Opinion: The Famous and the Not-Nearly-Famous-Enough

Why isn’t the inventor of the cell phone a household name?

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

I’ve noticed that when most people ask me about my favorite people I’ve interviewed, what they really want to know is my favorite famous people I’ve interviewed. So I’ve learned to skip right to the stories of Patti Smith, Lou Reed, the Coen Brothers, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, etc. But the truth is the best interviews don’t have anything to do with fame; like anybody else, I’m most happy when I’m talking to the people I find the most interesting. Sometimes they’re famous (Smith and John Waters, for instance, are both famous and endlessly engrossing), but most of the time, not.

In fact, it seems like the conversations that stick with me the most are the ones I have with people whom I’m convinced should be much more famous than they are. A lot of those people are right here in Santa Cruz County, and they probably have no idea how psyched I am when I have an excuse to call them up and ask them about something.

Other times they’re people who you’d think would be known around the world, considering what they’ve achieved, but for one reason or another, they’re not. It’s like that with the subject of my cover story this week, Martin Cooper. His invention of the cell phone puts him right up there with Steve Jobs in terms of revolutionizing how we live. And yet, most people don’t know who he is or what he did. That’s unfortunate, because not only is he an important creator of technology, he’s also a remarkable thinker on the subject of philosophy. I think my interview with him in this issue will show you what I mean.



Letters to the Editor

Re: Rise Together

Excellent article- very informative, interesting and well written! What a wonderful, inspirational, diverse group doing fantastic work together to benefit so many in the community. Rise Together is a model movement that should be replicated throughout the U.S.!

— Peggy

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