Harvard Law School

Genachowski: FCC inherited a "real mess" in net neutrality

April 26, 2011: 12:07 PM ET
Julius Genachowski

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Image by jdlasica via Flickr

On April 14, 2011 Fortune's Adam Lashinsky interviewed Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, in Mountain View, Calif., at an event sponsored by the Commonwealth Club of California. The chairman danced around the most prominent item on his agenda, the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T. He also discussed spectrum re-allocation, his pragmatic approach, and what it was like being a law school classmate of President Obama. An unedited transcript follows, along with a video of the event.

ADAM LASHINSKY:  Good evening, and welcome to our Commonwealth Club's Silicon Valley program, brought to you from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

I'm Adam Lashinsky, Senior Editor at Large at Fortune Magazine.  It is my pleasure to introduce this evening Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Julius Genachowski brings a diverse background to his leadership of the FCC.  He studied history at Columbia College of Columbia University, where he dabbled in journalism as the editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator.  He decided not to pursue a career in journalism, undoubtedly wisely, and instead studied law at Harvard Law School, where he was the notes editor under a later notable editor of the review, named Barack Obama, who graduated from Harvard Law School the same year.

He served several distinguished clerkships following law school, including for the honorable Abner J. Mikvah on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit, as well as for two Supreme Court justices, William Brennan and David Souter.  He served on the select committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair in the U.S. House of Representatives, and later was Chief Council to the FCC.

He then became one of you -- he worked in the technology industry for IAC Interactive Corp. (IACI), and served on the boards of Expedia (EXPE) , Hotels.com, and Ticketmaster.  He became a venture capitalist, founding a firm called Rock Creek Ventures, during which time he was on the board of several startups, including Motley Fool.

He currently serves on the board of Common Sense Media, a leading organization seeking to improve the media lives of children and their families. [Adam Lashinsky writes on April 27: Genachowski left the Common Sense board when he joined the government.] And in case there are any problems tonight, it is comforting to know that in college he was an EMT at Columbia.

Please join me in welcoming Julius Genachowski.  (Applause.)

JULIUS GENACHOWSKI:  Gavels.  It's impressive, isn't it, that gavel?  You wield it well.


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