Today’s episode is a recording of a virtual fireside chat with Tony Fadell—iPod inventor, iPhone co-inventor, Nest founder, and now New York Times best-selling author of “Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making”. It is hosted by GGV’s managing partners Jeff Richards and Hans Tung.
Jeff Richards: 01:16
Well, we got some folks joining. It’s a little early on the West Coast, as you know, not a lot of Silicon Valley meeting started at 8 am. But we do have folks who are going to join from all over the world and may see what time it is. It’s a little bit after eight Yeah, we’re getting up to 8:05. So maybe we can jump in, Tony. And then we’ll have folks join as we as we roll along. We’re also going to record this and share this with folks. So I think you know, our founders and entrepreneurs and one of the things I loved about the book is, yeah, it was a lot, a lot of books written by very successful people are a little bit of a victory lap. So much of your book is about how hard it was at General Magic and all the different gyrations you went through to figure out Nest. And so I, I deeply appreciate that, because I’ve read a few books where I’m like, dude, all you did was talk about the good parts, you got to you know, so I applaud that. But you’ve been a great supporter of GGV. And a great friend of GGV. And somebody you know, you’ve done a lot with Jenny, throughout Asia and known Hans forever. And so we thought it’d be fun. Everybody who is on this zoom has a copy of the book. I imagine some folks are just starting to read it. As I was mentioning earlier, it’s to me, it’s a must-read for anybody who’s a founder or you know, trying to build a career, particularly in tech. So thank you for taking the time shirt didn’t How long did it take you to write by the way?
Tony Fadell: 02:37
So it was start to finish it was two years start to finish. But it really was about 18 months of real intense work, it took nine months to figure out the format, because as you know, it’s not a conventional formatted book. So just to work out those details to go six, nine months to iterations it
Hans Tung 02:54
It was worth it. It was great. Yeah, it’s great.
Jeff Richards 02:56
Ya know, and as you know, everybody on this zoom, who is starting a company running a company and executive company. They feel all the ups and downs that you talked about in the book, and we thought it’d be really fun for people to hear it live from you. So thanks for your partnership. And thanks for sharing all your words of wisdom with the folks on this zoom. It means a lot. And Hans, maybe you can talk a little about our history with Tony.
Hans Tung 03:19
Sure, I guess. Jenny met you in 2013. And then, shortly after she and I went to visit you at Nest, and then begins our journey with you, you have co-invested with us several times. And you have come to our annual meeting in Beijing and other places. It’s just wonderful to have a chance to partner with you and have our founders get your words of wisdom. And I remember hosting you for our next billion podcasts a couple of years ago. And that was a lot of fun, as well. And that you mentioned that your book as well about you know, yes, you want work-life balance, but at a certain point in career, you also need to figure out what is really what are you passionate about and drill in. And like Jeff mentioned, in the book, you have a different format. And the format is, here are all the things I’ve learned and how things have failed. But here’s what had led me to something interesting and wonderful and nothing comes easily. You got to pay the price. You gotta know when you want to be all in. You can’t do that every single day, but you got to choose. There’s a judgment that matters. So my question to you is that a lot of people read a book about a specific framework that works or something that they did was amazing. But there’s no other mentioned what it took to get there. And for you to do something interesting with iPod and the iPhone is for 10 years before that twice so many different things to make it work and that’s not obvious to people in the book is set up very well. Can you share that with the audience? How did you know that you should keep on doing that even when the rest of the Silicon Valley was doing apps and you still want to do something with hardware?
