about all pitfalls. "I discussed it with Steve," he says. "I failed on the marketing line in Philips. I created good products, but we could not sell them. I knew that we needed support for senior officials ". Jobs’s answer was more than unequivocal, he said: "We will take for Sony".
Having started my career in Apple as an iPod team consultant in 2001, he quickly becomes a complete employment worker and earns a "combat" reputation in disputes with his boss Rubinstein, his potential opponent of cattle forstall, and often with Jobs himself.
Legend says that Jobs periodically dismissed Fadel. In fact, according to Fadel, he left himself. Once when key members from the iPod command were translated to work on other Apple projects, Fadell reported Jobs about his care. CEO asked him to stay, speaking to him that he reacts too acute for everything. "I told him that I was pretty. If you yourself can not stand up for yourself, no one will do for you, "says Padel (according to him, he refused at least twice, remaining with his opinion).
The relationship between Jobs and Fadel often changed from the "Relations of the Father and Son" to the "Relations of the Director of the School and Naughty Pupils".
"He thought I would ask too many questions," says Fadel. "I could continue to ask. What about this? What about that? And he would say: "Enough, pretty". It would disappoint him. But then I would ask questions and I would have to say myself: "Steve, leave me alone".
However, Fadel stand out in Apple not only with pribments with Jobs, and for the reason that he supported his former connections outside the company. He was associated with the authors of the startups, negotiated with investors, that is, interacting with various contacts with whom Jobs preferred to deal personally. He even started friendship with journalists, including with the New York Times veteran in the field of technology, John Markov, with whom they regularly chose on bike rugs, together with Randy Comicer from Kleiner.
The already stretched relationship with Jobs became even more difficult after Fadell began to meet with Daniel Lambert, who held the position of head of the HR-Department. During their first date organized by one of the general friends from the company’s employees, Fadell and Lambert sat and chatted in the Hall of Apple Headquarters. This date was blinded even more awkward when Jobs was passed by, puzzled by his senior leaders in clearly disturbed topics. Lambert came to Apple as a recruiter, which was one of the aspects of working with frames to which Jobs treated with great respect. "Dani was very important for Steve, who always thought about people," says Jerry Murdoch, Investor Nest and their friend. In 2008 Lambert and Fadel, who got married still in Apple, announced their care on the same day. Together with the children, they escaped to France, where they took the apartment in Paris.
Fadel speaks of his caring from the company as a retirement. He enjoyed a 18-month break, which was paid to him as Jobs Advisor, according to the contract with Apple. At that time, he was directly involved in the construction of his majestic home near the lake Tahoe and it was at that moment that the idea of creating a better thermostat was caught fire. Then he also realized that there are still many other home devices that he could do better and to him came to aware of the fact that this is a great idea for the company.
Returning to the Silicon Valley in 2009, he met for Lunch with his former trainee in Apple, Matt Rogers, who was still there, although he was already almost thirty. The faithful student of Fadel was ready for something new. "Stayed in the team Tony, after his care, was damn bad," says Rogers, who is already 31. Next year, after Fadel believed in California, Rogers leaves Apple and becomes a partner of Fadel in his secret startup with an office in the garage, not far from Stanford University.
Tested in his previous startups, Tony from the very beginning had a holistic idea of Nest and enlisted support for heavyweight consultants. For example, for marketing and sales, he attracted Bill Campbell from Intuit Inc., Apple Board of Directors, which was very well familiar with the possibilities of Fadel and whom was often invited as a management consultant throughout the Silicon Valley. Fadel had the opportunity to choose investors and in the first round he preferred Kleiner, refusing the services of Benchmark Capital. Google Ventures and other investors invested in Nest later.
"We were in such a delight that we would agree to give him tens of millions of dollars, even if he was engaged in winter tires or diapers," says David Crain from Google.
The fact that Fadel demonstrated investors at an early stage was a high-tech thermostat, in combination with a smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Standing 249 dollars Round ball was stuffed with all sorts of sensors and is equipped with Wi-Fi. The revolutionary aspect of all this was that the thermostat was trained: he remembered the habits of users, it could be controlled from the smartphone and he used many tricks to save electricity. The first launch of the product took place in 2011. The company does not disclose data on sales, but according to the authoritative source, Nest sold about a million thermostats. A newer version called Nest Protect, equipped with smoke and gas detectors, was based on a standard device and brought an update available to the owners of the previous version of the thermostat. For example, at the discharge of the battery, the device warned you in advance with a given human voice, instead of a nasty pilikanya among the night. Nevertheless, Nest has faced with the first failure in the same year, finding 440 thousand devices in which smoke detector could turn off. The company stopped for some time selling, having solved the problem by updating.
Fadel pondered what type of corporate ethics he would like to see in Nest and Lambert introduced him to the management consultant by Kit Yamasiti, who helped him in this, despite the fact that only a few months have passed since the company. "I was surprised by the fact that he asked me about things that were usually interested in more experienced leaders," says Yamasita. "Questions about leadership. About culture. About the spotlight. About the main features of the NEST and how to make it unique. We talked about his vision of rethinking the usual everyday things and their impact. He plans were dozens of products that could get the second life ".
Fadel and Rogers focused on finding and hiring top managers, especially paying attention to talented professionals from Apple. "Apple Big Company," said Rogers. "IPod was not a priority for the company after the departure of Tony and this business began to decline. Care of talented people to the side to create any other things, in fact, did not raise a lot of noise. ".
