Nick Sears, MBA
Adjunct Faculty – MBA Program, Pacific Lutheran University
I’ve been fortunate to work on the creation and evolution of the Smartphone. It’s been an extraordinary journey that started with a huge phone that you carried in a bag and evolved into the small phone/computer that you now carry in your pocket.
I didn’t choose to work in high-tech, it chose me in 1984 when I was a Private in the US Army working as a paper pusher to earn college benefits. I can’t explain how but I was convinced that we were at the beginning of a technology revolution. So one day I walked into ComputerLand with $3,200 and walked out with an IBM PC (1 floppy disk drive), DOS, turbo pascal, lotus notes, wordstar and a dot matrix printer. During the day, I was a 40 word per minute Killing Machine. At night, I became a mild-mannered computer nerd.
In 1989, I joined McCaw Communications (CellularOne) as a Financial Analyst. Every year our telecom engineers would predict the arrival of “Wireless Data” but it never came. In 1994 our CEO, Jim Barksdale, gave a speech about the Internet, and for the second time in my life, I was convinced we were at the beginning of a technology revolution. In my free time, I learned HTML and created a plan for an Internet Shopping Mall. In 1995, I launched my first e-store (healthzone.com), but my Internet venture was cut short by family changes that forced me back to a regular paycheck working for a small wireless carrier that we grew into T-Mobile USA. I didn’t build a mall but we were the 1st carrier to sell phones over the Internet.
When the Internet exploded in the late 1990’s, Wireless Data got a face-lift. Consumers wanted to take their email and Internet with them. We needed to cut the cord to Internet modems just like we’d cut the cord to landline phones. In the year 2000, I took on a new mission at T-Mobile: Put a Computer, Cell Phone and the Internet into a single consumer device. I spent the next 13 years of my career helping to create and improve the modern day Smartphone. It’s been an incredible ride.