Tony Fadell 04:59
Well Uh, so for me, you know, I don’t go with what is the fashion, right? I don’t invest with what is fashionable, because if it’s fashionable, it’s already priced up, everyone else is already going there. So it’s already, like, if you’re going to do something new, it’s got to be new. And it means a lot of people aren’t going to know what it is. Right? And so for me, I always wanted to be on that new area, because that’s where innovation is happening, right? Because if not everyone’s doing, there might be a few really smart people working on it in different areas. But at the end of the day, it’s not like a mass movement, you know, you create the mass movement. And so for me, I knew that those devices needed to exist in some form or some fashion. And that, yes, sure, the internet popped up. And everything was about internet websites, and you know, content, and then ultimately e-tail, and stuff like that. But my passion was that I saw the future General Magic. And it was like that has to happen. So how do we keep working on that? Even if it’s not the most popular thing, rethink about the technology that’s available? As opposed to we dream that technology was available? General Magic, we showed that? Well, no, it wasn’t ready yet. So what can we do in the context of the greater vision, but harness today’s technology to keep moving on. It was really that I knew it should exist. And that I understood why we failed or understood enough, and then kept modulating off of that, to then get to the trajectory as on but I didn’t want to just run to go to some other thing that I didn’t know anything about. Because I wasn’t really as passionate about it. So I just followed my passions where I thought there were pain, and just continued that way, as opposed to chasing the dollar or chasing the trend of the week or whatever. And then ultimately, if you’re doing the right thing, everybody catches up to you. And you’re the leader or the thought leader in that space because you’ve been working on it seven, eight years, right? So think about like quantum computing, okay, people are on quantum computing. Well, that’s been a while now. And it’s going to keep going. And sooner or later, it’s going to become really massive, and everyone’s going to jump in. But right now, it’s still that early-stage stuff. So that to me is like okay, that technology is not exactly right. But it is does has to happen, right. So when is the right time, and you just stick with it. Now, some people are chasing the money really fast. And as investors, you have to worry about your LPs and the returns. And so you have to follow some trends on certain things. But as an individual, you can go and learn about something and work on it early enough that you can stick with it, and then see it as it develops and be an entrepreneur when it’s ready to go and learn from others in the space and really be the thought leaders around that. So when it does come time, when it is inevitable, right? Just like climate change, I’ve been investing in climate change for 10 years, nobody cared, everybody cared about it 2006, 2007 then 2008 happened, it was crickets. When I started kept investing in 2010, all the way through until literally just right during COVID and nobody cared now everybody cares. And why? Because I knew it had to it sooner or later mentality said it was an inevitable thing. And now all of a sudden, companies are calling me, VCs are calling me and going, what do you got in the portfolio? How can you help us and so now all of a sudden, you’re a thought leader, but no one cared for the longest time. So it is lonely being an inventor, especially on things that are not trendy. But that’s okay, because you’re if you’re doing it for the right reasons, and you’re on the right track, more or less, because the real smart people in industry are working on it still, then you just have to bide your time and do the best you can and then all of a sudden you are that at the pinnacle of that field. And it’s you know; nobody can catch up with you because you’ve built that network and everything else around it. So it’s called investment, right? It’s it means investing your own time in something you really believe in and don’t get to turn from that.
Hans Tung 08:51
We try to give some advice to our younger professionals, whether it’s the founders or executives or investors, but everyone went to a top school and went in and got a great first job afterschool and their resume looks amazing. So all they want to know most is How can I succeed what’s cool what’s hot what’s going to be next trend? I’m gonna do that very well, because everything in my life up to this point. I’ve done what’s hard whatever thought was the right thing to do and then nailed so tough because they
Tony Fadell 09:20
There’s a formula, okay? If I go to this school, because everybody says that’s the school to go to Stanford, MIT, you name it, right? You pick the NTU whatever you want to pick. So okay, so I could do that. And I follow this path. But at the end of the day, when it comes time for life, there is no script, and you can follow the trends. But that’s not to me, like I said, the trends you’re already getting past it. What I always find is, what am I curious about? what do I want to learn? And that’s how I hire people too. I want to know what are you curious about and what do you want to learn. Now what do you want to do not what there’s obviously do and value you can add, but I will I just care about is what you’re curious about and what you’re learning or what you’re doing outside of your normal day to day, what is that thing? That’s really impassioned to you. You’re passionate about. And so I care about that. And that’s how you should think about your career. Because that’s what’s going to drive you at the end of the day when there is a failure when there are these things, because it’s just the process of learning. If you’re, if you’re always into the next trend, and you’re looking to get the money, and the money doesn’t happen, then you just hop to another training, and it’s never fulfilling. It’s not fulfilling some deep desire to learn something. Right? And so you have to start from the curiosity side and the learning side. I always Zig while they’re people Zack, right? It’s not everybody’s there, but if enough smart people are over there, then I think I’m going at the right path, Even though everybody’s over here. So that’s the way you have to think about your career.
