EET: Can you tell me some more about your plans for a center for technological innovation in New York and Earl Monroe's involvement with you in this?
Murdock: Right now, as we speak, I am in the process of setting up a not-for-profit, called Innovators of Today and Tomorrow. We're looking to allocate at least $20 million to set up a technology center for innovation, and we stress that every area of technology from manufacturing to packaging to RF and analog design, embedded design, software technologies, sensor design, wireless technology, router technology, system science, communication technologies, server technologies, search technologies, micro-electronics and nanotechnology must be applied. And we will demand that it be applied to real-life examples, having African American youth work hand in hand with experts. There's one mandate, and that is to develop patentable technology. We want to develop tomorrow's technocrats from the African American youth community.
All of Earl Monroe's contacts in music and sports, I'm sure, would welcome and participate in such a historical undertaking. Earl represents some of the most important basketball sports digital content in the entire world, and his content and that of his peers are perfect for the beyond-virtual world that will affect the games marketplace as well as other, yet-to-be defined industries that can be created.
EET: Have you gotten support for the project from anybody in the city or state of New York?
Murdock: We've spoken to a number of local politicians, and it seems to me that the interest level is there. There seems to be a groundswell of support.
I myself would love to invest as much money as possible in the center once I sell IGM. I think that the opportunity is there for most high-tech giants to participate by donating $1 million or more each and providing the technologies from their companies. Every donor company would sit on our advisory board, and a small board of directors [would comprise] industry notables from business, academics and finance. I would like government research and engineering schools and leading business schools to provide innovative technologies and business methods.
But more important, in order for this to really work, I would need direct access on a continual basis to all the CEOs, because from what I know of this industry, everything starts and stops at the CEO level.
EET: This is really your dream, to build this innovation center?
Murdock: It's a dream that I've been holding close to the vest for nearly 25 years.
EET: You talked about the importance of investment. Are you involved as an investor yourself, or with any investment groups that are looking for innovative ideas in the African American community?
Murdock: Yes. IGM is now in the process of being granted one or more patents, and I'm prepared to sell the company when the right deal presents itself once they are issued. I am forming an angel investment advisory company called FJE International Unlimited, because most of the great technologies in the African American community never see the light of day, and that's a terrible thing.
EET: Can you cite some accomplishments that have gone unrecognized?
Murdock: Dr. Mark Hannah did pioneering work for Silicon Graphics Inc. He was one of the primary architects of silicon graphics technology. Donald August did some pioneering work with Apple when they first developed the Newton. One of IBM's fellows, Dr. Mark Dean, is a brilliant African American technologist. These are people who have contributed greatly to the industry, though if you ask the average American who they are, nobody knows them.
EET: It sounds to me as though accomplished members of the African American tech community need to work a bit harder to create more visibility. Are you suggesting that?
Murdock: The African American community has a limited amount of control in how their image is portrayed right now. All the great media companies should be dedicated to changing society's perceptions, because African Americans have contributed greatly to technology, yet we are invisible, and that's not a good thing.
EET: What about Black History Month and other programs that have become pretty visible?
Murdock: I would like to go around the country with a sponsor so that we can talk about the [past and present] contributions of African Americans and about what the the future contributions can be and should be, because I've found that the subject matter is nonexistent. In order to create an intellectual dialogue, you have to raise the consciousness.
The technology center of innovation is one of the best solutions for changing things. Speaking to kids who are exposed to technology on a minor level, showing them real examples of real technology that is in their minds' reach, can inspire many. I've was inspired [in that way], and I want to make it my life mission to inspire others.
I always think about the big picture. If I cannot serve my country well, then what good is all the education that I have received? I love this country, don't want to be anyplace else right now, and I just want to see us stay strong.
I don't want to be invisible anymore. It makes you feel less important; it makes you feel that you're not a human being. I hope that we can move beyond that consciousness and go to something better, and in fact I know we can, because we are America. We're the greatest country on earth, we have the greatest vision on earth, and we just need to get more people involved in the great vision everybody.
All these kids love being American too. It's just that they don't know what their potential is. Someone once showed me. Now I want to make it my business to show others.
Wilbert Q. Murdock
July 3, 1958, Manhattan
BSEE, MS in bioengineering, Polytechnic Institute of New York
Founder and CEO of Internet Golf Multimedia Inc.
Founder and principal of angel investment advisory firm FJE International Unlimited
Bioengineer, VA Medical Center, New York
Research engineer, Picatinny Federal Arsenal, Dover, N.J.
Founded several startups with an emphasis on music, sports and the human mind
Pioneered MiINDS (multimedia interactive Internet neurobiosensory-mechanics design systems), a new discipline in science and technology
Did pioneering research in real-time motion concepts currently used in game technologies
Patented technology on preventing knee injuries while exercising
Partnered with sports legends to develop proprietary sports digital data
Co-designed and built smart golf clubs, based in part on Microsoft technology, to allow golfers to play on the Internet in real-time for training and competition
Founded a nonprofit to promote the establishment of technology centers of innovation to encourage diversity in high tech