Technophile: ‘I hate meetings full of slides’

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What’s in your pocket?

A Moto Q e-mail phone for music, work and movies. I’ve got Star Wars IV on mine. The phone’s out in the US and my son Tod has one with extended battery life. I’ve also got a red SLVR mobile, part of Bono’s “Red” campaign.

First crush?

The remote control. It changed the way we watch TV. We’re working on a prototype system with Verizon so when you’re away and think “Oops, I forgot to tape the big match”, you can call your DVR [digital video recorder] to set it.

What makes you mad?

People who don’t have a sense of urgency, courage, passion and a drive to win. I hate bureaucracy and meetings full of slides saying what we’re going to do.

I like output, not input.

What’s your biggest tech disaster?

In the early 1990s when I was at Sun, I released a new operating system too early and it nearly crushed the company. We had to run with a dual strategy and fix bugs fast.

True Love?

The first time I saw [the late] Geoffrey Frost’s black prototype for the Razr, I thought it was the coolest phone I’d ever seen.

Lots of the operators didn’t appreciate it. And we weren’t planning to make it in black. But I took it home and my family loved it.

Latest squeeze?

Software I saw the other day that will alert you if you have left your iron on, or if your washing machine springs a leak while you are away.

What would you most love to see?

I’d like to see mankind get some respect for each other and see if we could take it down a notch and solve some of these global tensions.

If money was no object?

My own private island. I love to get away for some peace and quiet.

PC or Mac?

PC. But I can’t sit in front of one for 12 hours at a time. When I go on one or two-day trips now, I just take my e-mail phone with me.

So I probably use a PC 30 per cent less than before.

Linux or Windows?

Windows on the Q, which has a qwerty keyboard and Microsoft Word. But lots of our mass market mobiles use Linux.

Google or not?

I use MyYahoo! as a personal portal and Google for search. Sometimes I’ll use MSN Search, if I’m on a Microsoft network.

How wrong have you been?

When I was at computer company Data General, I ran an ad campaign for Micro Nova with the theme Micro goes Macho. There was a lot of fuss. But if you don’t take risks and make mistakes, you won’t be successful.

Company to watch?

Any company that helps solve the energy management challenge for devices with mobile internet capabilities.

This is probably the single most limiting factor in enabling the next big thing: “Follow-Me Internet”. Could be semiconductor, software or alternative battery technology companies.

Leftfield technology?

Speech recognition – in the next 10 years, we’ll see a lot more of it.

You can already download your contacts to a car’s dashboard and dial Bob by saying his name.

But things to things – devices communicating with other devices – is going to be huge compared with person-to-person communications.

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