Jeff Richards 10:58
Yeah, Tony, I mentioned earlier, one of the things I loved about the book is you cover so much beyond, you know, everybody thinks of you as this incredible success story with Nest. But you cover so much and wind back the clock all the way to the early days of your career. And it reminds me, you know, we have a lot of founders on this call, who are running companies for 6,7,8,9 years before anybody really notices and starts to give them credit in the media and venture capital and all these other things. And we always joke about the overnight success stories, you know, these big outcomes that take 20 years to build.
Tony Fadell 11:30
It takes years to build an overnight success.
Jeff Richards 11:33
Yeah, exactly. Can you just talk about I love the fact that you took the time you mentioned it took you 18 months to write the book, you took the time to go back and analyze the move that you made early in your career, the mistakes that you made, that then led you to all the success that and the founding of Nest, maybe just a couple of thoughts you’d share with folks on this call, all of whom, by the way, everybody who’s on the Zoom, you know, we went through an era in 2021, where people sort of thought we were going to have truly overnight success stories, raise tons of money, generate a big outcome and move on with your life. And it’s just not really how things work. It’s a long game in Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship. Can you just share a few thoughts, sir?
Tony Fadell 12:09
Well, first, let’s just let’s be clear. Most successful entrepreneurs aren’t successful until they’re in their mid to late 30s. That’s when it you can see kind of the Gaussian distribution of success. And it really skews between 35 and 45. That’s where you see, really, and that means it was all of that investment in that time, building up your knowledge, your expertise, building up your networks of people to help you, building up those trust networks, who will believe in you and bet on you. It’s all of that investment, that then you then call in those chips, so to speak, right? And say, I need your help now. And people have watched you and they see this and I go, Yeah, that’s a good person. And yeah, I believe in them. And they’ve done a great job for all these years, even when there are all the ups and downs, right? You really know people when it’s down, not when it’s up. So you have to make sure you understand that these are relationship-building exercises, you’re building yourself, you’re learning all the way. And those are all the investments you’re making to actually do something on the entrepreneurial track. I’m not saying you’re not going to be successful when you’re younger. But what the media loves to do is they love to blow out the things like oh, they were a 20, something dropout. Sure, but that’s lightning strikes, too. But that’s very, very rare. And we can look at your all the investment done. And you can see where the, you know where that curve is, and it is there. And there, it’s there for a reason, not just because older people are wiser, it’s because they’ve learned so much along the way. And they and importantly, built the networks, right? 50% of your success is what you know, the other one is who you know, so you can leverage and you get over the ego problems of asking people for help. Right? You got to ask people for help. A lot of times, I don’t want to be seen, you know, impostor syndrome, I don’t want to be seen as not knowing so I can have to know everything and do it all myself. And I can’t talk to a board and ask them for help. And because then I’m not I’m not a real executive, I’m projecting something. I’m faking it till I make it, you know what I mean? So it’s having that inner confidence to know that you can tap that network in X and have mentors or coaches around you that can do that. So it’s all of those things necessary to do it and understand that failure if you’re in the right environment, is the way you learn because if you’re innovating, there are no experts. If you’re truly innovating. There are no experts in what you’re trying to do. And so therefore, you can’t call in experts to help you because people have expertise. But what you’re trying to do and building something no one knew in different. You need to pull all this expertise together to then go out and figure out what you’re building. And yes, you’re not going to get it right the first time and you’re going to take iterations and that’s okay. But you can’t. You have to understand you’re going to embrace failure. You’re going to have pivots, you’re gonna have adjustments along the way and maybe that first venture or the second venture doesn’t pan out but that doesn’t mean you should stop. You can only define failure when you fail, and you stop. If you fail, and you continue that’s called learning.
