Disruption round the corner?

iPod inventor — Tony Fadell bats for disruptive tech to tackle sustainability, food security and disease among other things.

Every generation has had that one technological device that shapes how that generation lives. For the teenagers of the early 2000’s, it was the iPod — the father of the 90’s Walkman. Tony Fadell, one of the inventors of this iconic piece of technology was in town recently as a part of the ninth edition of INK Conference. Fadell also is the founder of the acclaimed Nest Labs, a smart home products manufacturer, that was acquired by tech giant, Google, for a whopping $3.2 billion in 2014.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Tony recalls a very key personal moment right after the iPod became major international news. “I travelled to Asia and Europe just weeks after the iPod had launched. I saw people were wearing iPod earphones. I was astonished to see that something we had just put on the market (only for sale in North America) was already being used around the world!”

Answering the question if the music industry, which witnessed a sea change with the advent of Boombox, Walkman and iPod, needs another round of disruptions, Tony has this to say, “Yes. But, I think this time it’s about live music and concerts. As a music lover, I want fans to be able to enjoy live shows and support the artists we love. I despise scalpers. The ticketing process for concerts is truly outdated, inefficient, and ready for disruption.”

Also explaining the reason why there is usually a focus on innovation of software rather than hardware, he says, “Software is much easier to make and distribute than hardware. However the only way software truly disrupts the world is when it is developed with hardware — iPod, mobile phones, iPhones, internet, self driving cars. All these products required both a hardware and software revolution to create new technology platforms.”

When asked whether he is interested in investing in Indian start-ups, Tony says there are already a few investments underway. “It has been great to visit India and we have learnt more about the rising tech scene here in Hyderabad. Future Shape is interested in technology that people don’t see and understand, but can change the world. We are striving to coach scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to bring game-changing technology out of the lab and into our lives.”

(Written by Oishani Mojumder, originally published by Deccan Chronicle on December 4th, 2018)

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