We’ve news that this week, Google’s Nest division has lost two executives: Greg Duffy and Yoky Matsuoka. Greg was the co-founder of Dropcam, the business acquired by Nest in June, and Yoky was Nest’s Vice President of Technology. We’ve heard that the departures from Nest were something of a surprise and will be difficult for the team to accept as both are popular executives within the business. However, we’ve also seen reports that there has been a culture clash between Dropcam and Nest following the acquisition last summer. Nest’s “meeting culture” is reckoned to have killed the Dropcam team’s creativity and many employees are said to be “concerned” about matters. There’s also said to be friction following the announcement that employees have been told to work a six day week until the spring in order to ship a new camera product, known as “Quartz.” These high profile departures are not going to be helpful for team morale and it’s believed that there will be a major reorganization following the change.
To write a little about the two departing executives, Greg originally sold his email search company, Xobni, to Yahoo! and co-founded Dropcam. The business rapidly moved from using off-the-shelf camera units to building custom hardware and lens, complete with motion sensors designed to only capture relevant video, which may then be sent up into a cloud recording service. There have been questions raised following Dropcam’s acquisition by Nest including the hardware roadmap; aside from the Quartz camera, we still don’t know what is likely to happen. This week, however, Dropcam announced a pledge to replace customers’ outdated cameras with new units. It appears that Nest will be supporting the cloud recording camera service for some time yet.
Yoky was in charge of the user experience and learning aspects of the Nest thermostat, but perhaps more importantly was one of the public faces of the business. She had previously worked at Google and was one of the founding members of Google X, a secret unit tasks with creating technological breakthroughs. It’s believed that Yoky is heading to Twitter, although she’s been quiet on the matter. Yoky has a colorful past, having emigrated to the US from Japan to pursue a career as a professional tennis player. Unfortunately, she suffered from an injury and instead concentrated on her love of robotics, building a robotic hand and working on a “tennis buddy,” a robot designed to volley shots back at the player proportionate to the level of skill shown. There’s quite often a period of reorganization and disruption following a merger or acquisition, which can sometimes last several years. Often, when cultures are combined, some individuals feel left out in the cold by the change. These two departures may not be the last that the Nest division sees in the coming months.