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After a series of articles exposed problems at Nest, the smart-home device company that Google bought for $3.2 billion in 2013, CEO Tony Fadell gave a pep talk at Google’s all hands internal company meeting, Re/Code’s Mark Bergen reports.
Fadell simultaneously admitted that the company has some problems while defending the company’s culture, its products, its sales and himself.
According to a transcript published by Bergen, Fadell said:
“Of course, we’re not perfect. No company is. Nest isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect. But we know what our problems are. We have been addressing them over the last two years. And, frankly, we have more room to go. …
“I also want to address the whole respect thing. I do respect the Nest employees. I do respect the Google employees. I respect the Alphabet employees …
I also respect ex-Nesters, ex-Googlers, those kind of things … I give respect because I want to get respect.”
Nest was the subject of a brutal profile in The Information which detailed a rough corporate culture under Fadell, and troubles with Dropcam. After Google bought Nest, Nest turned around and bought smart-home camera company Dropcam for $555 million later that year.
In that article, Fadell admitted that about half of Dropcam’s 100 employees had left, and seemed to blame the employees saying, “A lot of the employees were not as good as we hoped.”
Dropcam founder Greg Duffy then turned around and published a scathing response, in which he said Fadell was engaged in “blatant scapegoating” and called the decision to sell Dropcam to Nest a “mistake.”
Nest’s sales figures for 2015 of about $340 million didn’t hit the sales targets Google wanted when it bought the company, Re/Code reported.
That’s far below what Wall Street was estimating, which ranged between $400 million and $672 million, Business Insider previously reported.
Word is that many Nest employees are nearing the point when their stock vests, meaning they will be paid for their shares in the sale, and after that they may plan to leave.
If Nest has a reputation as a harsh place to work or a failed acquisition, it will be hard for Fadell to replace them with top-notch talent.
Google declined comment for this story.