& cplSiteName &

Come On, Pilgrim

Phil Harvey
The Philter
Phil Harvey
7/26/2007
50%
50%

3:00 PM -- From The Philter's Purple Prose File, did you see the love letter USA Today wrote to retired AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre?

The former hard-charger is referred to in the piece as "the John Wayne of telecom." I agree, but only inasmuch as The Duke never created a shred of shareholder value in his career, either. (See Letter to Ed Whitacre.)

And do shareholders really want someone perceived as wooden, unapproachable, and out of touch -- sorry, macho -- along as their tour guide to a digital future?

Contrast "John Wayne" Whitacre's career with that of BT's CEO Ben Verwaayen. Say what you will about Ben-Hur, he's the one who will leave the legacy of a truly transformed incumbent carrier.

Whitacre's AT&T did get really big really fast, but its wireless assets have emerged as the telco's shining star -- the crutch that props up the rest of Ma Bell's old bones.

U-verse is an impressive effort, no doubt, but the key talking point on U-verse is that the company again failed to leave its past behind. To wit, only phone companies are obsessed with preserving phone wires. The rest of the world wants something more... I dunno, this century?

Still, check out this bit of the USAT story. It's just too good:

In the annals of the U.S. telecommunications industry, a few names stand out. Alexander Graham Bell and Theodore Vail are among them.

Bell invented the telephone. Vail infused the Bell Telephone System with business discipline and a greater sense of purpose.

Add one more name to the list: Edward Whitacre Jr.

Though he's probably old enough, I wouldn't put Whitacre in the same peer group as Bell and Vail. He's more like Exxon's Lee Raymond. He stayed the course, retired in style, and left legions of people wringing their hands about the future.

— Phil Harvey, Barely Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
sfwriter
50%
50%
sfwriter,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:04:55 PM
re: Come On, Pilgrim
Really, Ed Whitacre on the same level as Alexander Graham Bell? Barf. What he was really good at was stifling competition.
More Blogs from The Philter
There's an interesting tension between how much SDN can benefit service providers and how it could threaten their established businesses
Stanford's Nick McKeown says SDN won't take hold until networking equipment vendors give up some control
OneAPI may provide developers a reason to build apps and content for networks, not just mobile operating systems
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg defends his company's managed services deals and says he'd rather invest in R&D than make expensive acquisitions
Use our message boards to share photos from your Barcelona experience this week
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed