Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Father of Wireless (and Wireless Jobs)

Martin Cooper. Just an average genius working for the man at Motorola .

But on April 3, 1973, Dr. Martin Cooper placed a call to rival Joel Engel, head of research at AT&T's Bell Labs, while walking the streets of New York City talking on the first Motorola DynaTAC prototype.

And so the levers of cell phone obsession began to turn.

10 years later, the Brick was born, and those who had the cash dropped almost $4,000 for the 10-inch, 28-ounce anchor created by Coop and his team of engineers at Moto.

The differences between Cooper's Brick and today's phone? Can you say, calendar, calculator, alarm clock, gps, video, web browser, and MP3 Player?

Dahl's article offers up a bit of history that I find seriously amusing:

Analysts in 1983 predicted that by 2000, there would be 900,000 wireless users in the United States.


There were more than 100 million wireless users by the end of 2000, and 229 million at the end of last year. My family alone accounts for four of the 229 million (I'll be adding three more in the not-to-distant future).

Yes, my Blackberry is never far from reach. I exchange text messages with my team late at night and early in the morning (cut it out, Jen!) ; )

On the chance that I've misplaced it (along with my keys), I'm irritated 'til it's safely back in my front pocket.

I glance at my messages while driving to work (just kidding, Mr. State Farm Insurance Man!). I send my wife and children secret messages throughout the day. I am always connected.

Geez, thanks Mr. Cooper. No, really, thanks! We complain about being overly-connected, but if we're honest, most of us wouldn't have it any other way.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying it's healthy. But it's our reality (and I like it).

Reality also says that about one-fourth of all wireless calls have at least one problem (2006 study by J.D. Power and Associates). Whether it's dropped calls, disconnected calls, static, or interference, the problems exist. And if we're grumpy when we can't find our Blackberry, we're even grumpier when we drop a call.


Because we can't stand not being connected! Like I said, I'm not proud of this particular mental illness, but I'm not about to change. Even if that means I have to crawl on my roof line at midnight in the middle of a thunder storm, I'm going to make that phone call, by golly!

Even the Father of Wireless (Cooper) agrees with us. He's now 79 years old, owns six cell phones, carries three and pays the bills for 20. He was even talking on his cell phone for his interview with Dahl, explaining that he understands our obsession, our need, to have a signal:

"When you've got that phone, you feel connected, you feel part of a group,"
says Cooper.

"Who's the group? It's everyone in the world, on your cell phone."

Yep, Dr. Cooper still gets it.

Because the most important thing is being able to stay connected to the most important people in our lives.

Thanks Father Cooper Wireless.

Here's to 30 more years of wireless connectivity and the jobs that make it happen.

source: McClatchy Newspapers, Melissa Dahl

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