More excerpts from my upcoming book, The New Polymath due in June. The book celebrates innovators from around the world including two from the Emerald Isle.
BTW - The text is pre-copy edit and likely to go through some changes.
“Penrose Quay in Cork celebrates the tens of thousands of Irish emigrants that left its shores and enriched the world. In the 1800s, vendors walked the quay offering passengers the last of clean water and cooked meals they would find for a while. Cork’s modern-day son Pat Phelan offers today’s global nomads something as elusive: reasonable mobile roaming service. Phelan wants to create the first “global mobile company.” In his vision, the world would become one giant area code with no roaming charges.
Roaming is 4% of mobile revenue but 35% of mobile margins for larger telcos . I am counting on telcos remaining addicted to those margins while we offer rates which are 60 to 80% lower. With my MAXroam, you don't need a fancy $500 phone, you don't need flaky Wi-Fi, and you don't need to download any software. All you need is an unlocked GSM phone and to replace your SIM card with ours and you are good to go in most of the world.”
“When he is impressed, a distinctive nod accompanies a smile. Tony McCormack is nodding vigorously as a visitor shows him his house on Google Maps on a PDA. But the roads leading to his house in Longford, Ireland, are mostly unnamed on the map. “We are low tech here in rural Ireland,” he says with a shrug.
But once you get McCormack talking, he catalogs how technology has changed his dairy farm. A decade ago, calving season meant interrupted sleep as he woke in middle of night to check on his cows. Now he can monitor them via web cam from the warmth of his home office.
His cows have transponders that help him customize the quantity and composition of feed for each one. Try doing that manually, when cows eat on average eight times a day. On large farms, farmers use global positioning systems (GPS) to apply fertilizers more precisely. McCormack gets animated when he describes how he had heard GPS tracking had helped track down stolen tractors being shipped to Poland.
As for unnamed roads—that’s still the beauty of Ireland. You get to stop and ask neighbors for directions. And those conversations meander into so many other topics in “social networks” have been going for centuries.”
Mousepad Photo Credit - zazzle.com