This is a repost of Steve Faktor’s original Forbes article
I’ll be first to admit that I’m a reforming “innovation” trollop. I’ve thrown the word around too lightly, at any old sailor. I need a hot shower and a Brillo pad… What’s so bad about “innovation”? It doesn’t mean much…and maybe never did. Today, we use it to describe an iPhone newsreader app and the reinvention of space travel by SpaceX. That’s more range than Meryl Streep. My business is about creating great products and services, so I look for great tech partners. Some are startups led by brilliant entrepreneurs, bursting with optimism and 5-Hour Energy. As they describe their app, game, or web service, their words scream Johnny Depp, but the reality is a bit more Judah Friedlander. No shame in that, but I sometimes wonder how we could get these brilliant minds to work on meatier problems. My concern isn’t for them, but for us. The US needs jobs and as I wrote in Econovation, the big numbers still come from physical, capital-intensive businesses. Here are three ways we can help make brilliant minds deliver bigger results.
It wasn’t long ago that bashing Microsoft was as cool as Hootie and the Blowfish and Blossom. There was no shortage of material – mangled pasting in Office, hideous mobile apps, and spooky Windows error messages that made you build a panic room. Even governments got in on it. The EU forced Microsoft to remove anti-competitive features from Windows. I think they even made Bill Gates perform The Nutcracker at a Belgian waffle house. Things have changed. Google and Apple now make Microsoft seem downright cuddly and lovable. Rather than send CEO Steve Ballmer a teddy bear to celebrate this budding bromance, I thought I’d give him something far more practical – an iPhone. I’m joking. I’d like to propose a way to revive Windows Phone 7, the company’s creative, but struggling new mobile operating system. Sadly, these advanced phones are already sharing a discount rack with rotary dial Nokias and the Motorola RAZR MC Hammer Edition.