One of the lasting images from this past week's Supercomm show was FCC chairman Michael Powell, sitting regally in a couch, talking a lot but not really saying anything. With a continually ineffective performance record like his, if Powell were a CEO at any Supercomm exhibitor company, he'd have been fired long ago.
At the very least, Powell could have shown some respect for the Supercomm attendees by actually preparing a speech, where perhaps he might address some major issues or attempt to rally some support behind the FCC's ideas. Instead, he settled for a lame question-and-answer format, where an industry lapdog fed him softball questions. At one point the questioner, Telecommunications Industry Association president Matthew Flanigan, even shamelessly backed down from asking Powell if he thought he'd still be FCC commissioner next summer.
With any luck, whoever is elected president this fall will make a change at the FCC, the sooner the better. When people from all parts of the industry are calling for action from the FCC, it's time for more action and less pomposity. Unfortunately for the greater telecom industry, it's a message that Powell and the FCC aren't tuned into.
Party Like It's 1999
If nothing else, the Supercomm 2004 show in Chicago marked the return of excess at trade-show parties, with events from Pulver.com and Juniper Networks the most over-the-top. We'd have to give the unofficial nod for Best in Show to the Pulver.com gig, not in the least because the band there (a Seattle-based cover band called the Herding Cats) totally rocked, while Juniper's main attraction, actor Jim Belushi's ersatz blues band, couldn't hold a candle to real blues bands we saw later at real blues clubs.