Philippe Kahn

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Philippe Kahn

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


  • We are less than a decade away from the medical lab the size of a sugar cube.
    • Founding speech for Fullpower, 2003, focusing in particular on the power of MEMS and Nanotechnology and its applications to life sciences.
  • Too many are focused on rewriting the past, invent the future!
    • Comments made in a speach at the computer museum regarding the energy spent in Silicon Valley at managing perception as opposed to creating new technology.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The power of Open Source is the power of the people. The people rule.
  • 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.
    • Interview with the Times reporter, 2002.
  • Every day I practice 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.
    • Interview with the Financial Times reporter, 2002.
  • If people would turn their TVs off for half the time, study science and practice an instrument, they'd be virtuosos and have Ph.D.s!
    • Interview with the Times reporter, 2002.
  • 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.
  • Just like a picture is worth 1000 words, a camera phone is worth 1000 cell phones!
    • Speech at the firt Future Imaging conference in Monterey, California.
  • I figured that I wasn't as smart or talented as the other kids around, so I just had to work twice as hard. Surpisingly, 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.
  • 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.
    • On financial planning at a speech at the Smithonian.
  • 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.


  • If you win you want to win fairly, with class and respect your oponent. Some companies look at everything as something that should be theirs. It can be an invention, market share, or a contract. They don't have an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion. The notion of fairness means nothing to them. The only thing they understand is leverage. There is a better way.

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