Tony Fadell first envisioned a hard drive-based digital music player in the 1990s. He took his idea to Real Networks only to leave six weeks later after reports of in-fighting between himself and Real's CEO. After several years, Fadell took his idea to Steve Jobs and in 2001, Apple and Tony's idea made tech history.
Fadell was put in charge of the iPod/iPhone division in 2006 when he replaced Jon Rubinstein who left Apple to build the Pre with Palm. In 2008, Fadell officially stepped down from his role as division manager, but would remain at Apple to stay on as a special adviser to Steve Jobs.
That advisory roll ended yesterday. Fadell announced to the New York Times that he was leaving Apple to advise other companies with a focus on green technology. "My primary focus will be helping the environment by working with consumer green-tech companies," Fadell said. "I'm determined to tell my kids and grandkids amazing stories beyond my iPod and iPhone ones."
Tony, we wish you all the luck in the world. To think how different things could have been had you never pursued your idea for a hard drive-based music player. Here's to anticipating your next vision!