Marty Cooper | Behind the Curtain of the Inventor of the Mobile Phone



What does the wizard behind the one invention that has transformed society around the globe have to say about optimism, failure, and learning?

Marty Cooper has been coined the name the “Father of the Cell Phone” but, there’s more to him than being an inventor of one of the most societal-altering devices.

It took ten years to see his dream come to fruition, and it nearly didn’t happen. In our conversation, we explore optimism, failure, the importance of learning, and so much more.

We get a peek behind the curtain in this episode where Marty shares his thoughts about technological advances, his prediction for the future of how we will power our lives, advice for all of us regarding privacy (in terms of how we use our cell phones), and what he believes is the threat to our civilization.

What does Marty have to say about kids and cell phone safety, the body being a complete system (at 92 years old, he’s learned a thing or two), learning from others, thoughts about grief, what breaks his heart and what gives him hope for the future? You’ll just have to listen!

This is a lighthearted conversation, filled with optimism and wisdom from someone who had a dream and never gave up. Perhaps how he lives his life today is an indicator of why Marty Cooper became the “Father of the Cell Phone?”



Victoria Volk 0:05
Thank you for tuning in to grieving voices. Today I’m very excited to share this conversation with my guest, Marty Cooper. He is the father of the mobile, cellular phone. And, Marty, thank you so much for being here. I have great pleasure. I, at the time of this recording, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen you on CBS Sunday morning. And I was just very struck by your story. And found myself very just very curious about you interested in your story, your personal story, what led you to become an inventor? And just I really selfishly just wanted to learn more about you. So thank you so much for agreeing to I emailed you. And you answered, and you agreed, and I was just take, I’m tickled pink, thank you so much.

Marty Cooper 1:08
What a nice guy. My pleasure, right, I like to share my story with everybody in the face, if you’re interested just is an ego trip.

Victoria Volk 1:22
Thank you so much. So I’m going to actually read, I’m going to start with the description of your book, which is cutting the cord, the cell phone has transformed humanity, which is about the obstacles you had to overcome inventing the cell phone. And it says that you’re one of Time magazine’s top 100 inventors in history, and that you share your inside story of the cell phone, and how it changed the world and a view of where it’s headed, which I’m very interested in hearing. So while at Motorola in the 1970s, you invented the first handheld mobile phone, but the cell phone as we know it today almost didn’t happen. And that’s really what kind of your book is about. Maybe let’s start there, and then we’ll kind of even go further back.

Marty Cooper 2:16
Sure. Well, we’re talking about the late 1960s, which doesn’t seem like so long ago, because I, I was a an executive at Motorola at the time. So it’s it’s not as though I was a child. And yet, those are really primitive times. We didn’t have personal computers, we didn’t have digital cameras. And the internet had not been invented yet believe. They didn’t have integrated circuits like we have in our cell phones today. But they did have careful. The only problem was like our phones are terrible. You have fuel in the car phone, and you wanted to make a phone call during the day, there were so many people competing with you for this radio channel that we run, that sometimes you’d have to wait a half hour just to get a line, if you could get one at all. So we had a bell system, you’re too young to remember the bell system, the system used to be the monopoly. If you wanted a telephone, practically anywhere in the world, not only states, you have to go to the phone company. And sometimes they would even sell you a phone you had to read it through. And there was one color black. And the definitely at that time. Most of the homes have just a single phone, we had a phone in the kitchen. So we’re really talking about ancient times. But the Bell System came up with a way of using the radio channels over and over again. So you can have more capacity in a city, you can have more than just 100 people getting service in the city. And so the nation that we’re promoting this wonderful service, except they didn’t believe was going to be very big. And they have a study done. And their study said there were only going to be a billion people ever using a cell phone. Well, it turns out they were right. That’s about the maximum number of people that ever use the cell phone in the car. Because we knew at that time that people are basically fundamentally naturally mobile. And now you know that because you you’re on board of the airport tomorrow. You get the feeling like nobody’s where they want to be everything’s going somewhere else, though. And here are the after being trapped in our homes by that copper wire for 100 years. The Bell System is telling us Well, we’re going to solve your problem, we’re going to free you and trap you into a car didn’t make any sense to us. And we got a radio made two way radios that you can hold in your hand, we had watched how companies revolutionized how they ran their businesses because they don’t talk to people moving around. So we went out a very big company at the time, at&t was $22 billion in revenue, so we were just a billion dollars. And so we took the Bell System on, we went to our, the FCC, who matters, these radio channels that will drag him up, and tell them that we have a better way to do it. And by 1973, it looks like the FCC is about to make a decision, and we’re scared to death, they’re gonna do the wrong thing. And if they made the wrong decision, we would be stuck with cartel bones for at least 10 or 20 years. So at that time, is when I decided, you know, the only way you can convince people of something is to demonstrate the real thing. And so I pulled the team together, and we made a cell phone. And the guys actually built a cell phone in three months, we had enough technology around our company. And I had to bend a lot of people that are behind their backs to get him to stop what they were doing. And working on this crazy idea. In April 3 1973, in front of the New York Hilton on Sixth Avenue, I was interviewed by somebody just like you were doing to the now. And I was talking on a cell phone. So that, and 10 years later, fully figured out. That’s how long it took to get the government agency to make up their minds. And they did decide in favor of competition. So it wasn’t going to be just the Bell System. And the industry was going to decide what the right technology was. And of course, we picked personal phones, handheld phones. And you know what the result is? There are more portable phones in the world today than there are people. Is that an amazing thing. And it’s also true in the United States were cell phones in the USA, there are people in the US. And the number of wired phones, believe it or not, is going down, down, down. And there are only a little over 50 million wired phones in the United States today, compared to by 350 million cell phones.

