First Impressions of the 'Tele-Phone' From 1876

"The tele-phone is a curious device that might fairly find place in the magic of Arabian Tales."

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

March 6, 2015

4 Min Read
First Impressions of the 'Tele-Phone' From 1876

Nineteenth century communications technology met the 21st century in a series of Twitter posts this week.

Farooq Butt, SVP of business development and strategy for over-the-air power startup WiTricity, posted a series of tweets and retweets this week that make great points about the history of technology and the lessons we can learn today.

The first tweet to cross my eye:

Viewing Butt's Twitter stream (on my "pocket tele-phone") I saw he'd been tweeting about innovation and the history of technology for days.

Here's Butt on luxury and disruption -- an intersection service providers and tech companies struggle with:

If this were a classroom, my hand would be shooting in the air like Arnold Horshack's:

The tech company that understands affordable luxury is Apple -- and Apple's products drive considerable revenue for carriers.

Butt also tweeted about government shortsightedness in the face of technology innovation. It's nothing new:

And he retweeted a comment from 1979 that's even more relevant today in light of connected car innovations:

I interviewed Butt to find out more about the messages he was sending.

Butt says he's interested in the history of technology and innovation.

"People have had concerns throughout history that technology is going to make us all lose our humanity, it's going to make us lose our jobs," Butt says. "You can see that these fears have come to the surface and been repudiated every single time. Every time we have new technology, people rise up and say, 'This time it's different.' It's never that different."

I also asked Butt about his company. WiTricity uses magnetic fields to charge devices wirelessly, over the air. The company is working on applications that include mobile devices -- just hold them near a charging station to power up -- and electric cars that charge as soon as you drive them into the garage.

For more about OTT services (such as Twitter) and other services, visit Light Reading's Services content channel.

Just for the heck of it, two more of Butt's retweets:


And more Arnold Horshack, just because it's Friday:

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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