outside1234 109 days ago
I worked there. It was literally the worst experience of my career - and I have worked at all of the hardest charging blue chips and two successful startups - so it is not about high expectations - but abuse. I still wake up with something like PTSD occasionally from getting yelled at and bullied by Tony Fadell almost literally every day while I was there.
I have a distance from it now -- and a way better job. It made me realize that the culture of a place is really what makes it and that "how" you get results really matter. I bought into the Apple pedigree of the place without understanding that the way Tony got there was through essentially wrecking other people's lives.
I have no idea why Google bought this. Tony literally stood up at an all-hands after the Alphabet thing and said "Fuck being Googley" (direct quote).
Frankly, if I could offer Larry Page once piece of advice it would be to take Tony out front of TGIF and fire him publicly -- all of this comes from Tony. Matt is just his hatchet man and fake cofounder.
There are a lot of great people at Nest and they deserve a better leader.
>>> Frankly, if I could offer Larry Page once piece of advice it would be to take Tony out front of TGIF and fire him publicly
T: Realized that we made him an "advisor", dealing with backlash from that
(Seriously, Google is kind of odd.)
I never got upvoted more on HN.
I feel the same way about washing dishes. I care about having clean dishes but I really don't like washing dishes. Even now with a dishwasher, I get annoyed having to hand-wash the dishes that aren't dishwasher-safe.
In my case it's jeans and a t-shirt, clean jeans are piled next to clean t-shirts, I work my way down both piles until there is one of each then I put the entire laundy basket through the wash and re-pile them.
Unless it's a special event or a meeting I really don't care, jeans and a t-shirt is fine for day to day wear and one t-shirt is much the same as another.
Clothing choices are a pretty big stressor for my SO and by extension me.
What it really is, is someone making a statement about how important their decisions are.
Lots of well off people still wear interesting clothing.
That's bullshit. Wearing the same outfit added some mystic to Steve Jobs. It may not work on the public persona of every CEO but it obviously did for Jobs.
I still get to make a decision about which color shirt I'm going to wear that day, but don't need to think about even reaching for socks, since they're already in the shirt roll.
(admittedly the outfit choosing part was only about 5 of those minutes, but still a good chunk of time over 5 years)
edit: oh yeah, I don't even choose a color. I just line them up ROYGBV.
Recommended. I have a "uniform" that I wear that works very well for me across different weather, places and events. I established it about ten years ago and have reaped quite a return from that initial investment.
Now, in addition to my default "uniform" I also have codified what I wear the rest of the time into 2-3 different other "uniforms" that are better optimized for a few different situations. I hope to get at least 10 years out of these investments.
 Jeans, Next Level poly/cotton vintage t-shirt, long sleeved patagonia capilene 2 (black). Running shoes.
 Since I have at least 10 of each item, I always have something clean to wear.
 Casual warm, casual cold, manual labor.
Do no evil indeed.
But let's be real for a moment -- the guy was probably not fired because he's a prick. Who knows the reason, but ultimately Alphabet is a public company that demands results (and returns) from assets (companies) it invests in (acquires). My hunch is that Nest (and/or it's subsidiaries) were not delivering, and the CEO is ultimately responsible.
It probably didn't help that the guy is an asshole, but let's not pretend that Larry Page walked through the Nest offices like a white knight, sensed a "negative energy", interviewed the sad-looking office manager, and determined the CEO was "damaging to company morale" and therefore MUST be replaced.
Page is the CEO of the one of the largest and most important publicly traded companies in the world. He has a legal and fiduciary responsibility to do right by shareholders. If the Nest CEO was putting up numbers, he'd still have a job, period, asshole or saint.
In that case (Tony being fired despite performing well), Larry (the firing knight/king) would be an asshole.
Consider these alternate (admittedly extreme) realities:
A. CEO is an asshole, but manages to bring in $1M/employee in revenue for a company with 500 employees.
B. CEO is a nice guy, but doesn't manage to bring in enough revenue and has to fire 250 of 500 employees.
In reality A, those people who don't think they are paid enough for the abuse, will leave, as they should. In reality B, the choice of who leaves and stays is almost random.
What you say is that firing a reality A CEO is "the right move". The problem is you're extremely likely to get either a reality B CEO, or an asshole with reality B revenue. HP's history since Carly Fiorina would give you a good case study.
