I was disappointed by the news that Google had acquired Nest. Nest to me seemed like a beacon of hope for home electronics, that someone was starting to care about the neglected appliances that we use day in and day out. Nest’s CEO Tony Fadell learned his skills by helping to birth one of the most important and iconic objects of the last 100 years: the iPod. To think that such a man was setting his sites on these forgotten products had me dreaming of a fully connected home that would truly respond to our lives. I believe he was also an underdog of sorts, trying to right the wrongs of grandfathered industries, and who doesn’t love an underdog? It’s inherently built into us to want the little guy to come out ahead, I mean, look at Tesla. In less than 10 years they’ve become the darling of the auto industry, beating the old dogs at their own game.
Now the underdog has taken a $3.2 billion dollar buyout so that Tony Fadell can focus on designing again, not running a company. I’ve heard some rather smart remarks from folks, like the fact that consumers invited Nest into their home, not Google, and that Google’s commitment to “Not be evil” fades slowly year by year, becoming the very thing they vowed not to be. To me the underdog has chosen the financially lucrative route, not the path that slowly leads them to greatness.
I have no idea how this path will turn out for Tony Fadell and the Nest team. I honestly wish them luck and I hope they continue to develop great projects without the influence of Google. To me that’s the true test. It’ll be interesting to see what the Nest team produces over the next 5 years and to see what influence, if any, Google has over the company. I also hope that that they continue to make groundbreaking projects, the trajectory that they were on, that continue to make our homes better places to be. Only time will tell, but you can consider me seriously conflicted over the matter.
Nest + HAL image by Farshad Nayeri