Philippe Kahn

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Philippe Kahn
Philippe Kahn Working on the first camera-phones
June 11th, 1997, Santa Cruz, CA: Image taken by Philippe Kahn after his daughter's birth.

Philippe Kahn (born March 16, 1962 (1962-03-16) (age 47)) is a technology innovator and entrepreneur, who is credited with creating the first camera phone solution sharing pictures instantly on public networks [1]. Kahn has founded four successful technology companies, including his current company, Fullpower Technologies[2], as well as Starfish Software, LightSurf Technologies and Borland Software. He is currently the CEO of Fullpower Technologies, a company which provides solutions converging life sciences, wireless technology, accelerometrics, nanotechnology and MEMS.


[edit] Education and early days

Kahn was educated at ETH Zurich, Switzerland (Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute), and University of Nice, France. Kahn received a masters in mathematics. He also studied musicology and classical flute at the Zurich Music Conservatory in Switzerland.[3]

In 1973, as a student, Kahn developed the software for the MICRAL, the earliest non-kit personal computer based on a microprocessor. The MICRAL was marketed for vertical applications, and is now credited by the Computer History Museum as the first ever microprocessor-based personal computer.[4]

Kahn is married to Sonia Lee, who co-founded LightSurf and Fullpower Technologies. They raise four children. Together, they run an environmental charity, the Lee-Kahn Foundation. Kahn is known for his passion for classical music and he plays the flute semi-professionally. Furthermore he is competitive in sailboat racing and leads his sailing team Pegasus Racing.

[edit] Technology

Kahn has founded four software companies: Borland, Starfish Software (acquired by Motorola in 1998), LightSurf Technologies (acquired by VeriSign in 2005), and recently Fullpower Technologies, founded in 2003.

[edit] Fullpower Technologies (2003-Present)

Fullpower, founded in 2003, is not yet public, focused on the convergence of life sciences, wireless technology, accelerometrics, nanotechnology and MEMS. Fullpower's MotionX is the leading motion recognition technology platform. Fullpower's MotionX Technology Platform has applications in renewable energy, mobile devices, wearable devices, imaging, sports, gaming, life-sciences, logistics and security solutions. Little information has been publicly leaked on the specific implementations of MotionX Technology as most solutions are held highly confidential. A list of trademarks on including TapTap, ShakeShake, TiltTilt, and Tilt 'n Roll provide some indication of what future consumer applications of Fullpower's MotionX Technology Platform.[5]

On June 10, 2008 Fullpower launched a new generation of applications for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch. The first application released was MotionX-Poker, a multi-touch and motion-based dice game for the iPhone. MotionX-Poker was immediately available for sale worldwide through Apple's App Store. [6]

[edit] LightSurf Technologies (1997-2005)

Kahn is credited[7] with creating the camera phone in 1997. The camera phone became the founding vision of LightSurf.

The impetus for this invention was the birth of Kahn's child, Sophie. He was so excited and wanted to show off pictures so he jury-rigged a cell phone with a digital camera and sent off photos in real time. In a recent NPR interview, Kahn discusses the social impact of the camera phone.[8] In another article with[9], Kahn discusses the invention of the camera phone and its uses today.[8] LightSurf built the first end-to-end solution for picture messaging. LightSurf technology powers the offerings of Sprint, Verizon and many other leading carriers in the world. LightSurf is now owned by VeriSign, who acquired the company in 2005 for $315 million as it was filing its IPO. The camera phone is arguably one of the most successful consumer electronic devices of all time with more than 1 billion projected to be sold worldwide in 2008. Work on the camera phone infrastructure started in 1997. In Japan J-phone used the blueprint architecture set forward by Kahn and his team. The first handset was made by Sharp Electronics and the whole system complete with picture-sharing was made public in 1999 with excellent commercial success by 2001. In the North American market, Sprint and Verizon partnered with LightSurf. However, Sprint was the first to deploy a commercial system in 2002. The Sprint system, designed, developed and managed by LightSurf, was a combination of ASP/MSP solutions. The first US camera phone was the Sanyo 8100 running on the Sprint infrastructure with the LightSurf Picture-Mail system.

[edit] Starfish Software (1994-1998)

Starfish Software was founded in 1994 by Philippe Kahn and Sonia Lee. The founding vision of Starfish was "global synchronization and integration of wireless and wireline devices", which translated with the TrueSync platform to: "Enter or edit information anywhere, synchronization is automatic everywhere". Starfish developed much of the core IP for device synchronization, especially in the wireless industry. TrueSync was the first Over-The-Air (OTA) synchronization system. Starfish was successfully acquired by Motorola for $325 million in 1998 and subsequently became a division of Nokia after Motorola's downturn. Today Starfish's technology is an integral part of the Nokia platform[citation needed].

[edit] Borland (1982-1995)

Realizing that even innovation such as the MICRAL would not be commercially viable in Europe, Kahn arrived in the US as a tourist in 1982 and won a job with Hewlett-Packard, subsequently losing it because of his undocumented status. After a period of consulting activities, he set up Borland International, although he was still not a legal U.S. resident at the time.[10] After four years in the U.S. on a tourist visa, Kahn was granted a Green Card in 1986. He is today a naturalized U.S. citizen.[11] He came to Silicon Valley without many possessions. The Borland company was started above a garage, in a rented, two room space over an actual Jaguar repair shop in Scott's Valley, CA. Kahn liked to joke he was starting his business the "American way, in a garage". Kahn was financially strapped, with little income, and was unable to purchase cars for his family due to his immigrant and credit status. Former Zilog Inc. advertising manager, Charmaine R. Taylor co-signed for two vehicles, and placed advertising for Borland products her agency created. This allowed him to stretch his non-existent budget long enough to garner sales to pay for the $45,000. in advertising. The first Turbo Pascal product ads exploded Borland's name in Silicon Valley, and launched the company financially.