Another weapon at the disposal of the Fadel team was Lambert, who advised them in recruitment issues for high posts. As Fadel remembers, she just said: "I agree with him. I can handle it. I do not think that we can find the best person who is useful in the company of any level ". And this is not just supporting words for her husband. Lambert remained popular with the HR specialist, unless the company can convince it to return to work with full-time. Jack Dorsey, co-founder Twitter and CEO developing startup Square, recently crossed with Lambert at a social event and told her: "I heard you are not available now.".
Fadell and Rogers scored very experienced leaders in their team, who was strange to see in such a young company. For example, among the first, they hired Xig Hondso, a highly qualified expert on radio frequency spectra from Apple. They offered him the same position he held in Apple – technical product manager, despite the fact that there was no more product, not to mention the state of the engineers he had to lead. He brought its established links to Nest and confidence providers. Hondso said that usually young companies are fighting for meeting them, with NEST, everything was different – the suppliers themselves sought to work with the team from Apple, and top managers answered their calls.
"Even Ceo Texas Instruments came to our garage," says Honds.
The only thing that Nest’s founders did not seek to fully recreate, was an Apple culture. Nest has some unusual traditions that are not in Apple. For example, the summer interns in the company are called "chicks" (Nestlings). Employees are encouraged to express their point of view and they are free to communicate with their colleagues of any level, while in Apple your opinion is better to keep with you. Apple remains a very structured company, Nest, on the contrary, push it. "The situation here differs from Apple in that we all are under one roof," says Jose Kong, the former recruiter Apple, which occupies the same position in Nest. "We all work side by side".
But what really distinguishes Apple under the guidance of Jobs and Nest Fadel, this is a complete recognition of the leader. Fadel is very often immersed in the details of working moments, whether it is a report in a corporate blog or algorithms that control the thermostat sensors. He knows how the demanding boss, which is carefully prepared and requires the same from his subordinates. "I look at things from a technical point of view," he says. "I want to know all variables".
By the end of 2013, Nest begins to think about the involvement of large investments. The company became interested in two major firms who have made their name on investing in relatively successful Silicon Valley, Rizvi Traverse Management and DST, which appreciated the cost of Nest $ 3 billion. Having taking the opportunity, Google immediately proposes to buy it all through its venture fund.
Google also promises to allow Nest to act independently, staying independent business with Fadel and Rogers at the helm. However, instead of moving at the headquarters of the search giant in Mountain View, Nest decides to stay in Palo Alto. "I practically do not feel that we sold the company," says Rogers. "It’s not at all like a sale. We call it colleagues in the way to attract investment and get more opportunities ".
The desire to get not any, but significant funds and was the main reason why the company sold himself. "For several years, Google is ready to invest in Nest billions," says the commander, an investor from Kleiner Perkins. "I, as a venture capitalist, can offer only hundreds of millions".
Fadel and his colleagues do not apply to products that they are currently working on, but recently he mentioned home security, health and preservation of water resources, as possible areas of activity. Various fragments of available information confirm big NEST plans. Kong, the company’s chief recruiter says: "I had seven people in my submission to a transaction with Google. Six weeks later, under my beginning it was already thirty ". Regarding when to wait for the next novelty from Nest, Rogers hinted: "Like everyone, we love to receive electronics to Christmas".
Since Google has no large experts on the hardware part among high ranks, as soon as the transaction with Nest was announced, rumors were immediately raised about how high the career ladder could take off Fadel. At the moment, Fadel is not very much applied to his role in Google and shows restraint. He says that in his schedule is scheduled for one day to visit Google, highlighted for meetings with leaders of various levels, for the sake of achieving two goals: learn more about Google and find out how it can help Nest.
Insiders’ opinions converge on the fact that Fadel will receive a significant role in Google, especially considering the interest of the Internet giant in the field of hardware products. "If Tony goes to the mountain and becomes part of the management team, we will see a large surge of hardware perfection," says Bill Campbell, a former panel adviser to Google. "He is impatient. He wants everyone to work in his rhythm and with his scarpulosis ".
Fadel says he likes Google’s cultrura, especially in comparison with Apple. "I get email from Google employees from all over the world," he says. "Communications in Apple, on the contrary, were rigidly structured". As for a more significant role, he claims that now there is no time. "I’m just trying to establish connections with people".
Combining with an online giant that makes a profit from promoting advertising based on user information created some problems for Fadel. After the completion of the transaction with Nest, the signed documents showed a mention of a thermostat as a household item, on which advertising display is possible in the future. Fadel immediately made a statement, saying that Google did not have plans to use Nest thermostats to display advertising. "We said at the very beginning that there is no point in showing advertising on devices for which users have already paid their money," he says.
If there is one thing that gave Fadel, so this is what he never talked about Nest Jobs. During their communication, Jobs was interested in the secret startup of Fadel, who told him that he was relevant to energy saving (key commercial features of Nest thermostats, is the savings of electricity, due to the fact that the device knows when you do not need it). In the summer of 2011, when Fadell was ready to share his idea, the state of Jobs deteriorated significantly, the disease progressed and after a few weeks he died. "I would gladly show him my project, but he was not ready yet," he says. Whole, Jobs would be proud of Fadel. And probably he would have a lot of questions.