Victoria Volk 8:02
I imagine it’s such an incredible story to me and I I just I love inventors the story of inventors anyway, but what you did, though, has, do you ever just like sit back and pinch yourself? Like, did I really do that? Do you feel like you’re living a dream? Sometimes?

Marty Cooper 8:25
I do what except I said, I feel like I’ve agreed most of my life. So you know, I’ve always I like to think of myself as being a futurist. I’m not a very good executive. We proved out at Motorola even though we’re at a multi billion dollar division, by the time that I left Motorola, but I like to think about new things. I love to take things apart and put them back together. And the reason I know so much about the future iskysoft I spend so much time there. I love fantasy. I read science fiction. I have grown since I was a as long as I could remember since I was a little boy, five years old. I was just desperately interested in everything technical, I want to know how things work. I could take anything apart. I couldn’t always put it back together again. But I always knew I was going to be some kind of a technical person ended there. Or a scientist and and I guess I pretty much related. But yeah, but I have to tell you that, you know, inventing is not the only thing. It’s great fun to come up with new ideas. And it’s a little harder to come up with ideas that are really work. And it’s even harder to actually make some work. Yeah. So there were many, many people that are involved in creating the cell phone, the cell phone, the the equipment and the takes to make a cell phone works. Least So sites all around the city. So I would guess, to build today’s multi trillion dollar industry took 10s of 1000s of people.

Victoria Volk 10:13
I just have to tell you to the day that I got that email from you, that you would be on my podcast was the day that I got my kids. Their first cell phone plans. Oh, is that right? Yeah. Ironically, that same day. Older your children? Seven, well, 16, almost 15 and 12. Wow,

Marty Cooper 10:37
why are you a disciplined mother? My granddaughter, of course, it was a special case, she, she was going to school at a school bus when she was seven years old. And we were afraid she could get stuck waiting for the bus. And nobody showed up together. So we got our cell phone just for that purpose when he was seven years old. But your children will very quickly know more about cell phones and either of us.

Victoria Volk 11:10
Oh, my gosh. And you know, I find that it’s really made my my life a lot easier to and there’s, you know, but I do have a question that kind of leads into that part of the conversation is that? Did you anticipate it because I imagine, while you’re obviously a very strategic person to I am also a strategic person, you can kind of see around the band, you can see kind of see around the next corner? Did you anticipate that with the cell phone that we would have so much? Because there’s a lot of negative to, you know, and parents would share that frustration that sometimes the cell phone is like a, you know, a sore spot for some families and homes and with their kids and stuff. Have you ever? Yeah, what do you say to that? Let’s start there.

Marty Cooper 12:07
We’ll have shortly certainly there are negatives to every technology that comes along. And the only thing I say about that is I looked enough in the US. And of these developed countries, I look at places like Africa, India, Mexico, where people really struggle, just to live with a cell phone is revolutionizing those countries. It’s it’s reducing poverty significantly. It’s bringing health care to villages that have never had a doctor before. It’s for allowing collaboration so you can build up their entire economies. So some of these things that we’re going through now. And I observe the same thing that you do. You. You go into a restaurant or you look here, some kids having lunch, and they were all sitting there looking at their phone and said, I can’t do it. But I have ultimate confidence that you will be in it with a cell phone. So no, really, it’s only been about 20 years since it was widely. And since everybody out there, maybe less than that for teenagers. It takes time to figure these things out. Sometimes it takes a generation to do that. But the advantages, the things that the cell phone allows us to do, that we couldn’t do before way overwhelm the disadvantages, at least in my viewpoint. So Pentagon, have conflicts with people, we’re going to work with work. And

Victoria Volk 13:45
I love that. And I think part of the thing too, when I was watching you on CBS Sunday morning is I just I loved your energy and your optimism. You are just so optimistic. And so what do you see for the future? With the cell phone? I mean, because it’s changing our clothes, versus like everything is adapting kind of to the cell phone. So what do you what do you see next? What do you envision?

