Magazine article Success

The Price of Innovation

Magazine article Success

The Price of Innovation

Article excerpt

IT WAS THE SUMMER OF 1988 when I first learned the price of innovation.

After a long day of selling real estate, my dad walked in our front door with a large black bag strapped to his shoulder. At first I thought it was a new briefcase, but it was too bulky. I'd never seen anything like it.

"Son," he said as the heavy bag thudded on the kitchen table, "this is the future!" In a grand gesture not typical of my dad, he opened the luggage to reveal a 2-pound cellular phone--the first I had ever seen in person.

Dad pulled out the phone and held it to his head. He looked as if he were holding Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's basketball shoe to his ear. He'd never looked cooler.

"All the best agents are getting them," he said, still justifying the purchase that set him back the equivalent of $5,000 in 2014 money. "Some people think these portable cellular radio phones will be as common as an electronic watch or an electronic calculator."

Suddenly my father was overcome with the urge to run a few errands and asked me to join him. Because the phone would come with us, I agreed.

The first stop was dropping off closing papers at a title company. I waited in the car as my dad went inside.

As soon as he was out of sight, like a flash of lightning I grabbed the cellphone from its perch. After admiring its tanklike design for a moment, I punched in the number of my buddy Chuck with the speed of a texting teenager today. I slid down low in the seat to keep from being seen. …

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