So, from almost anyone's perspective, armchair generals excepted, it is NOT the right move.
Edit: oh, and to my original point - in no scenario I can think of would firing someone for abusing their employees or co-workers make one an "asshole".
We don't act like sociopaths and put profits and duties towards boards before people.
But we should not be ignoring the reality, which is that many CEOs are sociopaths (as are many successful politicians). Larry Paige is not, as far as I can tell, a sociopath, but because he does actually have to report to shareholders, he is unlikely to fire someone like Tony Fadell for mistreating his employees as long as he delivers. Fadell didn't, and that's why he's out -- not because of how he treated his employees.
You do propose HP as a case study, but why is it "extremely likely" to lead to that negative outcome?
Also, isn't it possible for a "nice guy" CEO to also bring in high revenue?
I don't think "nice" necessarily equates with "ineffective" in a CEO (for some definitions of "nice").
Competent assholes are far less common than incompetent assholes.
There's a bizarre myth that being an asshole somehow correlates with business competence.
But that doesn't take any account of the large number of asshole CEOs who are crash-and-burn fuck ups.
Looking from far away and from previous experience, it seems like Google has decided move into a different direction. They want to get rid of NEST.
If anyone is expecting Marwan to be the leader and build NEST business, then you couldn't be further from the truth.
This is one of their big AI-driven products. I would be surprised if this is part of a larger AI draw down -- that deep learning wasn't up for this type of task. I would also be a little surprised that they would get rid of an "AI enhanced" product given their recent push towards AI.
"I don’t know why I feel this way, but between working closely with Bill Campbell, working closely with Steve Jobs and watching a lot of my mentors pass on, unfortunately, I feel like I bear this responsibility now. There’s a few of us who are keepers of that knowledge. It’s almost our responsibility to be able to continue that way of thinking, that way of working. Expect excellence, respect excellence, drive hard, change things, don’t accept the status quo, push yourself, push the people on your team harder than they could ever imagine, and they will do more than they could have ever imagined."
You gotta love these incompetent execs, who have taken nothing away from Steve Jobs' legacy except "be an asshole". Tony, listen: Steve Jobs succeeded in spite of being a massive douche, because he was a genius who essentially invented new product categories, and made them work really really well. You, on the other hand, stuck networking interfaces in common household appliances, usually making them worse. Your psychopathic treatment of your employees gains you nothing in that case.
Someone who has had a boss throw chairs at people
Signed, someone who is normally calm, reserved and respectful.
There is this multiplier vs. diminisher comparison. A lot of people originally start out as multipliers but having worked under diminishers makes them forget or never realize what gifts their original talents could bring about.
I have to work very hard not to be that person nowadays. I think I largely succeed, and my current job isn't that well paid or require deep skills, but I'm happier with myself.
It's not easy realising you are a part of the reason the system is rotten. Often, even if you do acknowledge it, you aren't part of that system so you have to bring that hard earned and lived experience to the next organisation. It's worth it, but it's a pity it often takes being outside the system to realise it, and an even bigger pity when you realise it whilst in the system but then find it impossible to change...
me and other managers under him hated this but we still ended up doing the same as him. his requirements for reporting made us pass the same onto the team etc..
in the end me and another manager decided it was enough and started protecting our teams from the boss and treating them like humans.
it was a big learning for me that culture has to be fought for and its slides into a shit place pretty quickly if you dont defend it.
lots of other managers left and good staff, and ultimately the boss moved on. I left a few year ago, but everyone remarks on how much better it all became once we started defending our team.
so maybe we should acknowledge that some bosses are bad people and that we need to stand up to them just like any other kind of bully
The new boss they brought in didn't listen to anyone, insisted on us doing useless things, broke all the critical Qlikview dashboards, prevented us from automating anything, took copious notes about things that I already knew about and that were largely unimportant, undermined the three of us to the CEO and caused me to burn out so badly that it took me over 6 months to get a new job.
So I defended my team partially by allowing them to come to me for advise, which was largely to ride it out and let the guy make his mistakes. All three of us tried to advise the fool that the things he was doing was literally destroying the business, but when I did 21 days straight with no break, leading to the start of a solution I could have implemented in 3 days max that would have not only fixed the massive breakages he caused in reporting but also automated them and reduced total manual handling, but was then told that a technical change I had done (add a synthetic foreign key to a table!) was completely out of order and something he and the project manager were going to discuss with the CEO about, I took a deep breath, excused myself from their meeting and then wrote my letter of resignation.
