The biggest things that caught my ear while listening to Tony Fadell, Marc Kushner, and Joe Gebbia speak were their personal experiences with their field of expertise, and how those shaped the products they design and make. Tony Fadell, for example, worked at Apple, with Steve Jobs, on the iPod. In the midst of creation, he said he realized how every product you bought on the technology market in that day was a product that had to be charged upon purchase. He described the eagerness of the consumer, spending several hours getting ahold of the project and driving home, only to have to wait for it to charge. So, the iPod team made sure that every iPod sold was tested for two hours and charged to 100% battery life prior to boxing. Nowadays, every technology company is doing that.
In Marc Kushner’s case, his childhood bedroom was right around the corner from the bathroom, and there was a balcony that overlooked the family room between the bedroom and bathroom. He said he absolutely hated it, because everyone could always see him walk to and from the bathroom. This experience impacted him, because he hated that house, and inspired him to go into architecture so absolutely no one had to experience that in any house again.
It’s fascinating to hear stories like these, where people have these minute and minuscule moments in their lives that inspire them to change them for people that come after them. Most people just live with the pain of having to wait 30 minutes to charge something, or been seen for 3 seconds by family members with your shirt off. Few people use that as fuel to become successful on a global level.