Jun 6, 2016 · 2 minutes

Much has been written about Tony Fadell leaving Google and Nest.

There are the sanctimonious goodbye Tweets of the Valley elite wanting it known that they think he’s a genius.

There is the analysis of just how poorly things were going under his watch.

And there are, of course, his own words. Things like it’s time to move on, or this via the New York Times:

“I’m a guy who’s at the beginning of things,” Mr. Fadell said. “I don’t like to do maintenance mode. It’s not what gets me out of bed.”

In fairness to Fadell and Google, a zillion acquired entrepreneurs have uttered those words. It’s the rule-- not the exception-- for culturally things not to work out quite so well when a high profile, experienced founder leaves an acquired giant. For promises of autonomy and endless resources under a larger parent company to mask other issues like cultures clashing or having to report to someone who has different growth expectations or expectations generally.

There is no failure here. Fadell built a great product-- one of the only Internet of Things companies to get a massive multi-billion dollar exit to date and the only one in my home. He boosted his profile even further as a hardware visionary. And he made himself and his investors a ton of cash.

It simply ended the way these things usually do.

The problem isn’t Fadell’s: People will line up to work for him or fund him again. And if he doesn’t want to start another company? There’s an endless stretch of plum venture jobs or lives boating around for him.

But it is potentially bad news for Google. Because Fadell was one of the people they could hold up to potential acquisition targets to say: See! Come here and you can not only have total autonomy, but we’ll let you run our entire IOT division! With endless resources! The dream is real!

The next closest example they had was YouTube. Indeed, they did a great job of keeping that independent, product-wise at least. But the founders left immediately.

Like I said: The rule. The problem is, there are a shitload of exceptions at Facebook. Kevin Systrom still runs Instagram, years after being acquired. The Oculus founders? All still there. Same with the WhatsApp guys. Bear in mind these guys were all in the “Absolutely don’t want to sell!” camp. These properties have all grown under Facebook larger than they likely would have on their own, and have the pride of being core parts of Facebook’s investment story.

Fadell on the other hand clearly feels aggrieved. He defending the complaints against him to the Times saying the growth was in the double digits and the turnover under his “abrasive” management style was minor.

Should there be a bidding war over a Slack, a Snapchat, or another hot player TBD, Fadell and Google have given Mark Zuckerberg a key talking point in addition to all that high priced stock.