Marty Cooper 14:13
Start off with your comment about optimism. You’re right, I do have a very positive outlook on life. And people laugh with me a lot about that. But I look at the facts. And the reality is that society, all of us are getting better. And we are better now than we ever have been in every respect. We live longer, we are healthier. We are richer than any time in history. All the curves are going up. There are bumps up and down. And we have disasters like the pandemics and other things that come along. But on the average, we are better off now than we ever have been. And there’s no reason to believe why that can happen. And the cellphone, not by itself, but it’s going to be an important contributor to this. And that’s why I emphasize so much not to how much fun we’re having in the developed countries, with social media, and all these other things, with with the social media, and the games that the kids are playing is doing is making us familiar with an extraordinary valuable tool. So when these kids that are sitting around the rest, not talking to each other, and by the way, they do end up talking to each other, when they grow up, they are going to be so good at using these tools, they will put us to shame. And they’re going to do everything more efficiently. And when you do things more efficiently everybody benefits. And that has been demonstrated, as I mentioned before, in Africa, the There are, of course, the cell phone has as the LeapFrog to the wireless phone, or the anybody ever had, where were wired phones in Africa. And one thing that they did, they introduced a weight of managing money. Now, that doesn’t sound very important to us, we have banks. And it turns out that poor people at Africa can’t do that. They can’t move money around the country, they can’t save money. And somebody introduced a system called m pesa. That allows them to do all of those things to save to transfer money. And to do that just with their cell phone. And so they ask, and other things that have happened to make things more efficient, have at least according to the United Nations, Sonny, and move over a billion people out of power, severe poverty in the last 20 years. So definitely that kind of thing is what it really is the basis of my optimism. And the fact that there are villages in Mexico, where they have never had a doctor or never will have a doctor. And they now have the ability because they’ve got somebody in the village that’s got a cell phone, that will route the cell phone held by a better a doctor in Mexico City, and fried somebody’s eyes, in this little village and bring them medical treatment they could never have imagined before. So it’s those kinds of things that are the basis of my optimism. And you can make all the fun of the work. Stand by it.

Victoria Volk 17:30
I wouldn’t make fun of you. And actually, it makes me think of the idea of where your attention is, is where it’s like where you put your attention and focus. That’s what you’ll see. Right? So if you are focused and have your attention on all the negative things, cell phones have brought to us, that’s all you’ll see. Right?

Marty Cooper 17:57
That’s a very, that’s a very wise thing. You just set it, I absolutely agree with you. I want to tell you, I know it’s slightly off the subject. But the most important drive in my life, and what I think that should be the drive that everybody else’s life is learning. And the reason is kind of obvious if you think about it. Because most kids as an example, when they get out of school, the only thing they think about is getting a job making money. And there, there’s a lot to be said to having a lot of money and being able to do all the things you want. But it turns out that after you’ve accumulated enough money to do the basic things, and maybe a few steps beyond that, it turns out that the gratification you get from more money kind of starts waiting. And it turns out money is not the only thing in life. And the only thing you can keep doing the rest of your life that brings you satisfaction is to learn to have new ideas, to generate new ideas all by yourself. Now, you know, that’s the biggest thrill of my life is to think about something in a way that I have never thought of before. It might not be original, because somebody else probably thought about, but maybe they didn’t. So and you never ever get tired of having new ideas, and about learning new things. So I put a great deal of emphasis on practicing learning. Now, why do you ask? You didn’t ask but I’m presuming. Why do you have to practice? But it turns out they’ve done some studies, scientific studies. They are what they call rats, psychologists who determined that the act of learning is something that has to be practiced if you stop learning Just like with your muscles, you lose the ability to learn your ability to learn after five. So I can’t think of anything more scary than that, that that you get so self satisfied, so happy with your position in life, if you don’t think you need to know anything more than what you know now, and you do that for a few years. And it turns out when you want to learn something new, you don’t have the ability. Is that scary? Or what?

Victoria Volk 20:29
Absolutely, absolutely. I think that, like our greatest asset is is our minds. And where are we? Again, it comes back to where we put our attention to. So do you want to focus on growth and learning and advancing yourself in your life? Or do you want to focus on that one, the sad, depressing things that are going wrong, either in your life or in the world around you? Yeah. And so where does your optimism come from? Have you always since a child just had the sense of wonder and optimism,

Marty Cooper 21:14
but I suppose the hardest thing to do is to be objective about yourself.

Victoria Volk 21:20
That’s true,

Marty Cooper 21:20
I have absolutely no idea. I was blessed with a wonderful parents, my parents struggled, they started out in what is now the Ukraine, at that time, it was Russia, they were suppressed to the most awful ways. And they managed to work their way to Canada and ultimately to the US. They worked hard all their lives, but managed to, to come up with a comfortable life. For all of us. My mother was a dynamo. She never stopped moving. She was a charmer, she could talk to anybody. So I see some great advantages. And I, I would hope that the only thing that I could do useful in life, is to inspire other people to be like my mother was.

Victoria Volk 22:18
So I take it, then all of your ideas were nurtured. And that aspect of yourself was something that was nurtured.

Marty Cooper 22:32
I put it all down to luck, if he should i do is I’m not smart enough to figure out why I am what I am. But people have asked me you get off even to your life over again, what we do different. And I have to tell you, I can’t think of anything, you change one thing. In the past, there are unintended consequences. So I just think I’m very lucky. And I think it’s a very effective, almost all of us are lucky to be around. And today to enjoy all these wonderful things that our society has to do, including you and I talking to each other virtually as though we were right next to each other, isn’t it? Oh, it is just now less than a half hour ago. And you could say that we’re friends, we have exchanged emotions and ideas. So I think oh, that’s fantastic. And all these kids take all their for granted.

