Dear Ex-Dropcam CEO, Give It a Rest

The job you did on Nest's CEO was incredible. You went public, empowering the Information to rip Nest's CEO apart.

Evidently, you still are not happy and took another swing at him. You are upset that he said that your team was not that good.

But, let's remember, you called him a "tyrant bureaucrat" who was "holding back all progress". And you made the Information article possible and powerful, by going on the record. So whether your team is good or bad, what did you reasonably expect going after him like that?

You do admit that you decided to sell the company and make hundreds of millions of dollars. That was your call and, I am assuming, you are not returning that money to Fadell/Nest/Google/Alphabet, correct?

I do think Dropcam executed very well and you should certainly be proud of that. But they paid a half billion dollars for Dropcam, which is also a very rich valuation.

Given the increasing commoditization and competitive inlux within the home consumer security market, you timed your sale very well.

And if you 'don't want to see that mission die' as you say in your post, start up Dropcam 2.0, and see if you can repeat it in today's market...

In the meantime, why such public bickering? You made your call. He gave you the money. Don't keep on trashing him. Walk away. Do something new. Move on.


Infadell.

I disagree with any argument that since he decided to sell, and sell for a good valuation, that he should give it a rest. This is coming from the perspective of someone that has been part of the rank-and-file that stuck around after a tech company acquisition (3 times, soon to be 4!).

If the new CEO just shrugged us off as "not as good as we hoped and not experienced", and treated us poorly, I certainly would appreciate my former CEO standing up for us publicly. That's at least something to balance out the questions I would get at my next interview..."Oh! A former dropcam-er? Are you one of the 'not as good as we hoped' guys?"

If the guy deserves to be trashed for the way he manages his company, then I'm glad someone's got the cahones to do it, especially when standing up for the people that helped him get that big cash-out.

Ryan,

Good feedback!

A couple of things:

(1) Dropcam's CEO has handled this poorly. Many of his comments, like the one below, are childish:

That's after he called Fadell a 'tyrant'. He could certainly have handled it far more professionally.

(2) You mentioned, "If the new CEO just shrugged us off as "not as good as we hoped and not experienced"

Let's keep in mind, Nest's CEO said this publicly in response to Duffy going public to the Information where Duffy trashed Nest and Fadell.

I am not a fan of Nest or Nest's CEO, I do not agree with how Nest CEO responded, but Duffy was the one who made this a public fight.

(3) Duffy needs to take more responsibility. He admits that it was his decision to sell to Nest but drops that point, calling it 'a story for another day'. If Fadell / Nest / Google is so horrible, he should have known. He's the CEO, he has major VCs behind him, this is one of the most well known companies in the world, etc.

As a CEO/ founder, when things do not work out with employees or acquirers, it is a cop out to put the blame so squarely on the other side. Far better to not publicly brawl and try to work behind the scenes to help your former employees if you really care.

Good points. I am not intimately familiar with who said what, and more importantly, when.

In that chronology, yes, Duffy instigated the public bickering, which surely isn't helping employees and should take responsibility for worsening the situation. From what I read, Duffy pushed to sell to Nest when investors were hesitant, due to his admiration for Fadell. How that must sting now.

I just still disagree that anyone who sells the company should inherently keep their mouth shut because they put the company in that situation and got their money. Duffy did stick around and wanted to lead Dropcam.

Now that it is a discussion in the public's eye, I hope Duffy can see it through successfully, though not likely since he's now resorting to a challenge to "whip it out and measure" revenues.

I just still disagree that anyone who sells the company should inherently keep their mouth shut

To clarify, my objection is how he did it and how repeatedly he did it. He could have delivered it in a much more professional manner. Maybe Nest's CEO is every bit the lunatic that Duffy makes him out to be, but the way Duffy has handled it has been poor.

Let's keep in mind, Nest's CEO said this publicly in response to Duffy going public to the Information where Duffy trashed Nest and Fadell.

I could be wrong, it's quite confusing, but it would appear that the "tyrant" comment and the "not as good as we hoped" comment both became public at the same time, when the interview with the Information was published.

Fadell's statement *could* have been a reaction to the "tyrant" comment from Duffy, but it certainly isn't framed that way in the article. It just says both were interviewed. It's true that the Duffy comments come before Fadell's in the article, but we are not told that Fadell is reacting to anything specific.

Furthermore, when a reaction is indicated to a Duffy comment, the response comes later thru a spokesperson, e.g. the photoshop comment. not thru the Fadell interview itself. There is quite the sense of back forth between the Information and the two camps throughout the whole article, making it well-nigh impossible for (me) to tell who was reacting to what.

Maybe I missed something.

In any event, it's not like Duffy went public, Fadell saw Duffy's public statement and lashed back in public himself.

Total guess here, but I'm gonna say that the Information worked the information back and forth to their maximum advantage by agitating both into something they may have not said normally.

"making it well-nigh impossible for (me) to tell who was reacting to what."

"In any event, it's not like Duffy went public, Fadell saw Duffy's public statement and lashed back in public himself."