Hans Tung 15:05
Love that. Another point of book that was fascinating to me is that because you’re so willing to figure out a way to build a device that’s cool was useful for a lot of people, you’re willing to go to a Philips go to a corporate site, massive companies, and then that’s, you know, antithesis of Silicon Valley to do it. You’re willing to do it goes everything against who you were, at that point in time about the four years that’s General Magic. Given your own personality, your own style, you probably do, it’s not going to be a great fit. But you did it anyway.
Tony Fadell 15:43
Because, it’s a very different funding environment. 1994, 1995, for hardware and consumer electronics and how you went to retail, nobody wants to find was funding that, right. So if I wanted to build it, and I wanted to prove to myself, I could build it, I had to take those kinds of chances, right? And I could learn and learn what a big company looked like, and the problems with it all also the benefits of it. So it was a big learning experience. And I got somebody to say, yes, I’ll fund you. And you could run your whole thing. And I was 20. I’ve never even managed really managed a person or a team myself ever before. And this person’s like, you’re now CTO, you’re going to build engineering or to get to build a device. And I had no shred of like, credibility, I, you know, evidence that I could do that. They just said, sure. So when you find those forks in the road, and because of the environment around now might be different now. But thank God, I did it then. And it was inside that environment. But the thing that I should express, that I’ve only taken one job that was cookie-cutter in my life, and that Job was General Magic. I said, give me whatever job you got, I’ll take it. Every single position I had afterwards, I architected, created, and then built something around it. I didn’t, I was never given a job, I didn’t take a job someone gave me because it was the that was a job description. I went pitch the idea, say this is what I’m going to do, this is what I’m going to build, I got to make my way whether it was at Apple, at Philips or my own companies, it was always I’m creating my position, and I’m filling it with me. And I’m going to build something. And so everybody should think about that when they go for, you know, whatever positions they have, if they want is that they shouldn’t always just be taking cookie cutter, they should be saying I can provide this value. And I can provide these ideas and bring this to you, not just what you think you want. I’m going to bring you what I know you’re going to need. Right? And let me show you how. So again, I never took anyone else’s job after my first one, which is at General Magic, I created my own way.
Hans Tung 17:43
Yeah. But you also mentioned that a lot of people come out of school wanting to do something massive. So they’re taught to be a leader. But how does someone know here are the steps and skills I need to learn before I can actually realize that vision that the mission that’s possible. But you know, without knowing the details and learning the steps on one way, it’s not possible just to make that happen immediately, obviously,
Tony Fadell 18:08
Be in an environment where there’s lots of growth, so you have opportunities to move up to be in management leadership. And there’s good leaders there that you can learn from and lean from, right and they in their training. So if you’re an individual contributor, and you want to go up through the ranks, you need to go with people who know what they’re doing, so that you can learn from them. Right, and you can mean them. And then hopefully, if it’s growing fast enough, you have an opportunity, oh, I’ll take that first job in management, if that’s where you want to be, or you want to be a tech leader, or whatever it is, you should be somewhere where it’s growing. So you have the opportunity to grow along with it, and challenge yourself. And always make sure that the management or the leadership know that this is where your track is, and that you really believe in the mission they’re on. But I want to grow with it. And I want to challenge myself, what else can I do to make sure that you see me as that next rung up the ladder, so to speak. And that means having conversations not about your job but having conversations about the product or about the team or about much broader things, than your day to day work or the team’s day to day work. That’s the way you move up the ladder, because then people go out, we’ll give them a shot. Right? We’ll give her a shot, because at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be sitting here if people didn’t give me shots, right? People had to believe in me, and you have to give them some reason to believe in you. One is, are you willing to do it? Do they think you’re asking the right questions? They seem smart enough and like, Okay, we’ll give him a chance and like, Hey, give me a chance. Give me four months in this position. Let’s see what happens. And, you know, it makes sure I can talk to you back and forth. And if it doesn’t work, I’ll take it step back. But give me a shot. Give me a shot, coach, put me in, you know, let me show you what I can gather.