Victoria Volk 23:43
I love that. And I made me think of to how even even today I was thinking about our conversation coming up. I just thought, you know, I because I would always I would as a kid, like I wanted to invent something like if I could just invent something. But I would call myself a creator. I’m a creative person. And people that’s how people most people describe me as is as creative. And what is invention but creativity in action, right? And so even just this podcast, it was an idea. I created it. I invented it. I invented greevey voices. And so it struck me today I am an inventor, I may not have invented the cell phone. But I’ve invented other things. And I think that’s where so many of us kind of forget that as creators are people who create things or bring about ideas into fruition and into their world and into their life for others to enjoy for others to participate like this podcast. The microphone I’m using the computer like all of it, like creativity is invention, you know, in inaction and so I would just my my thing I just message I would like to share with people is that even though you may not be coined an inventor of something like yourself, I think if you created anything, you are an inventor. So what do you say to that?

Marty Cooper 25:19
I say that you’re exactly right. Although I have to put some boundaries on them, every crazy idea that I might have is not an invention. That’s true. In order to be an invention, there, it needs to be a couple of other attributes. It has to be buildable to be an invention, and it has to be useful. So when you talk about what you achieved with your is this, what is it? Are we doing what’s called a podcast? Yeah, you do going one step further, because you don’t have your podcast you so somebody is getting some benefit, at least I am, because you ask creative questions. But, but you have to also execute it. And that’s a whole step further from the inventing. So I would not only compliment yourself on bigger and better which you are, but you’re also a builder. And we need both kinds. And it’s very nice when one person could do both of them. In my case, I was the creative guy. My guys were all creative as well at a different level. But some of the things that my team did, I couldn’t imagine doing I could have done them 20 years earlier when I was sitting on a bench working, but it takes all kinds of skills, to do modern kinds of things. And everybody, at least at a technical field has to be not only creative, they have to be able to put these things to work to actually do things with their hands.

Victoria Volk 27:03
So what was the pivotal moment in your life? Were really everything changed? Or was this like just a natural progression of what how your life took shape?

Marty Cooper 27:16
While you know you, you know you were going to talk about my book at some point. So I’ll bring this up that go back, right. That’s one of the points that I made in my book is there is no eureka moment, there is no one sudden flash of light and and the wisdom of the ages, suddenly, in a lifetime, that just builds the experience one experience after another. Sorry, I believe before you’re born, you start experiencing things and you’re learning. And that’s why I keep bringing that word up all the time about about learning. I couldn’t, there was no way that I could have thought about something as important as a cell phone. Early in my career, I didn’t have the background, I didn’t have the technology, understanding. So I expressed in my book and some really beginning chapters above how it takes the progression of increasingly complex thoughts as to build up the capability to do something more important. So yeah. And the other thing that I don’t just say advice for other people, I’ve never had a plan for my life. All I knew is that I was going to be an engineer, but I had no idea what kind of work I was going to do, what fields I was going to go into. And somehow the world has taken care of me. And I am so grateful for that. But I can’t express it. Which is why I say I’m so so lucky. I have there have been things in my life that have been drivers. But we are never capable of doing total planning for the future. You just have to build up all the capabilities you can and become the person you want to be. And hope that you’ll be lucky too. And I hope you are. There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re going to do great. Well, you’re you’re just have to do this podcast. I don’t know. You certainly are not making a fortune. I’m doing podcasts for most of them. 100 of them. Say sir. In fact, I was amazed to find out how many podcasts there are the world today. But it is hundreds of 1000s right?

Victoria Volk 29:49
Um, I don’t even know. Maybe even millions. Yeah.

Marty Cooper 29:55
So somebody must be better for you. You guessed it. Back from people that watch your podcast to tell you that they have learned something new or that they’ve been entertained, or

Victoria Volk 30:10
occasionally, occasionally, sometimes I feel like it’s crickets, you know, but it comes, I just I think that’s a good point here to say, or a good spot to say that it’s how you constantly consistently just had just showed up for yourself to not give up like how, like you didn’t give up? Yeah, 10 years it took. I imagine that had some grief in it thinking like, did you ever have this thought in the back your mind? Like if this doesn’t, if this doesn’t happen? Like all this blood, sweat and tears, you know, you put because I know what that’s like? Not to your extent, of course, but to put your heart and soul into something and it bust or it not come through the way you hoped. Right? What do you say to that?

