Photograph: Julian Mackler / MACKME.COM

Tony Fadell: On Setting Constraints, Ignoring Experts & Embracing Self-Doubt

About this presentation

From the iPod and the iPhone to the Nest Learning Thermostat, Tony Fadell’s incredible creations have disrupted industries, introduced beautifully designed solutions, and changed the way we live. Which is why we selected him as the inaugural winner of the ALVA Award, a new prize presented by Behance in partnership with GE to recognize remarkable serial inventors. As Behance CEO Scott Belsky interviews him with questions sourced from the creative community, Tony shares insights on everything from his own creative process, to best practices for prototyping, to how to keep your team motivated and passionate for the long haul.

About Tony Fadell

Tony Fadell is the founder and CEO of Nest Labs, Inc., the company that developed the Nest Learning Thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat learns about you and your home to automatically turn itself down when you’re away and guides you to energy-efficient temperatures when you are home. Nest has been dubbed the “iPhone of thermostats” by Wired, and the New York Times describes it as “gorgeous, elegant and very, very smart.” Prior to Nest, Tony served as senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, reporting to Steve Jobs. He was responsible for creating the first 18 generations of the iPod digital music player and the first three generations of the iPhone. Before joining Apple, Tony was a co-founder, CTO and director of engineering of the Mobile Computing group at Philips Electronics. He architected the award-winning Velo and Nino PDAs, and later became vice president of business development for Philips U.S. Strategy and Ventures, managing its digital music strategy and investments. Tony is currently an advisor to and investor in several Silicon Valley startups in the mobile-Internet and green-tech industries. In his 20-plus years of experience in the consumer electronics industry, Tony has authored more than 100 patents.


More insights on: Innovation, Iteration, Leadership
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  • Gash Bhullar

    Tony… What you are is an Engineer!

    Something to be proud of…

    Your experience from childhood shows all the typical signs of becoming an
    Engineer and your actions are driven by engineering thoughts…

    Engineering became a dirty word and people don’t realise the diversity of what they
    do so I see you as a great motivator for future Engineers.

  • NathanDavidHall

    Thanks for posting this. Cool insights.

  • Tim David Ogese

    Ship out in one year… I am taking that one with me on every idea I have to develop… Really enlightening post…

  • Jace J Perry

    About to launch an application and needed this inspiration! Perfect timing guys :)

  • Antonio Rillera

    Great insight, I will implement this into my own creation process thanks for sharing!

  • Eddie Robles

    This is FANTASTIC. I’m doing video/filmmaking and looking into including website videos and the online delivering of these videos in my focus. Awesome topics and guests in this edition. THANKS.

  • Phadke

    This is great video. This video must be shown to every Indian business home so that they understand words like Design, Design Thinking, User Experience, Value Proposition, Packaging and Presentation. Above all PHD. Here P stands for passion. H stands for Hunger. D stand for Discipline.

    I am re-sharing it again. This is Phadke S. N. City: Pune, State: Maharashtra, Country: India/Hindustan.

  • Tim Blake

    Great video…especially the info about setting short-term milestones. Wish I had learned that earlier in my career.

  • Jorge Lopez

    I wish I could show this to my father. Unfortunately he doesnt understand english. Wish there were subtitles like in TED videos.

  • onedesigner

    This was very inspirational. I face the same issues at my company. 10 projects start – 9 get killed and it leaves me with this feeling of “Sure I worked for a well known company but, what am I going to have to show at my next interview?”. This helped to remind me to trust my instincts and to not be afraid of looking silly or failing. Thank you.

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