Matt Rogers, founder & VP of Engineering at Nest, gave a great talk on Revitalizing Unloved Devices at Designers + Geeks last Thursday. For those of you who don’t know, Designers + Geeks is an open community for people interested in design, and features talks from experts on design, technology, start-ups, and all manner of geekery.
In this talk, Matt talked about the reason why some industries became stagnant and what happened to those forgotten, unloved devices. He also shared his firsthand experiences in reinventing a whole product category and bringing desirability to one forgotten gadget, the thermostats.
Here are the highlights of his talk and my sketchnote. You can also watch the talk here.
- What causes stagnation? When having a product that has a big enough market, companies sometimes stop challenging themselves and stop innovating. Matt used the example of Rio the digital audio players, blackberry and vacuum cleaner to explain how big companies became stagnant.
- What causes innovation? In Matt’s opinion, frustration of using those devices causes innovation. He shared his experience working at Apple and how Apple invented iPod and iPhone by “designing from scratch, and keep improving”.
- How do you avoid becoming the stagnate product or company? To avoid the “defense mode” and stagnation after a successful product, companies should “not be afraid of replacing yourselves and be the worst critic of your own product.” If you don’t, someone else will eventually replace you.
- How do you make people exited? In the end, Matt shared how they make people excited about the learning thermostat, Nest. Aside from a great design, Nest has a whole service behind it, including matching websites, Apps to view and manage energy use, and customer services. “We give people no excuses to not buy nest.” The nest team even designed there own screwdriver and included it in the package (which is pretty genius).
The core idea of Matt’s talk is that a company should never be afraid to replace itself and take the risk to do something new. I’m glad to say that here at Mozilla, we share the same understanding, and never stopped improving on our products and bringing better experiences for our users. Also, we are not afraid of risk ourselves to try something new, like the Firefox OS project, and a lot of other projects at Mozilla.