Marty Cooper 31:06
Well, you know, like my parents went through that they have failures in their lifetime. And they actually had a grocery store and what effective failed and another one and Thunder Bay that failed in a water business in Chicago that failed, before they finally found something that they could do. with sheer luck, I think that they fell into this. So it was a remarkable coincidence that when I was in the Navy, US Navy for four years, when I got a Navy job, and then I was approached by Motorola. And amazingly enough, the founder of Motorola had gone through that same experience. He has started his three different businesses and have two of them totally failed. disastrously. And so he was like, put up a plaque in the lobby of this fantastic building. At the time that I was there. Many years after the founding. On the plaque, they put out something that you said, Do not fear failure, reach out. And I took that seriously a Motorola, sometimes, to a fault. Sometimes I’ve reached out a little too far. And I had my share of failures. Sometimes I will emphasize in the future much more than the president when you’re running a business, that’s a very healthy thing to do. people depend on your profits to keep going. But that was one of the lucky things in my life to find a place that would tolerate me for 29 years. That’s how long I spent it notarized. And I am not a corporate type. If you recall, back to corporate type. And I shouldn’t say that there are people in the corporate world that are very creative. But Motorola tolerated me for all those years that I’m very grateful for that.

Victoria Volk 33:20
I am sure millions of people are as well. So I have a couple questions that I jotted down. So I would I would actually probably say that your answer to this will be Yes, but I’ll and I think you may be kinda answered it. In your opinion, are tech advances, always a good thing? This is actually a question from a friend of mine,

Marty Cooper 33:53
Nicola valses, who was asked the I have a rule about that. In fact, I have a number of rules of life that I wrote down in my book, by the way, my book is called cutting the cord. The cell phone is transform humanity, find people. One of the pages I have in the book is what I called the party’s Maxim’s, and one of them is a definition of what technology is. My definition is technology is the application of science to create products and services that make people’s lives better. If it doesn’t make somebody’s life better, it’s not technology. It could be a curiosity. It could be a technical phenomenon. But if it’s set knology by definition, it has to make people’s lives better. Having said that, there are things that come along. Thanks Your lives better, but also have drawbacks. And that’s true of almost every technology. It’s absolutely true of things like nuclear technology. You know, you look at the idea that we have countries try to come compete in how many missiles, nuclear missiles they can make. That’s a really depressing thought. Yeah. But at some point in our history, our cities will be run by perfectly safe nuclear technology that is going to be so inexpensive, the power is not going to be the thing to us, we’re going to be driving our cars for practically nothing. Heating and Cooling our homes, all these things that are so costly today. So sometimes it takes time. And there are drawbacks to technologies. But as I say before, if it doesn’t make people’s lives better, it’s not technology.

Victoria Volk 36:06
I love that answer. Let’s see, what else do I have? What else should we have jotted down? Well, okay, so I did have this one thought too. And I wish whoever’s, like anyone who’s listening to this, and any inventors. You know, how the, when you’re driving down the highway or Interstate, or even the city or whatever, on the street lights, they’ll have like that thing. So if you’re running a red light, it can capture your license plate. Oh, yeah. Okay, great technology, right? saves the police officers time, you get a ticket in the mail. It’s, you know, so I’m just I, like, can’t we apply that to the cell phone. So like, situations where people are doing like, really awful things, you know, especially in in, I’m talking, I was going to go dark a little bit, but you know, like, with teenagers and sending pictures, or, you know, sex offenders sending pornography, like just things like that, like, to be able to track those people. Like when something is, you know, just like when you get a ticket in the mail, when you run a red light, if you do something like that, on a cell phone. There’s like some sort of data capture. And I mean, I don’t know, that’s maybe way, way far off thought. But I just thought, Gosh, to help make it safer, right to help utilize it for good, right?

Marty Cooper 37:46
Well, that’s what you just have touched upon, is one of the biggest problems in society today. And I’m really serious about that. Because the answer your comments, is absolutely. If all you have to do to be perfectly safe is to give up all your privacy. You’ve got to

Victoria Volk 38:08
make a decision. That’s true.

Marty Cooper 38:10
Are you willing to let somebody somebody else know exactly what you’re doing 24 hours a day, every day of your life, wherever you are? Are you willing to live somebody? examine what you do? record it all? And and knowing that, and knowing that’s true of everybody, we’d all be perfectly safe, right? There could be no crime, because we would catch people in the middle are doing well, you know that. Except that happening?

Victoria Volk 38:43
And it’s not happening, right? Yeah,

Marty Cooper 38:46
well, it can’t happen. Because we just treasure our privacy. And we also know what happens when you give up your privacy. In total, you go and look at what’s happened to totalitarian states. Because what happens is that the bad guys do get control of that information. And when they control your information, they control you. And they control your ideas. And they control your minds. They control what you can and cannot do. So somehow we have to achieve the right balance. I would suggest that we have gotten anywhere close to that now. People have been enchanted by this idea of getting stuff for nothing better to do to you, you know, you go to Google and they give you a search engine. Well, the most powerful educational tools that’s ever existed, and you kind of forgotten. No, you don’t. You are giving up your privacy every time you do a transaction. on Google, they get information about you, they know more and more about you and they use that information for their benefit. Very often it’s for your benefit to but you have no control over it, you have to get that free service, that you are giving up an awful lot. And the same thing is true with Facebook. And the same thing is true with Twitter, that you’re getting some satisfaction, you’re getting some improvement in your life, but you’re giving up your privacy for this. So we haven’t figured that out yet. And I think there are a lot of people working on including my wife, who is a an entrepreneur, and inventor herself. And one of her latest endeavors is kind of a side issue she has created an organization says, at least what is the tour, it will be able to put a Good Housekeeping Seal on a company with regard to privacy. They have come up with standards of privacy, what does a company have to do to preserve the privacy of their customers, and a company achieves those objectives, then they will have a seal that says that this organization, and I asked approve this company from the standpoint of privacy, because somehow rather we have to face this, this issue of privacy and nip it in the bud. If we keep it very, very good, keeps getting in chat and chatted with free services, and gives up all their privacy. I think that’s a super threat to our civilization. And I think people are too scared to do this.

