Nest, Dropcam... And the difficulty of managing an acquired smart home company


( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #1

This blog from former Dropcam CEO makes me worried about the entire industry. I had high hopes for Nest as an ecosystem, but they are having a political rough patch.

Just posting for general interest…

“The Dropcam Team” @gduffy

(Bobby) #2

I wouldn’t be worried about the entire industry, just for Fadell’s seat. And who really cares about a micromanagerial egomaniac? Well some may vote for one into a higher seat, but that’s about it. Nest may be stagnant for a while until they find a way to “Step up”

This paragraph is so telling… “Mr. Fadell says employees simply weren’t ready for the changes about to happen as the company rapidly expanded. “Do the people underneath me and underneath underneath underneath, do they understand that?” Mr. Fadell said. “There’s one which is the captain of the ship, but does everyone else know what their jobs are? And that’s really the difference that we have here versus other places,” he said, again referring to his days at other companies.”

Should we worry or bad PR?
(Geko) #3

Yep, Nest has been going through some rough times, it seems. Hope @urman is still a happy camper though :camping:

(Marc) #4

This isn’t based on facts, just my personal views.

Hmm,…I am seeing a trend…Google buys Nest and Revolv, not working out…Samsung buys ST, not working out.

Perhaps, Apple knew what it was doing by waiting it out and seeing how the market plays out??l or Amazon for making a killer device that integrates with a ton of other products and does things stand alone very well?

(Bobby) #5

Love this line, a lot of us here should use it when we make assertions about things …

I am seeing a trend too but it doesn’t have anything to do with the products but how the products are managed…

As for Apple, the demand is not huge for Home Automation . It’s a hard sell to make, as many don’t see the benefits. Think of smart phone evolution and how long it took to get started and when Apple joined the market… (only when the market was ready to invest in the technology)…

(Marc) #6

Yup, agreed. The average mainstream person isn’t interested in smart homes. It’s going to be a much slower adoption rate than smartphones because everyone had a phone already and you just had to convince them to upgrade. This is why I believe Amazon has the right idea making it so simple to use and works independently of others. Alexa’s weather and shopping list features are so user friendly and every family can benefit immediately with a low investment and it certainly helps that the technology works great.

(Michael) #7

Good statement @SBDOBRESCU.
In my opinion, home automation will never take off like some of us are hoping it will. The majority of individuals can’t even work an iPhone or Android device to its true potential. Asking our generation (regarded collectively) to deal with coding and linking multiple devices is just out of the question thus causing the idea of home automation with the industry to be less attractive.

(Geko) #8

It depends on your definition of ‘huge’. Both Wink and SmartThings have sold several hundred thousands units. I’m pretty sure Phillips Hue sold more than the two combined. If that’s not ‘huge’, then what is? :sunglasses:

Absolutely right! Home Automation does not need to be clunky and cumbersome to use. Natural speech recognition is the best way to tackle it. My 6-years old is very comfortable giving Alexa voice commands. I’m sure the new generation will take this kind of man-machine interface for granted.


The 1st gen Nest thermostat was my very first home automation product in 2013. I remember being excited about what they’d be releasing in the years ahead. More data, remote sensors, new products. Then none of that came besides the smoke alarm and I never considered it after the reviews. I had more hope when Google bought them but that seems like it’s made things worse. To me they’re an arrogant company that thinks they know better than their customers. Fadell seems like he’d be a miserable person to work with.

I still have the 1st gen Nest but will most likely trade for an ecobee in the future.

(Bobby) #10

True, but that is not convincing for the big players to take it seriously. Home Automation is just getting started. When Apple joined the smartphone market, shipments of hand helds were in the two digit millions. We are getting there, but slow…(the first one may not be a reliable source, but it does show my point)

(Geko) #11

There’s a flaw in your argument. Shipment of dumb handhelds were in the two digit millions. Shipments of dumb light bulbs and dumb light switches have been in tree digit millions for quite a while. :sunglasses:

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #12

I was thinking the same thing…

There are studies that say a very large portion of US homes will have “at least one smart home device” in the next year. Sure, the largest demo is millennials saying 50%, And “device” is not the same as a platform/system, but it still is a foot in the door.

(Bobby) #13

ok, so if the demand is there, then what prevents the competition to explode in the Home Automation market? Big companies are making small moves towards the next billion market, but far less aggressive than when the demand for smartphones started to pick up. Relaying on startups is not sufficient to make Home Automation mainstream, is it?

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #14

IMHO: The industry needs a “eureka!” moment. Nobody has found (or figured out how to sell) the magic ingredients that will accelerate consumer adoption;

Nest (thermostat) was pretty impressive, but that magic fizzled; Amazon Alexa is … well, pretty darn magical, but we’re waiting to see if it is more than just smoke-and-mirrors.

The number of smart home hub startups, Kickstarters, and IGG’s is incredible. It could just be delusion that they each think they can grab a viable segment of the supposedly “huge” market, and/or each of them think they have the magic ingredients hidden in their product.

But I think that if someone actually has the magic ingredients; they know it, but perhaps they don’t know how to use it.

And yes… I think SmartThings has a few magic ingredients; but they’re too buried to do anything magical with them.

(Bobby) #15

Samsung is a great follower, so we just need to wait for others to make a splash before we see Samsung taking it to next level.

(Geko) #16

Yep. Both Amazon and Philips got things right in their respective segments. So I think there’s going to be quite a few followers. Actually, looks like Google is already trying to catch up with Amazon.

… and, BTW, they don’t trust Nest folks to do it.

According to The Information, Nest wanted to include this Echo clone with the rest of its smart home lineup, but Google “rebuffed” the idea.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #17

“Buffed”, lol – Some how that makes it sound like polishing a :poop:. … :laughing:

(Bobby) #18

Because it would never see the market. I am pretty sure they are looking for Fadell’s replacement after this week’s media coverage of the article that Terry shared. Everyone picked up the story yesterday, did you see that?

(Geko) #19

I interviewed with Nest in the summer of 2014 when I was looking for a new gig and they were hinting about “new product” back then, but nothing had come out in 18 month, so yeah, I’m glad I haven’t pursued that “opportunity”. :wink:

(Bobby) #20

Oh yeah? You should be used to being ignored or putting a lot of effort into something that gets kicked in the corner, you’ve been practicing endurance in your spare time for how many years, two, three…LOOOL