The article depends on Duffy willing to go on the record first. It's not like Fadell is going to unilaterally talk to any site / paper about how much he is a jerk tyrant abstractly. The Information gets quotes from Duffy, then they take to Nest, i.e., "Dropcam's ex-Ceo said X, Y, Z, what do you have to say?"

The article depends on Duffy willing to go on the record first.

He very well may have went on record first. But with what is the question. I think they both may have been baited to some extent.

Reporter to Fadell: Dropcam's ex-CEO says "I regret selling."
Fadell/spokesperson to reporter: He's got nothing to complain about
Reporter to Duffy: Fadell says "you got nothing to complain about"
Duffy: Yeah, let me tell you when...

If it was a straightforward allegation/response I think they would have said that, maybe not...

In any event, Fadell shows zero couth in disparaging random Dropbox employees. Nobody likes that. Even if he did it with less snark. It makes him look like a... tyrant.

You can speculate as you want but there's no story to write unless Duffy chooses to go on the record with his quotes / allegations.

Again, I disagree with how Nest responded. They should have taken the high road and they look bad not doing so.

But look at Duffy's comments in the article, his "emperor's" tweet, and his Medium post and it's pretty clear Duffy is the aggressor in this public fight.

Also, you can listen to this podcast from the Information where the report describes how they presented to Nest about how "there are going to be a lot of negative things, really negative things said".

"there are going to be a lot of negative things, really negative things said".

there's more to that quote though:

"there are going to be a lot of negative things, really negative things said on background..."

On background, not on the record.

This proves the negative things started with Dropcam / ex-Nest, something you questioned earlier, i.e.,"There is quite the sense of back forth between the Information and the two camps".

The Information started with Dropcam / ex-Nest 'really negative things' and it went from there.

Again, I think Nest responded poorly and should have taken the high road but there's no doubt Duffy / Dropcam started this.

This proves the negative things started with Dropcam / ex-Nest...

I'll agree, it started with Dropcam employees. But, the explicit reason given by the reporter himself for Fadell's 'on the record' statements was 'that really negative things were said on background' by disgruntled/former dropcam workers.

This reason explains why Fadell did what he did, he retaliated against a group of anonymous Dropcam employees.

Therefore to insist that Duffy 'went public' first is speculative.

It's speculative only if you assume that the Information did not tell Nest about Duffy's involvement.

But sections of the article like this essentially guarantee that the Information revealed Duffy's involvement:

Nest confirmed the exchange. “You can’t report to me because you haven’t earned it,” Mr. Fadell told Mr. Duffy, a spokeswoman for Mr. Fadell said.

But sections of the article like this essentially guarantee that the Information revealed Duffy's involvement.

Absolutely.

It also guarantees that this confirmation did not happen at the same time as the "employees were not as good as we hoped" comment was made. Because the first is attributed to a direct interview and the second was issued thru Fadell's spokeswoman, presumably at a later date. Why? Its not like Fadell had to check whether he said it, right?

That's why I said back and forth.

But I'll agree 100% with your initial statement of "Duffy empowering the Information" hit job. I just think the Information played both of them.

I sent an email to the author asking who knew what when and who went public when with what statement first. Simple enough question that someone from say the BBC or the AP would normally answer.

If you don't want to see that mission die' as you say in your post, start up Dropcam 2.0, and see if you can repeat it in today's market...

I would imagine that the CEO Emeritus is broadly restricted from competing against any thing resembling an IoT camera/sensor or Nest product for at least a couple of years. On the other hand, Zenefits may be a good fit. ;)

I would imagine that the CEO Emeritus is broadly restricted from competing against

Does that come right after or before the non-disparagement clause?

I agree with you but that he has disparaged them repeatedly raises questions to what exactly was in his contract.

What would be clever is if Duffy was planning Dropcam 2.0 and this was done to lay the foundations about a future competitor against a weakened Nest...

That said, it just seems to be someone who is angry.

Official request

...It seems a rather important element, namely who was reacting to whose comment in the Fadell vs Duffy incident? Was Duffy "on the record" from the start, or did he change to be on the record after Fadell went on the record with his infamous "not as good as we hoped" comment? Context is vital.

Official response

Out of a matter of principle, we don't share information beyond what's in the story out of fairness to sources we ask for comment. The Information

Fadell has left the Nest, today.

But did he jump or was he pushed? And more importantly, can he still fly?

Fadell's Swan Song

Since the launch of Nest in October 2011, this blog has been a place for me to share my thoughts on all things Nest – like explaining why we created the Nest Learning Thermostat, sharing the customer stories that inspire us, announcing new products and services, or highlighting our exceptional partners across retail, energy and insurance providers, professional installers, and the developer community. Today though, my news is bittersweet: I have decided that the time is right to “leave the Nest.”

Duffy is apparently biting his tongue for now.

What next for Tony? one guess!

This will give me the time and flexibility to pursue new opportunities to create and disrupt other industries – and to support others who want to do the same – just as we’ve done at Nest. We should all be disrupters!

Which makes sense, since I think don't think Nest could be disrupted much more at this point...