I recently read an article in which the author, Sean Blanda, interviewed Nest Co-Founder Matt Rogers about the process of reinventing the thermostat. At Proof, we’ve been fans of Nest for the last few years. Honestly, it’s as brilliant as everybody says – and this interview with Matt Rogers explains why.
Was it intimidating to tackle an entirely new industry? You guys had a background in consumer electronics, not home hardware. That had to be intimidating.
We brought in experts, interviewed contractors, and conducted meticulous research. We traveled and took pictures of people’s homes, their thermostat, and how it was installed. We built a library of ugly thermostats around the country.
So on one of your hard drives, there are files and files of pictures of thermostats on walls?
Exactly. One of the things that I did very early with another Nest colleague is install a new thermostat at home every week. We installed every thermostat we could at our own homes to learn the frustrations that people have, the installation experience, everything.
Nest was born out of frustration and a feeling that the market was missing a product that was simple, intuitive, and beautiful.
To make a product or offer a service that fills a need is as simple as recognizing that the need exists. Look around your industry. Surely you’ve been frustrated by an unanswered question, a faulty system, or a dropped ball.
When you’re solving a problem that many people have experienced, the branding and marketing is easy. You can err on the side of simplicity – in design, language, and overall strategy – because people will understand why your product or service exists from the very beginning. They’ll relate to it. It will integrate seamlessly into their lives.
When your square peg fits perfectly into a square hole, you don’t have to convince anyone it’ll be worth the investment.