What’s it like for a guy who worked at Apple to start making thermostats? A lot like this:
“So what are you working on lately?” a friend asks over lunch.
“I started a new company. We make thermostats.”
They chuckle, take a bite of their salad, “No, seriously. What are you doing?”
“I’m serious. Thermostats.”
They put down their fork, look concerned.
“Think about it,” I say. “I bet your thermostat is ugly and impossible to program. And I bet it drives you crazy.”
“I do mess with it a lot. Then I give up. Then I regret it when I get my energy bill.”
“Exactly. Turns out you change the temperature in your house 1500 times a year. 1500! Our thermostat learns what temperatures you like so it can program itself. It senses when you’re out and turns itself down. And we started from scratch with design, so it’s beautiful. Gorgeous hardware, easy install, fully integrated software, remote control from your smartphone.”
“That… sounds awesome, actually.”
“And it’s about more than looking pretty. Heating and cooling make up half your energy bill. Everyone’s thinking green, switching their light bulbs, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what your thermostat could save. And when you realize that over 10 million thermostats are sold each year in the U.S. alone…” I lean back, let it sink in.
“Wow,” they say. They pause, they think. “Are you hiring?”
I’ve had this conversation again and again in the last year. But the first time I had it, my colleague Matt Rogers instantly saw the potential. This thermostat could:
- Learn your preferred temperatures and schedule.
- Sense when you left the house or came home.
- Give you tips and feedback on your energy use.
- Connect to Wi-Fi so you could control it from anywhere.
- Look good (of course).
- Make you feel proud to own it.
- Have a positive impact on the world.
- Once we figured out how hard a problem it was to solve—and that it required a team with experience building smartphones—we couldn’t not do it.
So, we created Nest Labs and began recruiting many of the amazing people we’ve gotten to know and work with in the Valley over the years. It wasn’t hard. They were as excited as we were to reinvent such an important yet unloved device that would make people’s lives easier and hopefully, make the world a little better too.
It’s certainly been challenging putting it all together while staying under the radar, but we’ve had lots of great support from our advisors, investors, friends, and family, so thank you. Today, on behalf of Matt and the entire Nest team, it’s exciting to finally be able to share the Nest Learning Thermostat with all of you.
And now that you’ve met Nest, I hope we can change the conversation.