It's easy to knock the telcos nowadays, especially in the wake of the Net neutrality debates. AT&T and Verizon are lumbering old dinosaur behemoths from the post-war era who are steadily being displaced by the smaller, more agile, more innovative mammals of the Internet age—or so the standard narrative goes. But before we write off the telcos in general and AT&T in specific, I think it's worth looking at their legacy of innovation and how that legacy has evolved. It's also worth asking if the best metaphor for their troubles in the fast-moving innovation economy is really "dinosaurs being replaced by mammals." For my part, I think a better metaphor might be "old people blowing money in an effort to compete with the young, fabulous, and deeply in debt.