But Fadell, who is promoting his book “Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making,” took the chance. And now Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world. Fadell, however, didn’t think up the iPod or iPhone overnight. It took years and a string of failures to get to that point, he explained. “I think the thing I have to look back on is that 10 years before leading up to [the iPod] was failure after failure after failure,” Fadell said. “Whether it’s General Magic or Philips. The things that we talk about, all the failures in the book that we talked about, [it is] so seminal and so important to actually being able to move at speed and at scale with the iPod”
Tony Fadell is one of the most essential individuals in Apple’s (AAPL) history. He helped turn around the faltering company’s fortunes as the designer of the iPod. And, as co-creator of the iPhone, he can claim (at least some) credit for Apple’s rise to a market valuation of more than $2.5 trillion. When he proposed the idea for the iPod, Fadell wasn’t sure he wanted to work with Apple. “Back then, Apple was a very, very different corporation,” Fadell told Yahoo Finance. “A lot of folks were hesitant to join [Apple].” I most certainly was not. It took me weeks to decide if I wanted to join since it wasn’t the Apple we know today.”
PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 16: Tony Fadell Inventor of the iPod and Founder and former CEO of Nest attends a conference during Viva Technology at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on June 16, 2017 in Paris, France. Viva Technology is a fair that brings together, for the second year, major groups and startups around all the themes of innovation. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images) Tony Fadell helped created iPod and co-created the iPhone. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images) And if it weren’t for the mentors he had at the time, Fadell says he may not have persevered. To pay it forward, he wrote “Build” as a means to mentor entrepreneurs en masse.
“The book is an encyclopedia of mentorship,” Fadell explained. “I didn’t want an autobiography. I didn’t want any of that stuff. I wanted to really help people.” Fadell has, of course, done far more than create the iPod and iPhone. The engineer also co-founded Nest, which sold to Google (GOOG, GOOGL) for $3.2 billion in 2014. The idea for the company, Fadell said, came about when he was working on his house in Tahoe. When it came time to install a thermostat, he said he was befuddled as to why they all looked so outdated and, most importantly, why they weren’t, well, smarter.