Frost's passing a loss for Chicago tech
November 21, 2005
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
The Chicago tech community
lost an amazing resource last week with the sudden passing of
Geoffrey Frost, Motorola executive vice president and chief marketing
family hasn't disclosed the cause of death, and when he was alive,
Frost himself refused to reveal his age.
Frost was the marketing
visionary who helped Motorola CEO Ed Zander turn the once stodgy
engineering company into a tech marketing powerhouse.
If the RAZR phone is
the product most emblematic of Motorola's renaissance, Frost was
the cerebral and intuitive brand stylist whose hand guided the
revitalization of the public face of Motorola.
Frost joined Motorola
in 1999 following a highly successful tour at Nike. He reinvigorated
the Motorola brand, making the batwing logo cool again. Frost's
enthusiasm and energy resounded across the Motorola product line
and across the globe. Frost understood success for Motorola was
as much about brand image and iconic product design as "best
in class" product engineering. Frost brought much needed
balance to Motorola's engineering-dominated culture.
Frost spoke recently
to a packed house at a Business Marketing Association luncheon.
He reminded the audience, "You can't simply declare your
brand cool. It is a title that others bestow upon you." He
talked about the importance of taking risks, and not walking away
from controversy. He understood trends and popular culture. He
knew that "cell phones are the new running shoes." His
ads and product promotions for Motorola were bold, creative and
While Frost reinvigorated
Motorola's brand, making it powerful again, he was also a highly
analytical technology marketer who never lost sight of Motorola's
roots. Frost called the 77-year-old Motorola "the world's
first high-tech startup."
Frost was as comfortable
talking about the genius of Motorola founder Paul Galvin as he
was the latest pop star. Frost seemed to glow with energy when
he described Galvin's "bet-the-company idea of miniaturizing
a radio to fit in the dashboard of a car."
Frost also was a Chicago
tech revolutionary. His vision and his insight will be deeply
and the IT Resource Center are teaming up to honor technology
excellence in Chicago's nonprofit community. Today, IT Resource
Center Executive Director Deborah Strauss announces creation of
the IT Resource Center Technology Leadership Award.
expected to be accountable for the dollars they receive,"
says Strauss, who worries spending often lags on tech infrastructure
that would support accountability. "We want to recognize
organizations who think through the role of technology in furthering
Chicago area nonprofits
that are leading the way in the application of technology are
eligible for the award. Applications will be taken online until
Dec. 20 at www.ITresourcecenter.org/tla. The award winner and
the runner up will receive grants of cash, software and services
totaling more than $15,000 and $10,000 respectively, according
to Strauss. The winners will be feted at the IT Resource Center's
annual bash in March 2006.
Judging the nonprofit's
nominations is an all star panel of five Chicago notables: Allstate
CIO Cathy Brune; Chicago Board of Trade CIO Bill Farrow; United
Way CEO Janet Froetscher; Exelon CIO Dan Hill, and Accenture CIO
"We want to encourage
and recognize technology leadership in the nonprofit community
through this award," said Dean Teglia, managing director
of Accenture's Chicago office, which put up the cash to fund the
Over 300 local nonprofit
organizations benefit from Chicago's IT Resource Center, which
provides technology training and consulting for local organizations.
The center was founded in 1984 with major support from the Chicago
forget the Boilermakers
The Association of
University Research Parks recognized Purdue Research Park in West
Lafayette, Ind., for Excellence in Technology Transfer. There
are 19 start-ups in residence at the park.
Jeanine Phipps wants to strengthen the connection with Chicago.
"You've got to
look at the triangle of Purdue, the University of Illinois at
Urbana/Champaign and Chicago as another emerging biotech triangle,"
says Phipps. "West Lafayette is just a two-hour drive from
Plus the University
has a satellite incubator in Merrillville.
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.