A 5 Minute Overview Of
An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making
About the Author
Tony Fadell has enjoyed a thirty-plus-year career making things in Silicon Valley. He worked at General Magic as a software engineer during its heyday, was then hired by Philips where he launched the Velo and Nino, and eventually was hired by Apple where he worked on the iPod and the iPhone projects. He left Apple to start Nest Labs, where he created the Nest Learning Thermostat. When Nest was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in 2014, he stayed on at Google for two years, leaving when Google decided to onsell Google Nest. He then joined Future Shape, an early-stage investment and advisory firm aiming to mentor next generation startups. Tony Fadell is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
The Main Idea
Even in a digital business era, there's something incredibly fun about building a physical product people will actually buy. Make something worth making.
The roadmap to having a great career building things worth making is simple to describe, difficult to achieve:
Sections in this Books
1. Build Yourself First. Early in your career, or just out of college, focus on trying to get a job where you have the opportunity to make an impact. Be prepared to try and fail, and ultimately learn by doing.
2. Build Your Career. Learn all you can about managing people, but at some point you'll have to decide whether to keep collecting a paycheck, or start your own venture. It's always a difficult decision, but prepare to make the jump. D-day will come.
3. Build Your Product. Once you start calling the shots, the pressure is intense, grinding, and never-ending. Focus on building something people will actually buy. It sounds simple, but in reality it's harder than it looks.
4. Build Your Business. You go into business to solve a problem worth solving. Figure out a way to get into your customer's minds first, and then do it for real. Keep what you do dead simple. Start with one great product, and then figure out how to sell it.
5. Build Your Team. Growing your team is just as important as building the right product. Learn how to figure out who you need, how to hire them, and build team processes that utilize their skills. You're going to need team members who specialize in design, marketing, product management, sales, and legal at a minimum.
6. Build More as CEO. Being CEO is less about what you make, and more who you're making it with. Learn how to get good at people problems and communications. That's pretty much all you'll do as CEO. It's an extremely weird job being CEO.
- Even in a digital business era, there's something incredibly fun about building a physical product people will actually buy. Make something worth making.
- You go into business to solve a problem worth solving. Figure out a way to get into your customer's minds first, and then do it for real. Keep what you do dead simple. Start with one great product, and then figure out how to sell it.
Summaries.Com Editor's Comments
Great book this week —- BUILD written by Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod and the iPhone. He talks about his journey from working for General Magic and Phillips, to starting his own business which then got absorbed by Apple. After working on eighteen generations of the iPod and three generations of the iPhone, he again left the corporate world to start Nest, focused on home automation, starting with a smart thermometer. When Nest got acquired by Google for $3.2 billion, Tony stayed with Google for a few years before leaving to start a venture capital group.
So Tony Fadell knows what he's talking about when he notes: "The world is full of mediocre, middle-of-the-road companies creating mediocre, middle-of-the-road crap, but I’ve spent my entire life chasing after the products and people that strive for excellence. I’ve been incredibly lucky to learn from the best - from bold, passionate people who made a dent in the world. I believe everyone should have that chance."
His key idea? Even in a digital world, there's something magic about starting with an idea and turning it into a product of some kind, physical or virtual. It's incredibly fun to make something people will actually open their wallets and buy, and to solve a problem worth solving. Give it a go. Even if you don't come up with a spectacular success, the journey is well worth it. Do something meaningful. Make something worth making.
Amen to that. Great book.
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