Victoria Volk 41:45
This is a I’m glad that conversation went here because actually just recently well with my kids getting their cell phone. Right. So a part of it is that part of the caveat was that well, the ones with jobs have to help pay for those cell phones, the plans. And the one and a part of it too is that I want to be able to find you if you’re not home when you say you’re going to get home. So iPhone, they all have iPhones, I have an iPhone, you can use the find my app right to find it’ll actually locate their phone wherever their phones at. Typically, Yes, I understand that their phone can be somewhere where they’re not. But as teenagers will, they’re going to have their cell phone with them. But it’s there is also an app called I’m not going to name it out. But there was another app that I had heard about and I downloaded it and just to kind of test run it. And my daughter, I get home that night. And she’s like, so I saw you’re driving a little fast today. I’m like what she’s like, yeah, it tells me how fast you were going. Whoa. And it does. And like it tells me how fast the school bus went. The fastest speed of the school bus tells me when she left home when she got to school, like if you want to be like, helicopter parent on top of your kids by that’s the app to have. But I just found it. Like you said, I want to give my kids the sense of privacy too. And I I appreciate privacy as well. So thank you for bringing that up. I think it’s this artificial intelligence that’s maybe possibly even taking things a little further than maybe need be. I just want to be able to find my kids if you know, yeah, home when they say they’re going to be home.

Marty Cooper 43:51
Well, you do have an obligation somehow or other you have to make sure that your kids know, first of all, they’re not getting something for nothing. Secondly, that there are people that have access to them that they don’t want to have access, there are predators out there that are taking advantage of children, pretending that they are something that they’re not. So your kids do have to be careful and they have to be educated. And I fear that a lot of them are not being educated in that regard. Our schools, spend a lot of time teaching kids things that they may or may not do to know and they forget about other things that are practical things about living. Like what you eat, and how much exercise is important, and how to use your cell phone.

Victoria Volk 44:47
great segue to you being taught 92 going to be 93 soon and we have to remind me of that but I want to

Marty Cooper 45:00
Go ahead. On the other hand, Richard 93 has to be an important objective. So go ahead, please go ahead.

Victoria Volk 45:06
No, I want to, I want you to speak to your vitality, and to what you just said about eating and exercise and all of that, because obviously, that’s a huge contributor to your life and to your capability to continue to learn, right?

Marty Cooper 45:26
Well, let me tell you, this is gonna be a little hard to do in a couple of minutes. But your body is a complete system. It is not muscles, blood vessels, a brain, skeleton, it is a system where everything is connected to everything else. And everything affects everything else. So you can ask progressive life, unless you create the system as a complete system. So you have to exercise your brain, we’ve already covered that, haven’t we, but you’ve got to exercise your body as well, and every part of your body. So so you need to not only do aerobic, to anaerobic exercise, you need to really know, upper body has got to be everything. And do your digestive system is extraordinarily important in that because that’s how you know, that’s what your body is, your body is nothing like a big battery, where you take this food in. And this got this wonderful thing called the digestive system that turns the food into energy. So your whole system has to be exercised in an intelligent way. And we don’t learn how to do that in school. They depend upon us to go out into the real world and solve their problem ourselves. So I was lucky enough. And it took until I was almost 50 years old, before I started, I became a runner I took on for for about 15 or 20 years, I never touched a bit of refined sugar or refined flour. Because I read I think it was corrected that time and I still try to do this, as you get an imbalance of sugar in your body, and it causes inflammation and do it reduces your lifetime and makes your lifetime less effective. So there are a whole bunch of rules that people ought to practice. And then we don’t we grew, we, as a society, eat too much sugar. And we eat too much in general. And I’m on discipline. So the only way I could get rid of all this food that I used to just exercise a lot. Which I which I try to do, it gets harder and harder as you get older, as you might imagine. So discipline is important. And I haven’t learned that yet, but I’ve worked.

Victoria Volk 48:18
So what has been one of the greatest lessons that you’ve learned in your life. Aside from that, you know, the body and maintaining all of that, like just what some wisdom that you would share with others that you’ve learned in your life?

