Tony Fadell
trailblazers 2013 tony fadell

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Founded: 2010

Fadell, 43, wants to do for thermostats what he did for music players as a designer at Apple: Make them smart, sleek, and easy to use. "They're ugly," Fadell says of traditional models. Adds Fadell, who was confronted by thermostats' shortcomings while designing his home in Lake Tahoe a few years ago: "They're hard to use. And they generate a lot of cost. It makes no sense at all." He and fellow Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) alum Matt Rogers launched their first "learning thermostat" in 2011 -- a $250 self-programming device that proved so easy to install that 90% of customers do it themselves. The product has won rave reviews and, according to Fadell, is selling as well as the iPod in its early days.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated February 08 2013 12:28 PM ET
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