Tony Fadell, rather well-known as the father of the iPod, has been a designer and engineer for as long as most in the world of tech can remember. Designing the original iPod, co-creating the iPhone, and launching the Nest Learning Thermostat are all achievements Fadell can place on his mantle. And what a large mantle it must be!
Fadell’s latest product isn’t quite as gadgety as you might expect. In fact, it’s completely analogue (stop gasping, it’s still tech!). In a new book launched today, Fadell’s insight into tech gets distilled into a handy guide dubbed Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making.
With Build, Fadell is offering a unique look at the creation of these famous products, from the person that actually created them. In addition to reminiscing, Fadell also wants the book to act as a guide to others; a guide to “making things worth making”, as he puts it.
- Blast from the past: Our Apple iPod Classic review
All the Byte Stuff: What to expect from Tony Fadell’s Build
Inside Build, you can expect to find tales of Fadell’s life, his time creating some of the most popular tech products, and some of his thoughts on more recent innovations and fads. Along the way, you’ll be treated to some glorious (and we mean glorious) black and white prints and early patent sketches of the products, too.
Included in these images are a few looks at what the iPod could have been. According to Fadell, the team explored every possibility for the design before settling on one. No screen size was out of the question, but whether or not to include the wheel was.
In looking at the past, Fadell recounts how to spot great ideas, designing for everyone, and storytelling. He even debates “Assholes” in an entire chapter, looking at when it actually helps to be the bad guy based on his years in the industry. “Even the nicest people on Earth can act like assholes sometimes. Or maybe they’re passionate hurricanes…” reasons Fadell, exploring the difference between motivated and Machiavellian.
As for his opinions on today’s tech, Fadell doesn’t shy away. From opinions on AR/VR being a fad to early iterations of products and quitting, Build doesn’t shy away from ruffling a few feathers. “Until you optimize… you can never build something lasting.” and “…all the money and PR in the world can’t change the fact that AR glasses are a technology in search of a problem to solve.” are just two of the hot takes you’ll find in the book. And these hot takes are so well rationalised, you’ll be agreeing with Fadell before he even gets to the iPod.
How to purchase Build, and where it’s available
If you’re at all interested in the history of tech and the products that made it so, Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making is a must-read. We’ve not seen anything of this scale published before, so any tech fans (which you probably are if you’re reading this) should snap it up.
Build is available from Amazon and all good bookstores. Audiobook and Kindle versions are also available, while the main book is a hardcover. Fadell’s book retails for £20 in stores, but is up for £15 on Amazon UK.