The CEO accepted my resignation and told me to leave immediately on full pay, then 6 weeks later my old manager stuffed the entire system so badly there was no way of fixing the mess (he deleted all my reports, I assume because they made him look bad...) and he resigned.
Last week that same CEO was fired for gross incompetence. They are apparently looking at the books very closely, but it rather looks like the accounts sent to ASIC are quite possible wrong. That's a big no-no and if bad enough ASIC may decide to prosecute.
Sometimes bad bosses screw over good people and even worse bosses back them. Eventually though, if you screw over every good person them as a manager they fail, and fail hard. And they normally have the hide yo look surprised when nobody is upset for them when they have left!
Uhmmm ... the line of thinking that has your smoke detector talking to remote servers and dealing with a social layer (logins, smart apps, etc.) ?
That line of thinking is a cancer. It's a scourge on all of us that needs to be stamped out wherever we see it.
A pox on him and his house!
No. You are right - he succeeded despite being a douche.
What product categories did Steve/Apple invent? All of their major breakthroughs (iPod, iPhone, iPad) were already existing product categories but Apple just made them right / what customers wanted. Correct me if I'm wrong.
"Made them right / what customers wanted" covers so much ground for those products, it's fair to say they were first in a new category of product.
For example, "smart phone" means "phone that works like an iPhone", more or less.
Yes, Blackberry had a smart(ish) phone. But it was really just a mobile email phone. Apple was the first phone manufacturer to provide a full featured, no compromises mobile internet browsing experience.
I would then add the whole mobile app store concept. Blackberry's version was really nothing much.
I switched to an Ecobee3 system and found it was far superior in many ways. Alexa integration, remote sensors (for actual temperature measurements in rooms), easier install and compatibility if you don't have power going to thermostat, better wifi, touchscreen interface.
With Google Home coming I wonder what this means for Nest. Maybe it will be fully absorbed into Google?
The setup process for the Dropcam was absolutely magical. You plug a new one in, open the app and it would configure the camera via Bluetooth 4.0. You could then go back in and change WiFi settings by simply being near enough for the Bluetooth 4.0 connection.
Then Nest bought them, and completely removed that feature. They issued a firmware update that made it so now the camera that used to have this wonderful feature now requires me to plug it into my computer's USB and execute some janky app from a flash drive. Of course, if you buy one of their new devices, you a setup process somewhat similar to the original Dropcam. But existing customers are out of luck. In fact, the Dropcam Pro included a 1080P sensor but they did not enable it for various reasons. When Nest released their flavor of the camera, they enabled 1080P, but not for existing Dropcam Pro customers.
The DVR functionality is inferior too.
I wish I could get a refund. I personally feel like it is a bait and switch scenario. :(
The new Nest app on the phone is just now, finally reaching feature parity years and years later and its still not fully there. The 1080p debacle is terrible as well, they also compress the hell out of video now, it feels far worse than when I first got my cameras years ago (presumably to save on the storage space I'm paying quite a bit for).
It's funny, you rarely know the moment a company goes off the rails but I know exactly when it happened for me, for Dropcam.
I was out to dinner a year or so ago and all of us who had Dropcams got emails from nest about needing to migrate to nest accounts, and found that:
A) our access to our camera's was completely cut-off
B) the migration process was completely broken, at first we thought just on mobile but it still didn't work when I got back to a computer, it took a few DAYS before I could migrate my account and access my cameras again.
This was terrible, I was 1000 miles from home and unable to access any of my cameras, I completely lost faith in the company at that moment and I know all of my friends did too.
Setting up cameras was removed from the (un-maintained) Dropcam App, to encourage users to migrate to the Nest app, which has more ongoing development.
The video on cameras is no more compressed than it ever was. I know it can feel worse, but nothing has changes there.
(source: I work at nest)
that said, it is a core component, and basically the innovation/disruption if you even want to call it that, that the conpany was providing. i mean without a clean wireless interface, its basically a webcam/thermostat ect on a hone depot timer
You can't feasibly stream someone's IoT camera from their home via BT; any kind of hack like that happens over Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections.
