It's been a tumultuous few days for Nest, which saw co-founder and CEO Tony Fadell depart last week amidst swirling unhappiness about the company's product roadmap, demanding culture, and financial performance after being spun out of Google under new parent company Alphabet. That all led to speculation that new CEO Marwan Fawaz had been brought in to pare down the company and potentially sell it — his previous stint at Google was as CEO of Motorola Home, which he... pared down and sold to Arris.
But while it appears that Google lightly investigated a sale last year, a source close to Alphabet executive thinking now says that Nest is "categorically not for sale," and that "we're committed to investing in it." And another source just sent us the following note Fawaz sent to all Nest employees today, in which he also explicitly says that "Nest is not for sale" and that his "only agenda for Nest is to scale and grow with innovative products," while noting that "scale and innovation are not mutually exclusive." Sounds like some more focus is coming to the company, but that the plan is to keep going. Here's the letter:
Joining the Nest
It’s been a whirlwind few days! Thanks to all of you for the warm welcome on Friday. I’ve had the chance to meet many of you in passing and over GVC, and I was able to join many of my team’s direct reports for their staff meetings. Your collective passion and sense of mission are immediately apparent and contagious. It’s never easy to be the new guy, but Nesters have been incredibly welcoming.
I mentioned on Friday that my skills and passion are around scaling great companies — and products — to reach more customers. It’s what I like to think about and what I like to deliver. My only agenda for Nest is to scale and grow with innovative products. Nest is not for sale, and scaling and innovation aren’t mutually exclusive.
I’m counting on each one of you to help maintain our culture of disruption, the source of the Nest magic. This culture is how we’ll continue to lead in the connected home space, continue to attract the best talent around, and help save even more energy and lives.
Many of you have asked if there’s a change in strategy or direction. There is not. We need to focus on delivering the great roadmap we have in place, beginning with [redacted]. This is how we’ll reset the narrative about Nest, reminding our customers, partners, and competitors of how we became the #1 connected home brand in the first place. Nest understands design, customer needs, and the importance of home. I know you will all work hard in the coming weeks to ensure we continue to surprise and delight our customers and I’m very excited to be a part of it.
Rightfully, many of you have questions, and I look forward to addressing them candidly and in person. We have a number of upcoming face-to-face meetings, from Lunch & Learns to office visits to department All-Hands. Stay tuned for details of upcoming opportunities to meet and share thoughts, concerns and ideas.
The swirl of news around Fadell's departure from Nest doesn't feel like it's going to die down any time soon, but it's clear that Fawaz is trying to settle the company down and get back on track. And what on earth is that redaction in reference to? A new Nest product could reframe the narrative awfully quick. We'll keep digging.