Jeff Richards 19:42
Let me take the other end of that spectrum, Tony and sort of build on that, which is, you mentioned being a learner and being able to ask for help and you know, you’ve invested in over 200 startups, you know, now over the last decade and you work with a lot of really exceptional founders, a lot of the folks that we work with who founders and CEOs are trying to develop themselves as leaders, as CEOs. You were a CEO, you were a founder, you also worked with some of the greatest CEOs of our generation. What advice do you have for folks on how to stay sharp? How to improve their own skills on how to scale? I mean, as you mentioned earlier, many folks who are running, you know, running 500,000 person companies are doing it all for the first time. What advice do you have? And what do you see the best founders doing on that front?
Tony Fadell 20:26
Well, there’s a few things. One is you got to be, you got to be just inhaling information, you got to be inhaling information from all kinds of disparate sources all the time. So you have to keep your knowledge up and know your competitors know, adjacent spaces and, and really, you know, have those at your fingertips, you shouldn’t just be delegating the team to them to bring up you really have to have a good grasp of that. The other thing is you need a mentor. If you don’t have a mentor, slash coach, and I’m not talking, I’m a life coach and work-life balance. I’m talking to an operational coach who could tell you about the human. And that’s why the book is that the book is supposed to be like that first kind of operational mentor slash coach, mentorship in a box, to give you those. Okay, someone who can help cut out the noise, because you can read 25 different books on management, but they can all be conflicting. So it’s like, who’s going to cut down all that noise? And say, no, look, these are, I can very quickly give you a summary. Here’s what won’t work with these things. Because I’ve seen it, here’s what I think will work. Here’s what I’ve tried in the past that did or didn’t work to help you refine that optionality. So you can get to Okay, I’ll make this decision. This isn’t because you can get quickly into as a manager, or a leader, you want to do everything as best you possibly can. But you can get into analysis paralysis. And you need someone, sometimes it could be a trusted board member, but a lot of times, it’s a mentor, who’s by your side who believes in you, and vice versa, doesn’t have a real financial gain, they’re just not hired help. You know, like a coach is there a mentor you can have a sounding board, who you can trust, who can help you with those operational details and separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. So mentors and learning, that’s another thing, you know, and then obviously you got to balance your schedule somewhat, so that you’re not 100% Always on your day to day, because you need to be delegating, so they can have time to be external, to get gain perspective on what you’re trying to do to get too much tunnel vision, then the board becomes the CEO, because they’re seeing what’s going on outside, and you’re not doing enough, and they’re going to keep challenging you and you’re going to be like this. So you got to make sure that you’re delegating enough and learn that process. And that way to delegate and that’s trust is a huge issue, right? I see so many first-time leaders, like I know, I could do it better. I’m like, Are they doing the job? Are they doing it well enough? Yeah. But I know I could do it better than that. guess what so true. You know, you can’t do that. There’s no way you could give them some tips. But after that, if they’re getting the job done, it’s getting job well enough, done. Okay, so be it. But if they’re not you, you can’t be running all this stuff at once. And the thing is, most people, most CEOs, when it’s hard, when it gets tough, they regress to the thing that they do the best, as opposed to what they need to be doing is embracing the things that they do the worst at, and then go and learn about it. And then work on those things. And let the people who are they know already doing a great job, don’t try to do their job, don’t do the thing that you’re really good at, because you should be in a position where you’ve delegate the things you’re really good at. And so you could work on the things that you’re not good at, and try to figure those things out. So you can really start to build a mastery of all of these different disciplines. As a CEO, not like you’re going to be a huge like, you know, expert in the field. But you’ll have enough working knowledge and you’ll be able to understand each of the bits and pieces. So how all of the functions fit together. So when it gets hard, don’t regret doing the stuff that you’re good at, go to the stuff you’re not good at. And most people that’s not instinctual, because they want to go back to somewhere safe when it’s tough.
Hans Tung 24:03
This offers great advice on what the CEO should be doing during tough times, including, you know, going through COVID. On the other end, founders got to be mindful of the fact that people join them for reason. They need the need to learn, they need to be able to grow. And so that’s even more important than the compensation. I mean, it comes it’s important. We mentioned it in the book, but give a chance for people to learn and grow so they can be a better version of themselves by working here at this startup, is extremely important. How did you figure out how to manage a larger team? And once you are in Phillips, you’re 25 years old you started managing more people, how did you know what to do along the way get better and better and better at it?