Did you find those to not be issues? Definitely most of the reviews were good, so maybe it's just isolated people having problems. But I couldn't tell if it was that, or more that people either aren't as picky about UX as I am, or they didn't have another point of comparison... I'm very open to re-considering them if someone can convince me this stuff is a non-issue, because the remote sensor would certainly make our system work better.
My thermostats are in areas that are not indicative of the actual room temperature at all so the sensors are useful for me. I don't have a more complicated setup with dampers to divert air to a specific room, but that could be a cool addon if they made it compatible.
They're not 'machine learning' thermostats, but they work predictably, reliably well. Cheaper than a nest, too..
If you are thinking of the Ecobee, do it! :)
That's the problem with so called 'lazy zoning'.
However that being said, if you want something like this and don't have an ecobee, SmartThings starter kit comes with multiple sensors that read temperature.
My folks have an Ecobee and if I didn't have a Nest already, I might consider it. The remote sensors are a huge plus.
The Nest cannot, well it CAN, but you lose fan control in the process making it worthless. I never understood why no thermostat supports alternative power, considering tons of property would be an easy installation without the rarely available C wire.
Quick shout out for the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Touchscreen Thermostat. It too requires the C wire, costs the same as Nest, but has a much better touch interface than the Nest while providing the same-ish automatic functionality.
Read page 12 of their guide. The PEK requires additional connectors that not all systems even have. A lot of people will lose fan control, just like the Nest.
> Also, the C wire is not rarely available, basically any house since the early 90s will have one already wired up
Our house was built in 1998, doesn't have it, a coworker's house was built in 2005 and had to get it installed for their Nest ($120 callout + $120 in time), the in-laws returned a Nest because their home from roughly 2001-02 lacked it. Where are you getting this information? There's nothing in building codes that requires running the C wire, so builders will only run it if the thermostat requires it and most included ones do not.
> any house that has upgraded hvac unit in say the last 15 years will have the capacity to install one by running a wire to the mainboard.
Running wires behind walls isn't trivial in an already built home. Least of all if you're going up two to three floors.
Also have a relative in an older development that used the PEK and he can control his fan independently of the hvac just fine... I've actually more commonly heard of some control boards that mess with the fan if you use the C wire rather than the power extension kit, since the control board basically fakes the C wire using the G wire as the Nest does if you don't have a C wire. The PEK works differently.
You don't need a C wire for a programmable thermostat. The other channels provide power, the C wire just provides more. It is useful if you want to run a color LCD screen or WiFi. If you have a thermostat with a black & white calculator-like LCD, it likely doesn't have a C wire running to it.
> I've actually more commonly heard of some control boards that mess with the fan if you use the C wire rather than the power extension kit, since the control board basically fakes the C wire using the G wire as the Nest does if you don't have a C wire.
What? That would burn out thermostats. How would the control board know to pass 24Vac through a low voltage line? Can you link anything to this "common thing" that control boards do? Sorry but I'm extremely skeptical of that, it doesn't even make sense from a thermostat signal point of view, since they'd just assume you would run C if C was required during installation rather than doing the hack you're suggesting here.
The reality is that C isn't required on almost any included thermostat, programmable or simple. Good installers run the C but terminate it, bad installers just don't run the unneeded C. I've never heard or read about a first party control board which acts like a bypass kit out of the box, and I don't even understand the point.
With that said, the Ecobee that I bought off eBay included the PEK. It required a few hours up in the attic but was easier than I thought it was going to be.
From what i can tell, this is wrong. I asked 30 builders in 3 states (a mailing list), and every single one of them basically agreed with the statement that they have put them in all homes they've built since 1990.
The truth is, AFAIK, the largest homebuilders in the US do it as a matter of policy.
The building code does not require running low voltage wiring (including RG6) anywhere, either, but most do it nowadays.
I really think you are wrong about this :)
In my old house from 1950s the furnace had the terminal so I just ran a new wire. Easy if you have some fishtape or something similar. Kind of depends how far your thermostat is from your furnace though.
It's wrong for any of these thermostats to be using these wires for power. That is not the purpose of those wires. For that matter, it's shit engineering to require the thermostat be mounted on the wall hooked up to those wires like your old thermostat. The purpose of those wires, with their 24V AC, is to toggle relays. They could just as easily be done directly _at the furnace_, or just have a low-power battery powered radio module on the relay wires, with a WiFi or other wireless receptor talking to your sensors elsewhere, and with an app on your phone or tablet to control it.
