In both his work and his life, Tony Fadell constantly imagines Version 2.0 (if not 3.0, or 4.0 and beyond). On a mission to shape the future through forward-thinking design, engineering, invention, and investing, he is probably most widely recognized for both founding the smart-home products company Nest and for his instrumental involvement in developing the iPod. Through his newest venture, the appropriately coined advisory firm Future Shape, Fadell lends his expertise to promising entrepreneurs and companies, funding and advising a range of environmentally minded startups, such as the biologically produced leather-maker Modern Meadow, semiconductor company Phononic, and micro-LED developer Rohinni.
After starting his career at General Magic, an early spin-off of Apple, Fadell moved to the electronics behemoth Philips and then, eventually, to Apple, where he started in 2001 and was, from 2006 to 2008, on the executive team that created the iPhone. In 2010, he founded Nest, which Google acquired less than three years later for $3.2 billion. Having played a crucial role in helping many of the most important technological Silicon Valley innovations of the 2000s come to fruition, Fadell has since decamped for Paris, where he now runs Future Shape. Recently, he spent an entire year in Bali with his family.
Rebooting and welcoming change has been a constant thread throughout Fadell’s career, and also in his personal life. While he’s known for his extreme work ethic—early in his career, he famously had a bed in his office—Fadell recognizes the need to take time off in order to explore, and to create space for inner growth outside of the workplace. On this episode, Fadell and Andrew Zuckerman discuss his youth in Detroit; the perils of screen addiction; the external pressures of a career-oriented culture; and paving the way for a healthier society, online and off.