Tony Fadell: You have to remember, especially me, I had such failure for the first ten years in Silicon Valley. General Magic — over a billion dollars invested in 1990 dollars! Could you imagine what that is today? The best team in the world. We were told we were gonna topple Microsoft and all these companies. All the press was like — and it was an utter disaster from a business perspective. Amazing connections and people and all that stuff, but an utter disaster.
And I had poured my life into it, right? Every single bit of blood, sweat, and tears went into the company, and I was mortified when it was a disaster. That’s when we went to Philips. I poured myself into that again. Another disaster. A great product, but another disaster. So you get tempered, and instead of think and believe it’s going to be a success, you hope it’s going to be a success.
But you also know, on the other side, failure is always an option, and it’s more likely that it’s gonna fail than succeed. So when you go into these new projects — and this was one of the things that I realized watching those first ten years — is at Apple, we were this little tiny project — it was just ten people or so when we got started — that we had to earn our right to be there. Right? Because the company was failing. We had to earn our right, so we had to work incredibly hard to earn our place in the sun.
If we didn’t get that product out fast enough, it could crater and get canceled. So we had to do everything to fight for our lives. So as far as I was concerned, I was just worried about getting the product out, not worrying about basking in the glow of success, because I didn’t know if it was gonna be a success, given all of the problems that Apple had. All I know is we’re gonna make this thing. Steve said he’s gonna market it. Hopefully something’s gonna happen this time.