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Whatever Happened to our Ability to Nurture Talent?

Strategists had better start asking themselves what it means to the American economy when young brilliant Americans like Mark Spencer who turns 30 next month chooses Open Source and starts his own company and 28 year old Sean Moss-Pultz, a native born Californian, whom I interviewed at e-Tel yesterday has to go to work for FIC in Taipei to allow his talents to grow?

What’s FIC you say? Founded in 1980, First International Computer, Inc (FIC) is a world leader in the design and production of computer motherboards, graphics cards, PC systems, notebooks, mobile solutions, and other electronic devices. “Publicly listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE 3701), FIC has a workforce of over 5000 employees spread amongst 6 supplier hubs, 10 manufacturing and assembly sites and 7 branch offices.”

Sean went to work there about four years ago, got involved in the design of some phones made for the Chinese market. Seeing how closed the devices were made him frustrated. What happened next could not, I believe, have happened at Motorola. This is sad because if Motorola is to have a bright future it must be able to happen. But it won’t since Motorola’s cell phone business exists at the whim of the carriers. And so far no one seems to have the nerve to do what FIC has just done>

Sean told management that he wanted to build a totally open cell phone. They said OK show us what you think the software design would look like. If we like it we can certainly build the hardware to accommodate. Sean created OpenMoko. They liked it. They have built an awesome device. There are pictures galore but you have to see it to appreciate it. I have. The screen is amazing. The I-phone boasts 150 pixels per inch. The Neo 1973 two hundred fifty pixels. I watched the phone boot Linux, the lines scrolled by in 4 point type, crisp clear easily legible.

For what an open phone ecosystem looks like see this.

Dave Isenberg and Sean both told me that he will attend F2C in Washington on Monday and Tuesday (March 5 and 6). Buy a ticket Hear Bruce Sterling and touch the future – a Neo1973 running OpenMoko. And for some insight into why they are smarter in Taiwan that the US – read my recent interview with Simon Lin.

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