After Ecobee, Stuart Lombard has no regrets

Stuart Lombard
Ecobee’s ex-CEO and President on building consumer hardware in Canada and what comes next.

Ecobee was founded in 2007 and launched its first product in 2008. That was a long time ago, in real life and tech lifespans. 

Last year, Stuart Lombard stepped down from his role as Ecobee’s president and CEO after a 16-year run. On this week’s episode of The BetaKit Podcast, I talked with Lombard about what that run was like now that it’s over.

“There’s a big difference between wanting to be great and being great.”

Given the breadth of time, a lot of ground is covered, including the need to reinvent your business at each stage of growth, and how building a hardware startup makes everything harder.

Like Canadian consumer hardware companies that came before it—Pebble, BlackBerry, etc.—Ecobee competed with the global tech giants. Unlike many Canadian companies that came before it, Ecobee did quite well. We talked about what that was like, and how it feels now to know that Ecobee eventually became “the smart home company Nest should have been.”

The interview features several leadership lessons sprinkled through the lens of book recommendations, which I didn’t get to ask Lombard about, but it’s clear he invests time in learning how to lead.

We also get a tease that while Lombard’s time is done at Ecobee, he’s not done.

So what did Stuart Lombard learn over 16 years at the helm of Ecobee? Let’s dig in.

The BetaKit Podcast is sponsored by the Master of Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship at TMU.

Learn how Toronto Metropolitan University’s MEIE program can help accelerate your career or bring your startup idea to life.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Produced & edited by Kattie Laur. Sponsored by MEIE at TMU. Feature image courtesy Ecobee.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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