Nest Labs founder regrets missed opportunity with Steve Jobs

Jonathan Stewart
13 June, 2014
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Nest Labs founder discusses Steve Jobs

Nest Labs, Nest Labs founder Tony Fadell, Nest Labs founder

Former Apple employee and creator of Nest Labs Tony Fadell, has spoken about his time at Apple, his experiences with Steve Jobs and the missed opportunity to show the former Apple CEO his new work.

In a lengthy interview with Fortune, the man often described as one of the ‘fathers of the iPod’ confides that he often clashed with Jobs, to the extent that he repeatedly quit to get his own way.

According to the Fortune article: “One time, after key members of his iPod team had been raided for another Apple project, Fadell informed Jobs he was done, and the CEO asked him to stay, telling Fadell he was overreacting. ‘I said, ‘I’m not overreacting.’ I told him I was out. If you didn’t stand up for yourself, no one else would.’ (Fadell says he recanted at least two resignations, having gotten his way each time.)”

In the interview, Fadell said the relationship ”alternated between the father/son and school principal/naughty student archetypes,” with the two often arguing and agitating each other.

Fadell began at Apple in 2001, rising to become the senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division from 2006 to 2008. After leaving Apple, Fadell started home automation company Nest Labs, which was subsequently sold to Apple rival Google for US$3.2 billion.

Unfortunately for Fadell and Jobs, Nest Labs wasn’t ready when Jobs’ health deteriorated. Fadell wishes he had been able to show his former boss the fruits of his post-Apple labour.

“By the time Fadell was ready to share more in the summer of 2011, however, Jobs had grown gravely ill, and he died several weeks later,” the Fortune article says. “‘I would have loved to have been able to show it to him, but the timing didn’t work,’ he says. Jobs presumably would have been proud of Fadell. And he almost certainly would have asked a lot of questions.”

You can read the full interview with Fortune here.

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