The James Altucher Show: How to Build with The Inventor of iPhone, Tony Fadell!
This is absolutely one of the favorite episodes that I have tapped so far, from talking about the history of the iPhone, to Nest Thermostat and to how to identify a good product!
Listen to the full episode here:
2. Who is Tony Fadell?
Tony Fadell is an American engineer, innovator, designer, entrepreneur, founder, coach, active investor, and author. He is the inventor of the iPod, inventor of the iPhone, and founder and former CEO of Nest Labs.
Fadell is known as the "father of the iPod",the device which helped turn around Apple Inc.’s fortunes from a struggling computer manufacturer to the most valuable public company in history and helped create what has become responsible for over 50 percent of all of Apple's revenue today.
3. What are the goals to drive and motivate people to do their best work possible?
There were times when, you know, it was a real challenge to get the whole team to be aligned with and a lot of times, you know, people, managers, and leaders, they go, Okay, we need to get this done. But they don't talk about why they don't talk about the mission. They don't talk about exactly what was the reason why even though it might be hard, why we need to make this thing happen. And so that was good, the wonderful thing that Steve did was we had discussions on the why not just you know, not just the what and get it done. So we talked about the why. And then I could then, you know, we could talk about the whys and argue that, and then I can bring that decision back to the team and talk about not just what to get done, but why we're going to get it done and why these other things don't work and why we think this will They'll work. And this was a discussion we had with a group as opposed to it just coming down on Hi. And we just have to go, oh, make this happen. And so when when when the team got educated about these things, they were like, Oh, now I understand how I'm gonna work really hard because that is the point. This is why it means so much to the end-user, the customer, as opposed to somebody, who just told me to do it. And that's really a key point in the book, which is, make sure you understand the why of everything, not just the why of the product, but the why you're doing something, what's the mission?
4. The Best Products are Painkillers!
The best products are painkillers. Why? Because people need them. People, some people buy vitamins because they think they're going to help they are as they might be placebos. Other people buy painkillers, when you have back pain, when you have a headache, you buy that to get rid of that pain. And that's the best kind of product is when this when the individuals that you're trying to the audience you're trying to target, they have the pain, and you have a real answer for that pain. Anything else? Yeah, it's nice, doesn't mean you're gonna do it. Or it might be for a subset of people. But if you can target a pain that many people have, that is your first step to possible success. If you have a way to solve that better than anyone else out there in a way that's transformative.
5. When you're highly constrained, you're highly creative!
I think when you're highly constrained, you're highly creative. And look, Apple was highly constrained. And each of those periods that said, Apple is innovating like crazy, you just don't, it doesn't see it doesn't appear the same. From its services perspective, it's in innovating. If you look at the M one processor, which I'm using right now to talk to you on that thing is an incredible tour de force of engineering, it is going to change and the fact that Apple has the entire stack software all the way down to the base, metal hardware, for the iPhone, the apple, watch the computers, you know, even air pods, right? All of those things are full-stack products. Now, when Apple has that ability, it has a superpower that no other company has. And he can innovate faster and faster and faster. It may not seem like there are all these things coming out right now from the consumer perspective. But those things take time to, you know, these fundamental technologies at the base, take time to you know, grow root ball and sprout up, it will come over time, you just have to wait just like multi-touch. Now it's all over the place, right? You just touch ID, right face ID, all of these things take time to build perfect, and then allow them to be seated into products all around and see where they go from there. So I don't believe that Apple is not innovating. Apple is absolutely innovating in a different form. And I'm sorry, it might not be what people want, but it is absolutely the fundamental thing for it to set the stage for the next fundamental huge product out there, whatever that may be
6. You don't start a platform, but you solve the problem first!
What they're trying to say is, and this is what always happens, and I've seen it in my 30-year career, people think they're going to build a platform. And then everyone will come and figure it out Google Glass with this, we're building a platform and everyone else will figure out the applications. iPhone wasn't like that iPod wasn't like that nest wasn't like it, you first start and solve really hard problems painkillers for problems that many people have. And then if people like that you can extend it to other people can solve other pains, and then it becomes a platform, you have to solve a problem first, then you have the right to become a platform. You can't do it the other way around. The Metaverse is a platform looking for a problem and other people to fill in the blank. Just like Google Glass was that isn't gonna that is not I've never seen that successful.
7. Start with what you are most curious about, and what do you want to learn?
What do they want to do? So my everyone coming in? I just quit my job? Do you have anything for me? And my first question to all of them, including people who I hire on our team, are we hired? And that's where the first question is, what do you want to learn? If you can't answer that question, what do you want to learn? I don't want you on the team. Because you don't know everything. Right? No one knows everything. I want to know what you're curious about and what you want to learn because that's what's going to drive you. Right? And so I say what any if I get a great answer that and I go, Oh, yeah, you can learn about that here. I'm like, oh, there's now we're getting in we're now finding the right, you know, fit now. Well, okay, what do you want to do within learning that and so you go from there. But it first starts with what you're most curious about and what you want to learn. And if you don't have that, and you think you know, it all, I don't want you anywhere near here, right? Because it's not going to be beneficial. When we're learning about new technologies. And we're doing things that the world's never seen before. We're not going to know everything either. So we're curious too we want all kinds of curious people who want to learn and try to figure out new ways of doing things, not just doing things the old way because they already knew what to do because almost every new problem has a new way of solving it.