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Dr. Philip Neches
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Dr. Philip M. Neches has more than 30 years of leadership experience in technology. He is Chairman of Foundation Ventures LLC, an investment bank serving information technology and life science companies. Previously, Neches was Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of AT&T’s Multimedia Products and Services Group and Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist at NCR. Neches was a founder of Teradata Corporation, which was acquired by NCR and AT&T in 1992. He is a Director of Evolving Systems, Inc. (EVOL), and a Trustee of the California Institute of Technology, where he earned his BS, MS and PhD in computer science.

Entries by Dr. Philip Neches

A Crash Course in Debt Ceiling Consequences

(19) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 8:49 PM

Imagine you are driving in your car on the freeway. Despite all the traffic, the engine is purring. Then imagine someone pokes a big hole in the oil pan. Oil runs out of the engine, onto the highway. Then what happens?

Your engine seizes as the metal parts rub against...

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The Broken World of Book Publishing

(20) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 2:20 PM

A friend recommended a book to me. He normally has very strong opinions, on just about everything. But he said that this book changed his views, and that was perhaps the best endorsement he could have made. I wanted to read that book.

So I did what any 21st-century...

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Landing on Mars Takes the Right Stuff

(6) Comments | Posted August 12, 2012 | 5:21 PM

Curiosity landed on Mars. I tell my golf-obsessed friends that what JPL accomplished is like teeing off at Saint Andrews and making a hole in one at Pebble Beach -- with the same ball. My JPL friends quarrel that the analogy is not exact. Perhaps, but it shows just how...

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The China Syndrome

(16) Comments | Posted December 22, 2011 | 9:21 AM

When smart people with very different viewpoints come to similar conclusions, it's wise to take notice. In the Left corner: Dr. Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist, Princeton professor, MSNBC regular, New York Times columnist. In the Right corner: Dr. Jack Wheeler, aide to President Reagan and both Presidents Bush,...

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The Google Doodle: A Tribute to Bob Noyce

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 8:42 AM

Google celebrated the 84th birthday of Robert Norton "Bob" Noyce with a "doodle" depicting Google's name in the middle of a microchip. Noyce invented the integrated circuit shortly after founding Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. The rest, as they say, is history.

Some amplifications: the Google "doodle" is the graphic that...

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Lessons From Machiavelli

(0) Comments | Posted August 17, 2011 | 4:55 PM

Most people know Machiavelli only from The Prince. He dashed off that short book in the vain hope of landing a job with the Medici family, and thus ending his forced unemployment. Machiavelli had been a senior diplomat for the Republic of Florence until the Medici family took over. Machiavelli...

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Corporations and People

(6) Comments | Posted August 15, 2011 | 10:44 AM

Mitt Romney, facing a rowdy crowd on the Iowa hustings, opened a rhetorical can of worms by declaring, "Corporations are people, my friend." "Really?" say the Democrats, questioning both Romney's grasp of the dictionary and his grasp of politics. So just what, really, is a corporation?

According to...

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The Pot and the Kettle

(5) Comments | Posted August 9, 2011 | 10:30 AM

Well before the totally "Made in Congress" U.S. debt ceiling crisis dominated the headlines, anyone paying attention knows that Europe's long-running debt crisis furiously boils away and the U.S. economy teeters on the brink of a double-dip recession. This has been going on for weeks, if not months. So...

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Would a Third Party Hurt or Help Obama in 2012?

(11) Comments | Posted August 1, 2011 | 3:56 PM

Conventional wisdom holds that a third party candidacy is bad news for the incumbent. But does that logic hold for the unique circumstances of 2012? Is it possible that a third party candidacy from the Left could help, rather than hurt, Obama's re-election prospects?

As Al Smith said,...

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MAD About the Debt Ceiling

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2011 | 11:58 AM

As the debt ceiling debate swirls around Washington, few observers think it will come to an actual default. In the political calculus, no one is willing to believe that the Parties will engage in a form of Mutually Assured Destruction ("MAD") of the "full faith and credit of the United...

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Debt Ceiling Debate: Obama's Turnip Day?

(51) Comments | Posted July 15, 2011 | 6:00 PM

Raising the debt ceiling is a hoary Washington ritual. We've done it every year since my grandfather's days, except for a few years of surpluses during Clinton's presidency. For the national debt to, per the 14th Amendment, "not be questioned," it must be enacted "by law." In other words,...

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Natural Gas Pains

(39) Comments | Posted July 14, 2011 | 3:17 PM

Not quite ten years ago, petroleum engineers hit on the idea of combining two well-known techniques -- horizontal drilling and fracking -- to make it possible to recover natural gas from shale rock formations. And the result was a bonanza of new domestic natural gas supply. Now, it...

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Where the Rubber Meets the Skype

(2) Comments | Posted May 11, 2011 | 5:12 PM

In the early days of my company, one of our first big customers described our system as "where the rubber meets the sky:" wildly visionary yet entirely practical. It was a great complement.

In 2003, the founders of Skype had a vision that was both wild and practical:...

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Operation Vengeance

(1) Comments | Posted May 9, 2011 | 6:10 PM

Pearl Harbor was not the deadliest battle in World War II: more than six times as many Americans died over three years later in the Battle of the Bulge. 9/11 was not the deadliest disaster in U.S. history: more of our fellow citizens perished in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900...

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Birth Certificate Reveals Obama's Secret

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2011 | 1:20 PM

The subject of President Obama's birth certificate occasioned spilling far too much ink, both real and virtual. So what have we learned?

I leave the politics to others. The one fact I learned from studying the President's Certificate of Live Birth is that he entered the world at 7:24 p.m....

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Weather the Storm: Blame Congress

(8) Comments | Posted April 6, 2011 | 11:59 AM

Incumbent Presidents who seek re-election usually win. As Matthew Dowd pointed out, it takes a combination of unfavorable circumstances to defeat an incumbent: a bad domestic economy, overseas troubles, and a charismatic opponent. Since 1900, such circumstances derailed the re-election bids of Herbert Hover (1932), Jimmy Carter...

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AT&T and T-Mobile: Back to the Future

(10) Comments | Posted March 24, 2011 | 2:37 PM

Many analysts complain, with justification, that the proposed merger of T-Mobile into AT&T would create a duopoly in domestic cell phone service. The combined company would have roughly 42% market share; Verizon, the current leader, would come in second at 32%; Sprint would be a poor...

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An Extraordinary Machine

(19) Comments | Posted March 16, 2011 | 10:48 AM

A nuclear power reactor is an extraordinary machine. All other machines generate heat while they are running, but stop generating heat when they are turned off. A reactor continues to generate heat, even when it is turned off. That is the root of the problem in Fukushima, Japan....

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A Hospital in Egypt

(3) Comments | Posted March 7, 2011 | 11:56 AM

In the Beltway's scandal of the day, the New York Times reports that Egypt's military duped the US military into paying for a commercial, civilian hospital. Miffed, the Pentagon moved to cut off funding for the project and even tried to recoup some of the expenses...

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Watson, Come Here, We Need You

(4) Comments | Posted February 16, 2011 | 11:19 PM

A machine named Watson became the new Jeopardy champion on national television last night. Another supposedly uniquely human achievement, mastery of trivia game shows, fell, just like chess did a few years ago. What should we make of it?

For some, the event echoes the apocalyptic science fiction...

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