About: In 1997, David S. Isenberg wrote an essay entitled, The Rise of the Stupid Network: Why the Intelligent Network was a Good Idea Once but isn’t Anymore. In it, Isenberg (then a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Laboratories) examined the technological bases of the existing telecom business model, laid out how the communications business would be changed by new technologies, foresaw today’s cataclysms, and imagined tomorrow’s new network.
Tom Evslin, a senior AT&T executive at that time, told The Wall Street Journal that The Rise of the Stupid Network, “was like a glass of cold water in the face” of AT&T’s leaders. The Wall Street Journal called the essay “scathing… startling”, and said, “it may soon assume cult status among the tech mavens that roam the World Wide Web.” Communications Week International said that the essay “challenged the most sacred assumptions of the telecom world.” The Gilder Technology Report said it was “a stirring call”. Inevitably, the essay found wider acceptance outside of AT&T than within it. So in 1998, Isenberg left AT&T to found isen.com, inc. to help telecommunications companies understand the business implications of the newly emerging communications infrastructure.
David S. Isenberg’s public delivery of the Stupid Network message is passionate and personal. He has spoken to over 100 audiences on three continents. For example, he has spoken numerous times at George Gilder’s Telecosm, at Jeff Pulver’s Voice on the Net, at Kevin Werbach’s SuperNova, at John McQuillan’s Next Generation Networks, at the Canadian Advanced Network Research (CANARIE) annual meeting, at Merrill Lynch and Chase Bank telecom investor meetings, at the International Institute of Communications, at the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference (APRICOT), at the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) annual conference, at the Fiber to the Home Council’s first annual meeting, and at numerous private management, customer, investor and technology events.
Isenberg has been cited and quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Fortune, Wired, Business 2.0, Communications Week International, Network World, Release 1.0, Gilder Technology Report, TheStreet.com, Nikkei Communications, and numerous other publications. His story appears in at least half a dozen business books, including Telecosm by George Gilder, The New Pioneers by Tom Petzinger, and The Future of Ideas by Lawrence Lessig.
Isenberg has written articles for Fortune, USA Today, IEEE Spectrum, MSNBC, Communications Week International, Light Reading, Business 2.0, America’s Network, VON Magazine and ACM Networker. Isenberg advises a number of new telecommunications companies and their investors. He serves as a member of TechBrains (the Merrill Lynch technology strategy advisory board). He sits on advisory boards of CallWave, LaunchCyte, Broadband Physics, Terabeam and YottaYotta.
Isenberg is a Fellow of Glocom, the Institute for Global Communications of the International University of Japan. He is a Founding Advisor of the World Technology Network. He was a judge of the World Communications Awards in 1999 and 2001.
In his 12-year career at AT&T (1985-1998), Isenberg was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff with AT&T Labs Research, the part of Bell Labs that stayed with AT&T after the 1996 “trivestiture.” Before that, he held AT&T Bell Labs technical positions in Consumer Long Distance, in Network Services, and in the PBX business unit. Before AT&T, Isenberg was employed by Mattel and Verbex, and did consulting work in voice processing for Milton Bradley, National Semiconductor, GTE Labs, and others. Isenberg holds a Ph.D. in biology from the California Institute of Technology (1977) but also learned much science growing up in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His upbringing centered around two principles: (1) Research is useful, and (2) If you are going to fish, use a big hook.