Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.


It’s been a hell of a month for Nest, so CEO Tony Fadell went to a company-wide Google meeting last Friday to address the concerns. Mark Bergen of Recode quotes from a transcript of his speech:

Of course, we’re not perfect. No company is. Nest isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect. But we know what our problems are. We have been addressing them over the last two years. And, frankly, we have more room to go. […]

That said, I also want to address the whole respect thing. I do respect the Nest employees. I do respect the Google employees. I respect the Alphabet employees. We try to work very hard together and partner in many different areas around the different companies.

It’s not just recent reports that paint a picture of a toxic corporate culture with Fadell as a bullying, unforgiving leader — a 2014 post by Connie Loizos quotes several employees’ gripes about the company:

Sources who spoke to StrictlyVC and asked to remain anonymous say Fadell has fashioned a hierarchical structure reminiscent of TV’s “Game of Thrones.” […]

Another employee calls it a “huge meeting culture, to the point where anyone at the director level or up spends their entire day in meetings, many of them duplicative meetings about the same subject, over and over to the point where a lot of people have complained.”

This has been a long time brewing. I’ve little doubt that Fadell earnestly believes that he’s improving and that the company is improving, but these kinds of recurring anecdotes don’t simply appear out of nowhere.