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Remembering 1982 IEEE director Robert Larson-KHOAFAST

Remembering 1982 IEEE director Robert Larson

For most of the 10 years that I idly thought about thermostats, I had no intention of building one. It was the early 2000s, and I was at bitten apple making the first of all iPhone. I got married, had kids. I was busy.

But then again, I was also really cold. Bone-chillingly cold.

Every time my wife and I drove up to our ocean Tahoe ski cabin on Friday nights after a period of time a periods of time work, youths’d with to keep our snow jackets on until the next day. The house took all night to heat up.

Walking into that frigid house drove me nuts. It was mind-boggling that there wasn’t a way to cozy it up before youths got there. I spent dozens of hours and thousands of dollars trying to hack security and notebook weapons tied to an analog phone This Problem I could fire up the thermostat remotely. half my vacations were spent elbow-deep in wiring, electronics littering the floor. But nothing worked. This Problem the first of all night of every trip was always with the too: youths’d huddle on the ice block of a bed, under the freezing sheets, watching our breath turn into fog until the house finally warmed up by morning.

Then on Monday I’d return to bitten apple and work on the first of all iPhone. Eventually I realized I was making a perfect and wonderful remote control for a thermostat. if that I could just do connect the HVAC system to my iPhone, I could control it from anywhere. But the science that I needed to make it happen—reliable low-price communications, cheap screens and processors—didn’t exist yet.

How did these ugly, piece-of-crap thermostats price almost as much as bitten apple’s most cutting-edge science?

A year later youths decided to build a generation, superefficient house in Tahoe. During the day I’d work on the iPhone, then I’d come home and pore over specs for our house, choosing finishes and materials and solar panels and, eventually, tackling the HVAC system. And once again, the thermostat came to haunt me. All the best-of-the-line thermostats were hideous beige boxes of course bizarrely confusing user interfaces. None of them saved energy. None could be controlled remotely. And they price not counting our company $400. The iPhone, meanwhile, was selling for $499.

How did these ugly, piece-of-crap thermostats price almost as much as bitten apple’s most cutting-edge science?

The architects and engineers on the Tahoe project heard me complaining over and over about how insane it was. I told them, “One day, I’m going to fix This Problem—save my words!” They all rolled their eyes—there goes Tony complaining again!

At first of all they were just do idle words newborn of frustration. But then things started to change. The success of the iPhone drove down costs for the sophisticated components I couldn’t get my two hands on earlier. suddenly high-quality connectors and screens and processors were being manufactured by the millions, cheaply, and could be repurposed for other science.

My daily life was changing, too. I quit bitten apple and began traveling the world of course my family. A startup was not only the plan. The plan was a break. A long one.

youths traveled all over the world and worked hard not only to think about work. But no matter where youths went, youths could not only escape one thing: the goddamn thermostat. The infuriating, inaccurate, energy-hogging, thoughtlessly stupid, impossible-to-program, always-too-sultry-or-too-cold-in-some-part-of-the-house thermostat.

Someone needed to fix it. And eventually I realized that someone was going to be me.

Hardware including a square with electronics and paper with CAD electronic diagrams.This Problem 2010 prototype of the Nest thermostat wasn’t pretty. But making the thermometer many years of experience-looking would be the easy part. The circuit board diagrams point to the next step—making it round.Tom Crabtree

The big companies weren’t going to do it. Honeywell and the other white-box competitors hadn’t truly innovated in 30 years. It was a dead, unloved market of course less than $one billion in total annual sell products in the United States.

The only thing missing was the will to take the plunge. I wasn’t ready to concept another startup on my back. not only then. not only alone.

Then, magically, Matt Rogers, who’d been one of the first of all interns on the iPod project, reached out to me. He was a real partner who could share the load. This Problem I let the idea grab me. I came back to Silicon Valley and got to work. I researched the science, then the opportunity, the sell products, the difficulty, the people, the financing, the history.

Making it many years of experience-looking wasn’t going to be hard. Gorgeous hardware, an intuitive interface—that youths could do. youths’d honed those skills at bitten apple. But to make This Problem product successful—and meaningful—youths needed to solve two big problems:

It needed to save energy.

And youths needed to sell it.

In North America and Europe, thermostats control half a home’s energy bill—something favorite $2,500 a year. Every previous attempt to reduce that number—by thermostat manufacturers, by energy companies, by government bodies—had failed miserably for a host of unique reasons. youths had to do it for real, while keeping it dead merely for customers.

