Tony Fadell is an investor, entrepreneur and an engineer, who worked in Silicon Valley for many years and now lives in France. He worked at General Magic, Apple (iPod and iPhone) and co-founded Nest Labs that was acquired by Google in 2014.
We caught up with Fadell during the screening of a new film General Magic that traces the birth and failure of the company. The startup was spun off from Apple in 1990. Marc Porat, Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson were the cofounders of General Magic. The focus of the company was to create a personal intelligent communicator for the post-PC world.
Fadell shares how he got to work for General Magic. Hertzfeld and Atkinson worked in the original Macintosh team at Apple and Faddle was very keen to work with them. He did not have a job offer from the startup, but that did not faze him. Fadell showed up unannounced one fine morning at General Magic’s office in Mountain View to discover they were not hiring. But, that bit of bad news did not stop Fadell from trying to land a job at General Magic. He persisted and his persistence paid off. He was hired by General Magic and worked at the startup for a few years. Fadell was one of the youngest hardware engineers at General Magic.
This interview is part of a longer interview with Fadell where he talks about his childhood, his grandfather’s influence, working for General Magic, the idea behind starting Next and why he went to live in France after exiting Nest Labs.