Borland's first commercial success was Turbo Pascal, immediately followed by the first desktop organizer, SideKick. Borland went on to have a line of PC development tools, as well as a suite of office products that were in direct competition with Microsoft and Lotus/IBM. Borland filed its IPO in London in 1986, successfully, followed by secondary offerings in the US in 1989 and 1991. Philippe Kahn, the inventor and technologist, had become a successful high-tech business executive.

Borland competed with Microsoft in the 80s and early 90s. President, CEO, and Chairman of Borland since inception and taking Borland without venture capital from no revenues to a $500 million run-rate, Kahn and the Borland board came to a disagreement on how to focus the company. Kahn was forced to resign by the Borland board from his position as CEO in January 1995.[12] However, he remained on the board as a director until November 1996, showing support and loyalty in the controversy until he finally resigned from that position.[13] Kahn had been the President, CEO and Chairman of Borland for 12 years.

[edit] Philanthropy

Sonia Lee and Philippe Kahn established the Lee-Kahn Foundation in 1998. The foundation sponsors local and national non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing human growth through increased access to health care, education and the arts as well as animal welfare.[14]

[edit] Music

Kahn has recorded jazz albums with professionals that are among his friends. He has recorded three albums that mix modern classical influences such as Dutilleux, Jolivet and Debussy with straight ahead jazz. His albums are available on most online music stores. In 1990 he released "Pacific High" featuring: John Abercrombie, Alex Acuna, Richie Beirach, Billy Hart, Ray Kane and Dave Liebman. In 1991 he released a CD called "Walking on the Moon," featuring his own performance and promoting space exploration. Later in 1992 he released "Paradiso" featuring: John Abercrombie, Alex Acuna, Alan Broadbent, Terence Blanchard, Peter Erskine, Dave Eshelman and John Patitucci.

[edit] Sailing and sports

Kahn's focus on the environment and the outdoors lead him to the sport of sailing. Kahn's sailing team, Pegasus Racing[15], competes in many world championships each year around the world.[16] The team's accomplishments include winning the Melges 24 world championships, the Transpac race multiple times, 1st and 3rd place at the 2006 International 14 World Championships, 1st at the Mumm 30 2006 North American Championship, 1st at the 2006 18' International Skiff Regatta in San Francisco, 1st at the 2006 Key West Melges 24 Regatta, 1st at the 2006 St. Francis Perpetual ZTrophy. Kahn's son, Samuel "Shark" Kahn has placed in the top ten at numerous world championships and has been the youngest member of the US National Sailing Team at age 15. Recent sailing achievements include winning, with Richard Clarke, the double handed division of the 2007 Transpacific Yacht Race race from Los Angeles to Hawaii.[17] In this Gizmodo interview [18], Kahn discusses the race.

[edit] Philippe's Law

In the early 1990s while at Borland, Kahn postulated a formula of software development productivity that, in a 1992 COMDEX keynote speech, he named Philippe's Law. The law states that the productivity of a software developer in a team of N people is diminished by dividing it by the cube root of N.[19]

[edit] Philippe's 3 Rules of Software Craftsmanship

In late 2007 in his keynote address at the MEMS Executive Congress[20], Kahn formulated what he called "Philippe's 3 Rules of Software Craftsmanship:

Rule #1 - "Start with a vision"

Rule #2 - "Throwing more bodies at software projects only makes things worse"

Rule #3 - "There are three vectors that drive software craftsmanship: quality, schedule, and features. The challenge is that you only get to pick two"

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Parks, Maney, Agger, Krey
  2. ^ Fullpower Technologies, Inc.
  3. ^ Kahn
  4. ^ Computer History Museum
  5. ^
  6. ^ Marketwire Press Release
  7. ^ Carrol, Paul B. and Chunka Mui. 2008. Billion-Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn from the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years. Portfolio. ISBN 1591842190.
  8. ^ a b Kahn, NPR interview
  9. ^ When camera phones attack.- By Michael Agger(Posted Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007, at 6:21 PM ET)Slate Magazine
  10. ^ Unz
  11. ^ Wortman
  12. ^ Kellner, Krey, Jeffers, Parks
  13. ^ Borland press release
  14. ^
  15. ^ Philippe Kahn and Pegasus Racing, Racing Sailboats Worldwide
  16. ^
  17. ^ Transpac 2007 had everything but wind, Trans Pacific Yacht Club press release
  18. ^ Philippe Kahn: Emailing the Father of the Camera Phone as He Sails Across the Great Blue Pacific - By Brian Lam, 7:22 PM on Thu Jul 19 2007
  19. ^ Zucker
  20. ^ MEMS Executive Congress
  21. ^
  22. ^ Johnson

[edit] References

[edit] External links

NAME Kahn, Philippe
SHORT DESCRIPTION Entrepreneur, camera phone inventor
DATE OF BIRTH March 16, 1952
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