Paul Galvin of Motorola: "Do not fear mistakes. Wisdom is often born of such mistakes."


It isn’t surprising to know that Neil Armstrong’s famous words "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" from the Moon were spoken into a Motorola transceiver in 1969.Started in 1928, Galvin Manufacturing Corporation surely has come a long way to become one of the most famous organizations of the modern era, Motorola Technologies. With its first product being a battery eliminator, it introduced the Motorola radio, perhaps the first commercially successful car radios. Company founder Paul V. Galvin created the brand name Motorola or the car radio—linking "motor" (for motorcar) with "ola" (which implied sound). Thus the Motorola brand was meant to indicate "sound in motion." The name "Motorola" was adopted in 1930, and the word has been used as a trademark since the 1930s.

In 1914, Paul Galvin enrolled in an officer's training program in anticipation of America's entry into World War I. He eventually became an artillery officer and saw duty on the front lines in France. His wartime experience strengthened Galvin's faith in the virtues of a well-disciplined organization able to withstand crisis through mutual loyalty and the leader's concern for the men. Returning to civilian life in 1919, Paul Galvin began his search for a business in which he could achieve success. He first obtained a job with the D&G Storage Battery Company. Three failed business attempts thereafter, Galvin's journey was nothing but challenging. He kept at it however, and who doesn't know the outcome of that?

In 1983, Motorola produced the the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, the world's first mobile phone, which was used by Michael Douglas in the movie "Wall Street".

Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

In 1995 Motorola introduced the world's first two-way pager, in 2000, Motorola and Cisco supplied the world's first commercial GPRS cellular network and the world's first GPRS cell phone was also developed by Motorola. In 2002, Motorola introduced the world's first wireless cable modem gateway which combined a high-speed cable modem router with an ethernet switch and wireless home gateway.

In January 2011, Motorola split into two separate companies, each using the word Motorola as part of their name. One company, Motorola Solutions, is based in the Chicago, Illinois and concentrates on police technologies, radios, and commercial needs. The other company, Motorola Mobility is based in the Chicago (Libertyville), Illinois and is the mobile handset producer division. In August 2011, Google announced that it would purchase Motorola Mobility for about $12.5 billion. On November 17, 2011, Motorola Mobility stockholders agreed unanimously for the merger with Google.

Every entrepreneur has to be stubborn and so was Paul Galvin. His stubborn refusal to let failure lead to disappointment, a tremendous ability to motivate employees, and an extraordinary business sense enabled him to make a number of correct intuitive decisions at crucial points in Motorola's history.

As Galvin himself used to say, "Do not fear mistakes. Wisdom is often born of such mistakes. You will know failure. Determine now to acquire the confidence required to overcome it. Reach out."

- Anirudh Srinivas and Meghna Chhabria