Nest is an absolutely terrible design that everyone else copied. Its terrible design is crap for installation, customer support, and maintenance. It's needlessly complex.
But it looks nice?
Now, these bypass kits or similar, are a little hacky. But you're talking about the C wire itself being so, which just isn't the case. IF you have one available that is exactly what it is design to do.
But, yes, I'd prefer USB at the thermostat.
Or, you can also install a wire saver:
Sounds like a line from a new episode of HBO's Silicon Valley.
The press release conveniently leaves out the Office of Inspector General's investigation of Butch, his wife and his step-son regarding a marijuana investment promising $44 million in revenue. Nor the fraud, extortion and numerous scams by his step-son.
His step-son, Doug Fierro, is a "shaman"-
It's clear that he's been pushed out.
I'm very surprised that word of Fadell's Jobs-in-training style didn't precede him. Was this behind his departure from Apple?
With this approach:
- He gets paid a lot of money to do nothing for a period of time.
- He exits "gracefully" from a perception standpoint (obviously any board considering hiring him in the future knows the backstory, but it is better than if Google were forced to fire him for gross negligence or something).
- Google minimizes impact to their stock price to the extent possible with this, since they want to preserve an image of having everything be copacetic and under control for the mass Main Street investors. Tony likely has plenty of their stock and thus a financial incentive to play along.
- Burning bridges is never a good strategy, and he and Larry are (were?) friends. Not a bridge I'd want to burn even if things didn't work out.
- The person that gets a company from Point A to Point B is often not the same person that gets a company from Point B to Point C. In all of this Tony may have recognized that (even if it was a tough lesson) and acknowledged he was not the best person for the job.
At lower-level/pay positions the stakes are much lower and it is much easier to conveniently leave a bad experience like this out of your resume, or paint it a different way. When the major media outlets cover your departure, ensuring every possible future employer knows the situation, you tend to play things a bit more strategically.
Verily, the life sciences arm has similar CEO problems:
Boston Dynamics and Schaft are being sold off, and who knows if the rest of Rubin's robot companies are on the auction block.
And while carmakers, rideshare companies and Autonomous AI companies are all forming alliances in varying capacities, Alphabet's self driving car project dance card remains conspicuously empty.
Things at Alphabet are not looking good.
Except for the Ford partnership  and a strategic investment in Uber .
The second link, about Google Ventures investment in Uber is unrelated to the self driving car program. Uber has, in the meantime, acquired a substantial portion of the Carnegie Mellon robotics department  and has siphoned off ~100 engineers from Bing Maps , which to me implies that for whatever reason Uber wants to be as independent from Google as possible.
To graduate from a science project to a revenue generating business, Google needs a major manufacturing partnership, and while they've been seeking such a partnership for years now, no formal announcement has been made beyond a deal with FCA to outfit 100 Pacifica minivans with autonomous sensors. It was emphasized that Alphabet and FCA have no plans extending beyond those 100 vehicles .
That seems to be mostly because even though many researchers in the field think that door-to-door Level 4 autonomy is decades out, Google is apparently uninterested in any intermediate steps. Which pretty much rules out any partnerships with automakers etc. who are interested in things they can sell in interesting commercial horizons.
I bought a thermostat about a year ago and I've been disappointed too. The marketing I read and a couple people I knew that worked there implied that new features were in the pipeline but since I've installed it I haven't seen a single substantive improvement in the experience.
I have two sets of furnace/AC for my house and two Nest thermostats. My wifi access point when I installed it was downstairs, about 10 feet from the downstairs thermostat with nothing but air between the AP and the thermostat (I moved the AP around a bit too). The unit would not connect even though the upstairs unit connected without issue.
Worse, every time I tried to connect it, it would make me re"type" my wifi password. My password is around 30 characters long and contains a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols. Entering a password on a Nest thermostat is absolutely terrible, which I kind of expect, and which is okay if you only have to do it ONCE. But I was trying to troubleshoot a problem with wifi and it wouldn't remember the password because it wasn't connecting... I ended up changing my wifi password temporarily until I could get it to connect and update, hoping the update would fix whatever the problem was.