Tony Fadell 24:46
First of all, I said in the book very clearly, I was a horrible first-time manager. So I just sucked that right. I was micromanaging, so I had to go get a coach to help me. I had to go to my own personal work to figure out my insecurities, like I was doing micromanagement I was trying to, like I was say, I was regressing and trying to do the thing I was good at. And so you have to gain perspective on this, and you need outside people to help you become a better manager. But let’s say you’re in management, you want to are in leadership, and you want other people to do this, then you have to bring in coaches for them, just like I had to bring my own in for me, to help them learn. And what you want to do is, as the company grows, you want to you want your best people to grow with you. The worst thing is, when you don’t have somebody that and you didn’t, do the good job of trying to get them up a level. And you’ve inserted somebody new in between them, and that has happened. But you have to at least give that person a chance. Or make sure that they really understand what they really want to do. Because some people say they want to do this stuff. But when they do it, they really hate it. Right? So there’s a lot of people who want to have a level up, but when they start doing they go, I don’t like this, this is not what I assumed. So you have to make sure they’re educated on what the job looks like, so that they really believe in it. And do they have the help? If they do want to do that, to then can flourish even they’re going to make mistakes, of course, but then they’re going to be able to have that sounding board of somebody to help them level up. So, you need to invest in your people. If not, and if everyone sees that there’s just always people coming in on the top. They’re like, why am I here, right. So your job is not just your business growth, but it’s your team growth, because that’s the only way you really grow because that institutional knowledge, and that DNA, how the culture works is inside those people and you want them to come with you all the way to the top. Because if you insert new people, you get different DNA, different ways of thinking, and they don’t have that history or that stature with all the people that were already there, the relationships that trust building, that it really puts a monkey wrench in the system and can slow you down. You know, typically, when you put in a new leader or new director, something, it’s usually six to nine months before they’re really in the seat, assuming they’re good, because they have to people have to learn them, they have to learn about the team. So there is this kind of natural air gap you hit. And so you’re not as effective as you could be during those nine months is if you would have spent six to nine months before working with the people out there. Figure out who could be those ones who could level up with coaches, getting any of the coaches doing assessments, working with you, working with them to make sure it’s a good fit, and everything else, so that you can start to grow, you know, and maybe it’s only a three-month gap or a two-month gap. But it’s much better than always bringing in new people and then setting the wrong tone for the other people who are like, oh, there’s no growth here. They do. They never trust me. So I the only way and I talked to people all the time, the only way people are going to give me a chance if I leave here and say I’m worthy. And then the golf. Okay, I’ll give you the chance. Right? So you should always if if it all works out if it all makes sense. You should give the people on your team a chance to try and make sure they’re there in the right environment to support them at their personal goal.
Hans Tung 28:01
You have a special section in the book that we haven’t seen anywhere else in between. I know Jeff has a very good question for you. Well, I’ll let him ask that question.
Jeff Richards 28:10
Well, you wrote a whole chapter on assholes. For those who haven’t read the book, Tony goes in depth about the different types of assholes that you encounter in your career. And I just thought it was really I mean, Tony, not to not to blow too much smoke your direction, but you created one of the greatest consumer products of all time – Nest. And that’s that I loved reading all the thought and process and how hard it was to build that product. But you devoted an entire chapter on assholes, tell us why and what drove that. And to me, it’s a very memorable chapter because any of us who’ve worked in many environments, we’ve seen all those types.
