The company is following an Apple-like strategy. This involves finding a big market—Nest Labs reckons that there are some 250m thermostats in homes, restaurants, office buildings and shops in America alone—that has seen little innovation and then shaking it up by producing a smart, elegant device at a premium price. With its rotating stainless-steel control wheel, its sleek industrial design and its clever software, the Nest thermostat feels a lot like the first iPod in spirit. And all of this fits into Mr Fadell’s broader vision of where technology is heading. People have long dreamt of the day when the devices they bring into their homes work with one another straight out of the box. But Mr Fadell is convinced that an “internet of things”, in which smart machines can communicate easily with their owners and one another, is around the corner. “In ten years’ time it will be as mundane as a paper clip,” he claims—thanks to several trends.
Life cycle questions for companies. More important than ever.