Tony Fadell created the iPod and co-created the iPhone. He almost didn’t get to Apple

Tony Fadell is one of the most important figures in Apple’s (AAPL) history. As the creator of the iPod, he helped turn the fortunes of the struggling company. And as a co-creator of the iPhone, he can (at least a little) take credit for making Apple a company with a market cap of more than $2.5 trillion.

But Fadell wasn’t sure he wanted to join Apple when he presented the idea for the iPod.

“Apple was a very, very different company back then,” Fadell told Yahoo Finance. “A lot of people weren’t ready to participate [with] Apple. I certainly wasn’t. It took me weeks to figure out if I was really going to join because it wasn’t the Apple we know today.”

But Fadell, who is promoting his book “Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making,” seized the opportunity. And now Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Fadell didn’t invent the iPod or iPhone overnight, however. It took years and a series of failures to get to that point, he explained.

“I think I need to look back on that 10 years before I go to [the iPod] was failure after failure after failure,” Fadell said. “Whether it’s General Magic or Philips. The things we talk about, all the failures in the book we talked about, [it is] so groundbreaking and so important to actually be able to move quickly and at scale with the iPod”

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Tony Fadell, inventor of the iPod and founder and former CEO of Nest, attends a conference during Viva Technology at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on June 16, 2017 in Paris, France.  For the second year, Viva Technology is a trade fair that brings together large groups and startups around all themes of innovation.  (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)

Tony Fadell helped create the iPod and co-created the iPhone. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)

And without the mentors he had back then, Fadell says he may not have persevered. To pay for it in advance, he wrote “Build” as a means of guiding entrepreneurs en masse.

“The book is an encyclopedia of mentorship,” Fadell explains. “I didn’t want an autobiography. I didn’t want all those things. I really wanted to help people.”

Fadell, of course, has done much more than make the iPod and iPhone. The engineer also co-founded Nest, which sold to Google (GOOG, GOOGL) for $3.2 billion in 2014.

The idea for the company, Fadell said, came about while he was working on his home in Tahoe. When it came time to install a thermostat, he said he was baffled as to why they all looked so outdated and, more importantly, why they weren’t, well, smarter.

“When it came to Nest, it was really about the pain of comfort. An ugly device, an absolutely ugly device that nobody loved, nobody cared about, they used to hide, they didn’t pay for anything, but it controlled 50% of you home energy bill,” he said.

Nest has since moved beyond its original thermostat to produce alarms, security cameras, smoke detectors, and a whole host of other devices.

It’s safe to say Fadell is a successful entrepreneur and engineer, but writing “Build,” he said, was a completely new experience.

“I am not a writer. I’ve never made a book. But you know, I’ve never made an iPod before either. I didn’t make many things,’ Fadell said with a laugh.

“You just have to do, fail, learn. So hopefully this won’t be a failure.”

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