Julius Genachowksi is telling anyone who asks that he has no current plans to leave his post as Federal Communications Commission chairman. However, his remarks in an on-stage interview with Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg at the Washington Ideas Forum on Wednesday had a valedictory feel.
“In the last four years we managed to get a lot of good things done, on a bipartisan basis in a polarized town. I’m proud of that,” Genachwoski said. Of those items that passed the FCC on a divided vote, he said, “I think we won the argument.”
His advice to policymakers is to frame issues in the context of solving problems, as opposed to having the stated goal of offering concessions to competing interests. “One thing I learned is that ‘compromise’ is a dirty word,” Genachowski said. “It has a negative effect on the community. When a decisionmaker says, ‘I’m going to compromise,’ it sends all the stakeholders running.”
Genachowksi also said that the CEOs of big technology and telecom companies may be relying too much on their D.C. representatives to make their points. “When we engage with CEOs and worked in this problem-solving frame, we got great ideas, great action. I do think it’s possible.”
He named Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, as an example of a corporate leader who was active behind the scenes, working to free up spectrumthrough upcoming incentive auctions and through the use of unlicensed spectrum. “Sometimes, quiet engagement is the right thing to do,” Genachwoski said.
The chairman was only willing to go so far in pushing the idea of CEOs advocating on their own behalf.
“I have a lot of friends who are lobbyists,” Genachowski said. "They do a great job. Nothing wrong with that."