THE NEST BIG THING

With MORE than 17 years in PROD­UCT mar­ket­ing, Nest’s Maxime Veron is CHANG­ING the way we KIT out our HOMES.

Collective Hub - - TECHNOLOGY - WORDS SELISE MCLAG­GAN

Want proof per­sis­tence is key? Meet Maxime Veron. He’s the di­rec­tor of prod­uct mar­ket­ing at Nest, a startup spe­cial­is­ing in smart tech for home au­to­ma­tion. But be­fore that, he was a hun­gry stu­dent with a one-track mind.

When French-born Maxime grad­u­ated with an en­gi­neer­ing de­gree in 1999, he wanted to work for Ap­ple. However, Ap­ple France was purely sales and mar­ket­ing at the time. There were no en­gi­neer­ing po­si­tions. Maxime was not eas­ily de­terred. After be­ing told to stop call­ing be­cause they had no jobs, he managed to find a connection at the com­pany. “They were lit­er­ally the best friend of my mother’s cousin’s hus­band,” he laughs, ex­plain­ing that “this was be­fore Face­book and web­sites like that”.

His connection sug­gested Maxime con­sider prod­uct mar­ket­ing. Though he didn’t know what it was, Maxime fig­ured, “If it’s a job at Ap­ple, I’ll take it.” He started out as an in­tern at Ap­ple France, then moved to Ap­ple Europe be­fore cross­ing the globe to work at Ap­ple’s head­quar­ters in Cal­i­for­nia.

“Prod­uct mar­ket­ing is [the] junc­tion be­tween en­gi­neer­ing and sales,” ex­plains Maxime. “It’s ba­si­cally work­ing with the en­gi­neers, on defin­ing the prod­uct, and the sales team to make sure they have the right in­for­ma­tion to sell it.”

After 12 years with Ap­ple (dur­ing which he helped de­velop the Find My iPhone fea­ture, among other things), Maxime was at a cross­roads. Steve Jobs had just stepped down as CEO, and the en­gi­neer­ing team in­formed Maxime there wasn’t enough band­width in the next iOS re­lease for his lat­est pro­ject to be re­alised. He was es­sen­tially told to stay put for two years. But Maxime wasn’t happy to just sit around.

Around this time, a start-up named Nest con­tacted him for the third time. Nest’s co-founder was Tony Fadell, god­fa­ther of the iPod (“He lit­er­ally pitched that idea”), but the start-up was in stealth mode, so no one had heard of it. Maxime took the call and, after a se­ries of in­ter­views, they showed him their se­cret pro­ject: a ther­mo­stat. >

At that point I was GRIN­NING from ear to ear and my ne­go­ti­a­tion POWER went out the window. I just WANTED to be part of that STORY.

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