Marty Cooper 48:35
Well, I wouldn’t call it wisdom, but I important part of my life is interaction with people, in my presumption when I meet somebody, including you is that I’m going to pursue this relationship and learn what I can because everybody has something to teach me. And I have found that to be true, even people that I in your case, I don’t have any problem. I think you’re charming. I’ve met people that are offensive. And yet when I engage with them, I find out that you have skills or knowledge and I don’t have and I try to be as open minded as I can. Now the other side of that coin, however, is that when I do find people that have things to contribute, I treasure that. so fortunate to live in a in a city like San Diego, we’ve, we have a number of universities. And when I get to meet people in these universities, and exchange ideas with them, that is a cornerstone in my life. And I could do that every day with my wife, a great deal smarter than I am. So all of those things are so important. You cannot live live without for yourself, that we live in a society, and the exciting things about life, do involve collaboration, and appreciate each other. I love to vlog and answer for such a nice short No,

Victoria Volk 50:16
no, it seems like connection connection, you know? Yeah, it’s about connection. And just like we can grow through connection, we grow through grief, too, which is what my podcast is all about. And so what has grief taught you in your life? And what are some of your grieving experiences that have helped you push through some difficult challenges in your life?

Marty Cooper 50:44
Well, I always try to think about the issues that cause grief in the context of what was positive before the grief happened. So I never talked about the difficulties my mother had, her mother lived in, until almost from the 90s. I talked about how wonderful she was, and how much she contributed, and how she even my mother was selling dresses, when she was in her late 80s. In a in a dress shop, but it really not because she needed the money, but she wanted to keep talking to other people. So I, I think that understanding of how important it is to help people in your life is probably one of the most important things in my life.

Victoria Volk 51:44
I love that. And I saw too, that you, you were thank you for your service as well. I’m a veteran. And I am and I saw that you were in the Korean War. And can you share anything about that experience?

Marty Cooper 52:01
No, I you know, I was in active duty in the sense that we were trying to blow up North Korean railroads and things of that nature, I was in the submarine forces. And we did an awful lot of practicing to be ready for something but I was never at a shooting war. Nobody ever shouted at me. And I’m very grateful for that. I I appreciated the service for a number of reasons. One is they put me through school. And I’m not sure I would have been able to go to university without without the navies, and help. And the second thing is a I’ve always been someone in the tour I’m still working on growing up. But they’ve helped me grow up they taught me about discipline, about responsibility, a lot keeping your word about things. So I learned a great deal in the in the Navy. And I would recommend that to everyone. I think what they do in Israel, where everybody else is served for some period of time, is a very useful and productive thing. And ladies says For most people, some people grow up sooner than others. But it’s an experience everybody loves to have. The other side of that coin, however, is that I wish we didn’t need armies, or weapons. I find that if so, you know, if you’re a builder, or if you’re a creator, and you want things to get better. We certainly do better cooperating with each other than we do. Fighting. We’re more efficient if we do take them all the money we spend on these weapons when we could be working on tools for improving productivity. So So I wish we didn’t have to have our reason that people would learn how to talk to each other. I’m afraid we are some generations away from last. But if education keeps getting better, at least in the youth, free societies, I think that that we are going to learn how to get by without a roof. And I only hope that we can make all the societies in the world free like we are before we should be glory at our independence. You know, we’ve got a lot of problems. I don’t suggest that. That’s all of better roses, but but it’s all fixable. I think I think we’re lucky to have a society where we could complain about things. We could argue with other people and yet, everyone Good speaker lines don’t?

Victoria Volk 55:02
Absolutely. Would you say that is one thing that maybe breaks your heart? I’m sorry. One thing? Would you say that that’s maybe one thing that breaks your heart?

Marty Cooper 55:16
Oh, yeah. irrationality bricks. When I when people have ideas that just don’t make any sense at all, and they deeply believe that, that is heartbreaking to me. And that is the basis of intolerance. If they basis of warfare, this people just not sticking it out. If you think it out and work things out, right? There’s always a solution that is more efficient, and better than fighting or being intolerant.

Victoria Volk 55:56
all comes back to what you said earlier in being willing to learn from others being open to learning.

Marty Cooper 56:04
You’ve got it. No wonder you could make the big bucks.

Victoria Volk 56:11
Yeah, maybe someday. I get a feeling though, like the crux of your message, like, the main part of your message is that learning is, is what was I gonna say? Learning is everything.

Marty Cooper 56:30
It’s a foundation. Yeah, it’s not, you know, you have to execute. So having all that information is not worthwhile unless you actually put it to use. But without that, there are no uses that you can do. There’s nothing you could accomplish without what I have a basis for doing good things. So that’s the one thing I got for this thing, that I use that term before, but learning is the foundation of life.

Victoria Volk 57:01
That is your quotable for this episode. What is one thing that you would like to share with someone listening that maybe has a dream, or lost a dream, or maybe hasn’t allowed themselves to dream just because of their circumstances in life? And you’ve kind of touched on a lot of different points, but kind of put it in a nutshell, what you would say to them how to get out of that space, that headspace and get back to dreaming again, and believing? I think it comes back down to faith too. Right? Yeah.

