USB stick

After an expensive breakdown, he vowed to solve the problem

Dov Moran (1955)

One fine day in 1998, Dov Moran, an Israeli of Polish descent, had to give a PowerPoint presentation to a group of two hundred New York investors. Had he not closed his notebook properly so that the battery was flat? Something went wrong, but what? In any case, the thing didn't make a sound. And he simply had no backup on hand. As he desperately clicked on 'start', he saw his acquaintances sitting in the front row who certainly had a laptop with them. They could have helped him. The all-important presentation was destroyed. At the time, Moran was working for a US military company as a consultant for a new type of computer data storage.

He swore this would never happen to him again. And he immediately started working on a mini storage thing - a USB flash drive - that would be called DiskOnKey. The patent application dates from April 1999. His company M-Systems produced them from September 2000 and IBM marketed them.

The genius of the stick was not only the possibility of storage using chips - and not mechanically - but also the access via the USB port of the PCs, created in 1996. USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a standard for connecting computer peripherals.

An invention of the company Intel. The stick is small, handy, indispensable, or so it seems now. But in those days the criticism was not out of the blue: too expensive, some said, superfluous, others thought. You still had floppy disks, CDs, storage options galore.

Could the wand be more than a gadget? Scientists now store their lectures in it. Pupils receive their homework with these sticks ('the digital school bag'). Music lovers can buy turntables with a USB input to copy old vinyl discs.

Rock groups release entire albums on such a stick in the form of a bracelet (Matchbox Twenty). Moran's invention knows no bounds.

In retrospect, he says that the timing was perfect: the storage capacity with flash technology increased rapidly in those days and the price fell accordingly. Moran had been persistent, but he had also been lucky. Dov Moran lives in the Israeli city of Kfar Saba.

When asked about his source of inspiration, he invariably refers to his Polish grandfather, with whom he shared his room until he was eighteen. Moran: 'I learned a lot from him. He was and is my role model.

Before the war he was a successful entrepreneur and businessman in Poland. He imported from Italy a factory for the silver plating of table cutlery. And from England machines to drill for oil. By the way, I formally own a Polish oil field.

I own the title deeds of an oil field nationalized by the communists, imagine. In the Holocaust, my grandfather lost six of his seven children, lost his wife, and lost all his possessions, along with a leg.

And yet he never lost his sense of life and his sense of creativity.'

As a young soldier, Dov Moran was sent by the Israeli Navy to the Technion University of Technology in Haifa. The best technological university in the country. He graduated in 1977 and served in the Navy from 1977 to 1984.

As the director of the microprocessor department, he mainly worked on semiconductor storage, hard disk size reduction, more convenient and resistant in military action. From 1984 to 1989 he earned his living as an independent computer consultant.

When he founded his own company M-systems in 1989, he picked up some people he had worked with in the military. In 2006, after the worldwide success of the USB stick, he was able to sell M-Systems for $ 1.5 billion to the American company SanDisk.

Again he took a few confidants with him and after two months founded Modu to produce a mobile phone of the same name. The mod is the lightest mobile phone in the world, as it is also stated in the Guinness Book, with a weight of 40.1 grams. The weight of a credit card.

It is a 'modular mobile phone', a mini mobile that you can provide with a new function by changing the 'jacket'. That way you can turn the thing into a camera, a GPS, you name it.

The mode is 'the heart and the brain', the 'jackets' should be seen as a man's clothes: he changes them according to the circumstances. According to Moran, the mode makes the mobile highly individual, especially if you think of large brands that can use the jackets option.

Moran: 'A classic mobile phone was not comfortable in my pocket when I went to the movies. I couldn't jog with it either.' It is also a reaction to devices with too many functions. He splits them up again. Moran: 'My inventions are born out of a need.

I am more of a good manager than a genius or a clever engineer.' He has since stated in an Israeli newspaper: 'The only thing Nokia can do now is go to church on Sunday and pray.'