That said, now that they're installed and connecting, they're fine, I guess. But the "wow" factor is pretty much over for me, and with what I've heard about the smoke alarms, I doubt I'll be buying another Nest product.
Why? Well, Florida. And the fact that I'm on the 2nd floor of a multi-tenant building with poor insulation. The struggle is real
We typically leave the thermostat at 79 or 80, and even then that's several hundred a month in AC.
As for future promised features, they're like campaign promises. Nothing to bet big on.
Would be nice to have optional different displays too. Seems like a silly thing, I know, but it would be nice if I could just setup the 'normal' display to show outside temp without having to go to the menu.
Another issue I have is that I can only schedule temps. Auto-away seems to recognize in about an hour that I've left for work, but Away state never shows on the schedule. I leave for work at the same time very morning, I'd like the thermostat to tell me when it thinks I've left so I can adjust it to the correct time and not heat/cool the house for an hour before it realizes I'm gone.
These are minor things, but I paid literally 10x as much as a regular programmable thermostat, I expect a premium experience.
As I mentioned above, I want better and longer access to data so that I can do real comparisons like year over year data. Not just 10 days ago which is really stupid.
And how about a more stable app as well that doesn't crash?
```Although this news may feel sudden to some, this transition has been in progress since late last year and while I won’t be present day to day at Nest, I’ll remain involved in my new capacity as an advisor to Alphabet and Larry Page. This will give me the time and flexibility to pursue new opportunities to create and disrupt other industries – and to support others who want to do the same – just as we’ve done at Nest. We should all be disrupters!
I will miss this company and my Nest family (although I’ll be around to provide advice and guidance and help the team with the transition), but I am excited about what’s coming next, both for Nest and for me.```
Nest saved me, the ROI for me is priceless. Thanks Tony, good luck in your next venture - learn from your mistakes.
<Tony> "Hey Lar I can at least call you every now and then still, right?"
<Larry> "uh ok".
It seems to me that Google caught a ride on the Nest hype train.
That said Honeywell has products that cover most of those bases at least acceptably. If you just want something for your house though EcoBee seems to be the device to get.
Is slapping a UI and a "learning" system on that big of a deal? I can see how it's a useful product and might seem really cool, but it seems sort of simple to make. Sure, making physical products isn't as easy as software and all, but still, what am I missing?
I didn't realize until recently, but am not surprised to learn, that the people at Dropcam went on to found several interesting startups:
> In the troubled Motorola acquisition, Mr. Fawaz led a financial bright spot, Motorola Home, a television set-top box business. He pared its product line, cut costs and oversaw its sale in 2013 for $2.35 billion to the Arris Group, a cable television equipment maker.
From the NY times article -
We're heavily insulated and don't even run the AC on 100 degree days.
I'd be far more interested in automating the combination of our whole-house-fan + windows/shades.
Meanwhile, an un-smart thermostat with a timer can be had at Home Depot for $25, and will achieve 80-90% of the savings assuming you have a typical schedule.
On the downside, the Ecobee doesn't "feel" as high quality. The touchscreen shows finger prints, it has a plasticy feel and you don't have that nice orange or blue background color indicating whether it's cooling or heating (not a big deal). It also doesn't have the schedule learning system, but to be honest I would usually adjust the temps manually throughout the day anyway. It also doesn't have the automatic fan function after the AC has run, sort of an afterrun fan which helped continue to cool the house without the AC on.
In the end I wanted to try something different and so far I think it's met/exceeded my expectations. Just hope you have a C wire when you install! :)
1) Vacations: with the Ecobee, tell it when you'll be away (date/time range) and it will go into vacation mode. I travel often and I can add multiple vacations in advance. Not a complex feature and surprising Nest doesn't have this. With the Nest I have to keep tweaking my Away mode temps to ensure that it warms up when I return and doesn't just switch back to Away and stop heating (it can take hours to go from 50=>70 when its 15 outside).
2) Learning with the Nest was always wrong for me because I have an irregular schedule so I turned that off. For me, that was originally an appeal of the Nest.
3) Ecobee multi-room sensors are awesome. Unfortunately I've learned that my office is always 10 degrees warmer/cooler in summer/winter.
4) Ecobee is HomeKit/Siri compatible which I haven't really used much.
I installed the Ecobee myself and had to install the little box on my furnace to provide power. Not ideal, but easy.
Most don't touch it.
Disclaimer: I work there.