Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.


It’s hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for Tony Fadell. Mark Bergen, Recode:

To keep [Nest] employees from leaving after [their] acquisition, Google created a vesting schedule that prevents Nest’s executives from cashing out their shares before a certain date — that date could come as soon as this year. In addition, according to sources, as part of the acquisition, Nest and Google agreed on a sales target for the company: $300 million annually.

Two years later, Nest still could not hit that target alone — it did it only after adding sales from Dropcam, which Nest acquired for $555 million six months after joining Google. […]

Once the vesting period sunsets, some key executives could feel free to depart, something that several people close to the company said is very possible given the growing crisis. And Alphabet, whose execs have spoken regularly about controlling costs at the non-Google companies, may become less charitable.

There’s someone on Reddit (via Ryan Jones) who claims to be a current Nest engineer. I’ve asked this person for proof, but I have no idea if they’re even checking that Reddit account any more. I will update this if they do provide some verification that they are who they say they are.

Let’s pretend for a moment that internet commenters can be trusted, though.1 Their comment mirrors much of what has been indicated so far: Nest has a major talent retention problem due to a toxic work environment, and it’s going to get worse as acquisition terms expire.

And then there’s this:

[…] this company is already on deathwatch. Once that happens, most people will quickly have shiny paperweights because it’s a constant firefight keeping these systems up.

Boy, does that ever sound familiar.

  1. Even if this person is not who they say they are, their comment isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Similar allegations appear in both Bergen’s article and Reed Albergotti’s piece for the Information↩︎