Martin Cooper kicked Alexander Graham Bell’s ass

One of my favorite people in all of human history is Martin Cooper. Ever heard of him?

Cooper was a member of the Motorola team that invented the first cellular telephone back in 1973.


While I am immensely appreciative of the convenience and joy that my iPhone provides on a daily basis, it is not Cooper’s inventiveness that I admire most.

It was the choice he made when deciding upon who to call first.

For his first public cellular phone call in human history, Cooper took to the New York City streets and called his rivals at AT&T and inform them that they had lost the race to build the first functioning cell phone.

The combination of New York’s busy street sounds and Cooper’s voice told the engineers at AT&T that they had been bested.

Now that was one hell of a phone call.

The perfect combination of comeuppance, spite, humor, and bravado.

The inventor’s version of my four favorite words:

I told you so.

Can you even imagine a better phone call?

Contrast this to Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, whose first call was to his assistant in the other room:

"Mr. Watson—Come here—I want to see you.”

Alexander Graham Bell might have been a great inventor, but he sucked at understanding the importance of the moment.

"Mr. Watson—Come here—I want to see you.”

Is that the best he could do?

It makes me wish someone a little wittier, a little meaner or someone with a greater flair for the dramatic had invented the first telephone.

Someone like the great Martin Cooper.