Tony Fadell 28:48
You just answered your own question. So it was the first chapter I started writing, it was the last chapter I finished editing. And the reason being is because we all run into it. you said it, we’ve all been there. you’re going to always get it, whether it’s a big company or a small startup, everything in between, you’re going to run into these types. And you’re going to have to understand how to kind of delineate what are their motivations. And when you start to feel, you know, you feel that gut feeling inside, like, oh, something’s not right here. You need to have some kind of framework to start to dissect what you’re feeling and then start to do some litmus tests like, Oh, is it like this? Or is it like that? I’m going to try this. So that so this is you know, this it’s pretty comprehensive. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good outline. The biggest fork is, most people, especially younger people today, they’re always hearing about, oh, leave me alone. I know what I’m doing. Just delegate, let me run the thing and let me make the decisions. And when they get challenged, when nobody’s judging them, but they’re just their work gets judged. They don’t like it, stay out of it. And then they start calling those people who challenge them assholes. that asshole won’t leave me alone, let me do my job. And that person is trying who’s challenging them is just trying to make sure it’s right for the customer. They’re mission-driven. And when those people are driving them and driving them harder, that is an okay type of management interaction. It’s when its ego driven, they’re pushing you down judging you, instead of criticizing your work, then that is an ego-driven asshole that you got to get away from. Because they’re never going to be, they’re never going to be working in concert with you, as long as you’re doing what they want, the way they want it done, and building them up, great. But if you go against them and say, I want to do the right thing for the customer, and they’re going against it, then you’re in a toxic environment, and you have to get away from the manager. So first, you got to understand the motivation of the person who’s driving it. And then the second thing is, when you’re in those different when you know that then you got to understand the different types inside of each of those domains, and then how to work with them. And then ultimately, if it is, in one case, where you just can’t resolve it, then you got to get out of there and go somewhere else. Yeah, I really it just really important to be able to do that. Because we all I haven’t seen one company ever not have somebody like that needs to go or for somebody who really matters, but is misunderstood.
Jeff Richards 31:25
Tony, we want to leave time for folks to ask questions. I know you had another question. But we want to make sure we give folks time to ask you some questions. So Hans, maybe you tee up your question. And we’ll encourage folks. Amy just posted in the chat. If you have a question, either raise your hand or post something in the chat, and we’ll make sure we get a chance to talk to Tony about it.
Hans Tung 31:44
Last time when we interviewed for our podcast, we talked about self-driving cars, and you said you will take a walk. And here we are 2022, still going at it. You got it. What are other things that are on your Horizon? You mentioned climate tech, what are the things that still excite you and know you those heart problem, but they’re much closer to being solved this time?
Tony Fadell 32:10
Oh my God, there’s so many things on the environmental side, they’re so much closer than most people realize, you know, the hydrogen economy, clean steel, clean cement, new forms of materials or replacement materials driven by nonfossil fuel related inputs. All of that stuff’s great on agricultural, you know, a lot of stuff, great stuff on ag that’s happening. I can’t you know, there’s just a whole list of things. What what’s really interesting to me is most of the things that are in the press today are the things that are not working out. self-driving cars, Metaverse, right, like, give me if we can. Quantum Computing is great. Don’t get me wrong, and people want to do that. But it’s still so early in that, and it’s going to happen self-driving cars is not a matter if it’s matter when and how. People are you know, they’re dreaming towards metaverse. I’ve been looking at that since 1988. Okay, I’ve been doing Metaverse, now it’s called Metaverse before it’s called virtual reality. The thing is, go look at other industries, and where they have climate emissions or what have you, and go after a target that but you’ll find a lot of things with a lot of science and that many of the things we already knew how to fix in the 1930s,1940s,1950s, just the incumbents won because they were just, you know, they were already they were they had the economies of scale already. So a lot of this stuff is just well-known stuff that’s actually coming to market again, because it’s the right time because of oil prices and, and emissions and all the other stuff. So I would be much more looking at those things than just what the media is talking about. Again, this is that what we had earlier in this discussion, which is don’t follow the trends, but go look at where the fundamental science and technology is, and go latch on where the problems exist, right? Where the big problems where the science and technology already exist to be, that just need to be productized. They don’t it doesn’t need to be rocket science, you know, back in the lab research stuff. It’s really just let’s productize or slightly do a little science and productize it to get it out. That’s what I say is are really incredible opportunities. Because we’re going to reboot the globe here. We’re going to industrial revolution 2.0 for materials, every single thing that has more or less atoms attached to it has to change for us with the processes or the how we do things has to change for us to meet the climate crisis that we with our future or former generations created.
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