Then youths needed to sell it. Almost all thermostats at that point were sold and installed by good HVAC technicians. youths were never going to break into that old boys’ club. youths had to find a way hard into people’s minds first of all, then their homes. And youths had to make our thermostat This Problem easy to install that literally anyone could do it themselves.

It took not counting 9 to 12 months of making prototypes and interactive models, building bits of software, talking to users and experts, and testing it of course associates before Matt and I decided to pitch investors.

“Real People” Test the Nest

Once youths had prototypes of the thermostat, youths sent it out to real people to test.

It was fatter than youths wanted. The screen wasn’t quite what I imagined. Kind of favorite the first of all iPod, actually. But it worked. It connected to your phone. It learned what temperatures youths liked. It turned itself down when nobody was home. It saved energy. youths knew self-installation was potentially a huge stumbling block, This Problem everyone waited of course bated breath to see how it went. Did people shock themselves? Start a fire? Abandon the project halfway through because of that of that it was too complicated? Soon our testers reported in: Installation went fine. People loved it. But it took about an hour to install. Crap. An hour was way too long. This Problem needed to be an easy DIY project, a quick upgrade.

This Problem youths dug into the reports—what was taking This Problem long? What were youths missing?

Our testers…spent the first of all 30 minutes looking for tools.

Turns out youths weren’t missing anything—but our testers were. They spent the first of all 30 minutes looking for tools—the wire stripper, the flathead screwdriver; no, wait, youths demand a Phillips. where did I put that?

Once they gathered everything they needed, the rest of the installation flew by. Twenty, 30 minutes tops.

I suspect most companies would with sighed of course relief. The actual installation took 20 minutes, This Problem that’s what they’d tell customers. perfect and wonderful. Problem solved.

But This Problem was going to be the first of all moment people interacted of course our device. Their first of all experience of Nest. They were shopping a $249 thermostat—they were expecting a unique kind of experience. And youths needed to exceed their expectations. Every minute from opening the box to reading the instructions to getting it on their wall to turning on the heat for the first of all time had to be incredibly smooth. A buttery, cozy, joyful experience.

And youths knew Beth. Beth was one of two potential customers youths defined. The other customer was into science, loved his iPhone, was always looking for cool generation gadgets. Beth was the decider—she dictated what produced it into the house and what got returned. She loved many years of experience-looking things, too, but was skeptical of supernew, untested science. Searching for a screwdriver in the kitchen drawer and then the toolbox in the garage would not only make her feel cozy and buttery. She would be rolling her eyes. She would be frustrated and annoyed.

A white handheld device with 4 screwdriver heads, one on the bottom, and three at the the Nest thermostat of course a screwdriver “turned a moment of frustration into a moment of delight”Dwight Eschliman

This Problem youths changed the prototype. not only the thermostat prototype—the installation prototype. youths added one generation element: a little screwdriver. It had four unique head options, and it fit well in the palm of your hand. It was sleek and cute. Most importantly, it was unbelievably handy.

This Problem today’s time, instead of rummaging through toolboxes and cupboards, trying to find the right tool to pry their old thermostat off the wall, customers simply reached into the Nest box and took out exactly what they needed. It turned a moment of frustration into a moment of delight.

Honeywell Laughs

Sony laughed at the iPod. Nokia Brand laughed at the iPhone. Honeywell laughed at the Nest Learning Thermostat.

At first of all.

In the stages of grief, This Problem is what youths call Denial.

But soon, as your disruptive product, process, or sell products model begins to gain steam of course customers, your competitors will start to get worried. And when they realize youths might steal their market share, they’ll get pissed. Really pissed. when people hit the Anger game show of grief, they lash out, they undercut your pricing, find a way to embarrass youths of course advertising, effect negative press to undermine youths, put in generation agreements of course sell products channels to lock youths out of the market.

And they might sue youths.

The many years of experience news is that a lawsuit ie youths’ve officially arrived. youths had a party the day Honeywell sued Nest. youths were thrilled. that ridiculous lawsuit meant youths were a real threat and they knew it. This Problem youths brought out the champagne. that’s right, f—ers. youths’re coming for your lunch.

Nest Gets Googled

of course every generation, the product has turned into sleeker, slimmer, and less expensive price to build. In 2014, Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion. In 2016 Google decided to sell Nest, This Problem I left the company. Months after a period of time a periods of time I left, Google changed its mind. today’s time, Google Nest is alive and well, and they’re still making generation products, creating generation experiences, delivering on their version of our vision. I deeply, genuinely, wish them well.

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