Philippe Kahn

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Philippe Kahn

Philippe Kahn (born 16 March 1952) Inventor of the camera phone, CEO of Fullpower, Founder of Starfish Software, Lightsurf technologies, Borland, and the Lee-Kahn Foundation. Author of dozens of technology patents, Kahn is one of the most prolific innovators in the high tech industry.


  • We're trying to change the Kleenex mentality of technology - you buy a smartband or an Android Wear watch and next year you'll throw it away. This is a horrible world we're preparing for the next generation. We have to get away from that crazy approach, as we look at the resources left on this planet. We need to be able to create objects that are worth keeping and upgrading.
  • Sitting outside a cafe people watching would be no fun if everyone looks the same. It would be an Orwellian world where everyone wears the same thing and uses the same phone. Wearable tech is diversity.
  • We were trying to monitor the sailboat, trying to help us keep it upright and optimized, and it turned out that sailing became an incredible practical laboratory.
  • We are less than a decade away from the medical lab the size of a sugar cube.
  • Too many are focused on rewriting the past, invent the future!
    • Comments made in a speech at the computer museum regarding the energy spent in Silicon Valley at managing perception as opposed to creating new technology.[specific citation needed]
  • Invention is the root of innovation. Innovation is the major force for change in the future.
    • Comments made in the Q and A part of a speech at the Silicon Valley computer museum in 2005 regarding the energy spent in Silicon Valley at managing perception as opposed to creating new technology. In response to a question about the power of venture capital and consumer marketing and how it is determining the future of technology.[specific citation needed]
  • Trying to solve the worlds problems by making things 5% more efficient is like trying to play the violin with gardening gloves. Not much good will come out of it. We must invent new ways!
    • On why saving a bit of power here or there will not solve our energy problems. Comments made at the opening of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth.
  • Radically simplify the user interface, reinvent it, enough face lifts! You can put as much lipstick on a chicken as you want, it's never going to look good!
  • If I had a choice, I would have wanted to be Debussy or Couperin. I listen and it is magic. I just can't understand how they conceived enchantment. I couldn't so I decided to be a mathematician, the next best thing.
  • Every day I practise my flute. I've been doing it for decades and every day I find something new that inspires me for all the rest that I do in my days.
  • If people would turn their TVs off for half the time, study science and practice an instrument, they'd be virtuosos and have Ph.Ds!
  • We fight for programmer's right!
    • Regarding the Lotus litigation that Kahn won in the Supreme Court. Lotus maintained that the orders of the words in a menu were copyrightable and not just functional. For example "Cut, Copy, Paste" could be copyrighted. Kahn's point was that if it was so, soon all software development and innovation would cease.[specific citation needed]
  • I figured that I wasn't as smart or talented as the other kids around, so I just had to work twice as hard. Surprisingly, results showed quickly. I was hooked!
    • On what it takes to keep on building company after company and innovating, fire-chat with Stewart Alsop, Agenda Conference.[specific citation needed]
  • We focus on building innovation and inventing technology futures and we figure that it will take care of the rest. So far, it's done wonders.
  • I am surprised at all the people in the high-tech industry focused on "making money"… If that's all they want to do, they should have a $100 printing press in their basements and they will truly "make money." Instead, if we focus all that energy on innovation, we'll change the world for the best.

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