Nest, the connected home company acquired by Google last year, made the news yesterday with the departure of two of its key people: founding VP of technology Yoky Matsuoka and Greg Duffy, who had come to Nest as the CEO of acquired company Dropcam. In the wake of that, we’ve been passed (anonymously) two different memos from Nest co-founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, which shed some more light on what is going on.
In short, the company is reorganizing as it gears up to launch a raft of new products in 2015, starting with camera updates in two stages (or levels) that Nest is referring to as “Quartz” and “Black Quartz.” In line with this, and the departures, the company is adding more business and product management, redistributing some of the technology teams closer to product groups, and tying camera hardware more directly to Rogers’ authority.
While the memos don’t really offer any context for why Duffy or Matsuoka have left the company, we’ve seen reports elsewhere that allege culture clashes between Dropcam and Nest.
We have had another tip that points to similar problems — also anonymous — alleging that Duffy had been in conflict with Fadell before leaving. It also points to low morale after employees were told they would have to work Saturdays “until April or May (by emailed edict a few weeks ago) because we are supposed to be pulling hard for a release we don’t even believe in.”
One thing seems clear: Duffy and Matsuoka were popular and their departure surprised others at the company. “Place is in shock and disbelief,” another tipster wrote to us.
Nest declined to comment for this story. We’re embedding the two memos below, but here are the basic details:
Rogers’ note — possibly put out to the company in the wake of the news going public — confirms the departures of Matsuoka and Duffy, with Matsuoka moving to Twitter in an unspecified role and Duffy “leaving to pursue other opportunities.” Duffy later said as much himself via Twitter.
It doesn’t look like either will be replaced: the algorithms team that Matsuoka led will now be reorganised to sit closer with product groups, to “help [Nest} build even better products by getting our technology and algorithm roadmaps more tightly aligned.”
Duffy’s former direct reports Loren Kirkby and Greg Nelson will now report to Daphne Luong, “managing engineering for e-commerce, the video service and next-generation video architecture.” Meanwhile, Rogers will get a more direct grip on camera hardware, with Sam Kortz now reporting to Rogers.
To follow that up, Fadell also noted some changes in a separate memo. Tom vonReichbauer, who started out as the company’s CFO when he moved to Nest from Tesla, is taking on more responsibility as the company’s head of business, overseeing sales and business development in addition to the operational and finance roles.
And Maxime Veron, who worked for Apple for many years before joining Nest in 2011, is moving over to make room for a second product marketing lead, “given our ambitious roadmap for 2015 and beyond.” Richard Townhill will be the company’s new product marketing lead for apps and services.
Updated with response from Nest.