Not all smart people work at the X-Prize Foundation

This is my response to yesterday’s message from Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize director Mark Winter, who said my objections to his contest design were without merit. Let me make a point here: this isn’t about me receiving $10 million. We all know that’s not going to happen. It’s about designing a contest that actually encourages innovation. Please read on as I explain… 

I appreciate your position, Mark, and might have sent the same reply were I standing in your shoes. However I am sure I’ve uncovered exactly the sort of poor contest design that may well doom your effort. As such I will go ahead tomorrow and publish the letter I wrote to Paul Jacobs so my readers can weigh-in on this issue. Certainly […]

X-Prize Foundation defends their poorly-conceived Qualcomm Tricorder contest

X_PRIZE_Foundation_logo_HiRes_jpgThis message from the X-Prize Foundation is in response to the letter I published yesterday. They seem to feel the contest is fine as-is and my objections are without merit.
Dear Bob,
I am the Senior Director in charge of this competition and I appreciate receiving your letter of interest dated January 11.  First, let me offer you my highest level of encouragement for your creation of a SIDS monitoring device. As you know, medical technology is one of the most difficult areas to make significant progress in. To make something really work and pass through all the regulatory hurdles in […]

Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize is another poorly conceived contest

tricorderSo of course I wrote a letter to Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs. This went out January 11th and was delivered on the morning of the 14th. No answer yet.

Dear Mr. Jacobs:

As a professional blogger I’d normally be posting this letter on my web site but this time I’ll first try a more graceful approach.  You see I have a beef with your Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize and I want you to make some changes.

In 2002 my son Chase died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at age 73 days. I wrote about it at the time and received great support from the Internet community. My pledge to do something about SIDS manifested […]

Reagan and Newtown

RonaldReaganCowboyHatAs the father of a precocious first grader I can relate somewhat to the children and parents of Newtown. My son Fallon goes to a school with no interior hallways, all exterior doorways, and literally no way to deny access to anyone with a weapon. Making this beautiful school defensible would logically begin with tearing it down. But the school design is more a nod to good weather than it is to bad defensive planning. The best such planning begins not with designing schools as fortresses or filling them with police. It doesn’t start with banning assault weapons, either, though I’m not opposed to that. The best defensive planning starts with identifying people in the […]

Electric flight of fancy

One thing about mature markets is they spawn opportunity through pure complexity. What does the press do but sit around discussing the size and depth and pimples on the bum of mature markets? But we spend so much time discussing the implications of what has already happened that we don’t give much space to what’s coming in the form of new ideas. So for the next week or so I’ll be doing a series of columns about new ideas, especially new technologies, that ought to interest us all.

Toward this end I’d like to invite any mad scientists to share with me what they’d like the world to know.

Leading by example I’ll start with a project […]