Sell Phone

Sometimes, it’s difficult to pinpoint the impetus of an idea — or the originator of an innovation. Take, for example, the camera phone. Who knew that one man may very well have been responsible for coming up with one of the more ubiquitous consumer technologies?

A recent Slate piece, “The Camera Phone,” contends that the man behind that invention is one Philippe Kahn. Once CEO of Borland Software, Kahn went on to found Starfish Software, which was later acquired by Motorola and is now part of Nokia. He also had a hand in Lightsurf Technologies, which continued his work in mobile media.

Coming across this bit of information hit me like an epiphany — and it turns out that the “secret” hasn’t been well kept. Which begs the question: What other innovators have been forgotten and rediscovered? Why isn’t Kahn known as well as, say, some of the grandfathers of the Internet?