Marty Cooper 57:47
You know, that’s the first question to ask that I can’t respond to because I can’t envision I can’t put myself in somebody’s shoes. Totally negative doesn’t have a vision of the future of how things could get better. And there’s really no reason to do that. Because I know people at all levels of life that have an optimistic viewpoint, and whatever they do, they want to do it well. And sometimes they’re menial tasks, but they somehow take pride in what they’re doing. And if somebody doesn’t take pride in what they’re doing, if they don’t have ideas, if they don’t think about things that bring them pleasure, I feel so sorry for them. And I tell people, if you’ve got a job where you never get any satisfaction, go to something else, you’re entitled to be able to have your own ideas, to get satisfaction out of it, get a thrill out of it, who idea. And if you don’t do that, shame on us, you can go find something else to do and live a much more productive life.

Victoria Volk 59:06
What I hear and you say and that is that look at who you’re surrounding yourself with.

Marty Cooper 59:12
I suppose you’re right. Well, your your sounds like you’re more selective that I like my wife, he’s telling me No, I don’t like so and so. And I say, well, they’re not so bad. I had learned such a trope. So as I say, I’m just very lucky I just I just run into more interesting and fun. And people that teach me things so. So I know when I make rules about how selective I should be. You don’t want me to be a snob or an elitist or you

Victoria Volk 59:47
know, but no, but I think it comes down to two it’s been if if what you’re focusing on is wanting to learn from people, you’re going to learn from all kinds of people you’re going to look for those people to learn from right up. You got it? What is one thing? What brings you out? This is a question I asked usually, what is the one one thing that brings you the most joy and hope for the future? Well,

Marty Cooper 1:00:22
oh, that’s another really hard question, I’m gonna have to duck that one, only by talking about my, I now have a great granddaughter, if you and I have other family that’s got a baby, segue guess I have three, three babies in my life of very close people. And when I see them growing up, and how fast they’re learning, and, and how much I admire their parents, and how they’re raising these kids, because they got advantages. I never had, my children never had, I guess that’s my biggest tell for the future. There, they are going to get educated better than I was like children, or maybe even my grandchildren. And they, that’s our hope for society. And society doesn’t get control out of some of these things that are on the verge of getting out of control our society that civilization second to last much longer. That would be a shame with all that we’ve accomplished, though, for. So it’s the coming generations that I think are greater, we should be doing everything we can to make their world a better world than our world was

Victoria Volk 1:01:46
about, I’m gonna put you on the spot for one more question. So being the futuristic thinker that you are, and being 92, going and 93, often living in the future. What do you think about for the rest of your days? What do you want that to look like? Your mind when you think about that?

Marty Cooper 1:02:12
Obviously, you’re not paying attention. Like I told you at the beginning, I have never been able to plan out my life. I am struggling at the moment, trying to figure out what my next career is. And I haven’t quite worked it out, you know, I spent a lot of effort writing my book. And I was focused on it for a number of years. And that’s over. And I’m very satisfied with the book, I wish another million people that would have bought the book that when I told my story, and that was my objective. And I’m trying to figure out what to do next. And not entirely clear, I’ve got topicals I’ve tried to look at things I’ve been studying how the human brain works. You know, we’re a hearing aids, which are totally unsatisfactory. And I am working with people in the universities that try to improve this industry. So I haven’t totally figured it out yet. But I am going to come up with another career. And it will be focused on the things that I know how to do, how do you put things existing things together in different ways to make people’s lives better. That’s how we started a conversation. It’s a good way for us to,

Victoria Volk 1:03:40
but I’m gonna put a bug in here on that one, forgive the pun, but actually, there was an incident where someone I know had lost their hearing aid at a campground. And we were looking through the grass to try and find this hearing aid. And it’s like, you know, they have apps and things where you can find your keys and ways to do that. How come there isn’t this artificial intelligence in your hearing aids that you can pair to your phone? So if you lose your hearing aid, you can find it especially something that costs like a small car like you can they’re very expensive, right? Yeah. So

Marty Cooper 1:04:18
I’m veteran. Yeah. By the way to do this flower record, I guys. Okay, yellow. This is a big Hi, Ellen. She’s reminding me about my next appointment. So you did just could do it in venture it is possible to do find my hearing aid. A much better solution would be to make the hearing aid so inexpensive. If you lost if you could just get another one, and it wouldn’t be. And that really is what I’m working on. Now. If you look at a pair of Apple earbuds, the technology in these earbuds they cost about two or $300, it’s not very different than this $6,000 pair of earrings that irrigates that were, something’s wrong. And I’m really working very hard on this. Because not only are they too costly, they don’t work. Oh, that will. But I’ll keep in mind your comment to it when we get to the stage of actually doing something. Even losing if a hearing aid class out at hours, you ought to be able to find it. And there is no technical reason why you couldn’t do it. If you can find a cell phone, you could find a hearing aid. So I’ll try to remember to put your name on the patent if we ever have no way. Multiple is better. Oh, that would be amazing.

Victoria Volk 1:06:06
I yeah. And you know, thank you so much. I know you have to go thank you so much for your time today for your wisdom. I’m gonna put everything in the show notes, but quickly share where people can find you.

Marty Cooper 1:06:19
So it’s my pleasure. Great to talk to her a great interviewer and a very good question. Good luck to you.

Victoria Volk 1:06:26
Great, thank you. Good to see you. Bye Bye now. Bye.

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