Clemson University’s John E. Walker Department of Economics and the Information Economy Project will present a night with John Bloom, award-winning investigative reporter, author and film critic, on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

John Bloom, Information Economy Project, Iridium Story

John Bloom

Bloom will discuss his book, “Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story,” at 5 p.m., at Greenville ONE, followed by a Q&A and reception. The event is free and open to the public.

Bloom’s book was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2016” and was honored as a “Book of the Year” for 2016 by The Economist. It chronicles the failure of Motorola’s satellite phone venture, Iridium, and its subsequent resurrection by entrepreneur Dan Colussy.

The telecom giant’s multi-billion dollar business failure paved the way for Colussy, former president of PanAm, to acquire Iridium’s constellation of satellites and revive the business into a viable communications system that provides satellite phone service to all corners of the earth.

Iridium, which came within hours of being destroyed by Motorola, now serves the U.S. military, airliners, ships at sea, and provides vital links during natural disasters. It was the one network to remain operating following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  Even today, nearly two decades after it was launched, Iridium remains the only wireless system to work on every inch of the planet – the polar caps, the Sahara Desert and Mount Everest.

Bloom, also known as his alter ego, Joe Bob Briggs, is a literary icon and a man of diverse talents, having published nine books, served as a television show host, motion picture actor, satirist and film critic. His movie review column was syndicated by the New York Times.

About the Information Economy Project

The Information Economy Project examines public policy issues that are central to the health of a global economy. Public policy in the Information Economy is central to the global economy’s health and can limit or expand free speech. The project’s work sits at the intersection of academic research and public policy and taps prominent thinkers in business, law and government to analyze the most challenging regulatory questions of our day.

The IEP is directed by Thomas W. Hazlett, H.H. Macaulay Endowed Professor of Economics in Clemson’s John E. Walker Department of Economics. For more information on the lecture or the activities of the IEP, go to Please direct additional questions to Will Jackson at

# # #