Zeit·geist = spirit, essence of a particular time

A collection of food-for-thought posts and articles on technology, business, leadership and management. 

An End to Moore's Law: the Dawn of a New Computing Era

(continuation to: The Second Arms Race: Artificial Intelligence)

Many information technologies have evolved at exponential rate (Nagy et al, 2011), Moore’s law, stating the transistor count doubles every 2 years, has been at the core of causality for 50 years.

But this trend may not hold for much longer (Mack 2011, Lundstrom 2003) as per physical limitations of silicon, or, maybe we don’t see the forest for the trees.

•    There are limits to the exponential growth inherent in each paradigm. Moore’s law was not the first paradigm to bring exponential growth to computing, but rather the fifth. 

•    In the 1950s they were shrinking vacuum tubes to keep the exponential growth going and then that paradigm hit a wall. But the exponential growth of computing didn’t stop. 

•    It kept going, with the new paradigm of transistors taking over. Each time we can see the end of the road for a paradigm, it creates research pre, quest for the pressure to create the next one. 

 •    That’s happening now with Moore’s law, even though we are still about fifteen years away from the end of our ability to shrink transistors on a flat integrated circuit. 

•    We’re making dramatic progress in creating the sixth paradigm, which is three-dimensional (quantum) molecular computing. 

Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity is near

The dawn of a new computing era: More than Moore MtM

Moore’s law will come to an end as a consequence of physical limitations of silicon; three dimensional quantum computing is poised to take over as the new paradigm. 

Quantum computing timeline:


•    Coherent superposition of an ensemble of approximately 3 billion qubits for 39 minutes at room temperature. The previous record was 2 seconds.


•    Documents leaked by Edward Snowden confirm the Penetrating Hard Targets Project, by which the National Security Agency seeks to develop a quantum computing capability for cryptographic purposes.

•    Scientists transfer data by quantum teleportation over a distance of 10 feet (3.048 meters) with zero percent error rate, a vital step towards a quantum Internet.


•    Optically addressable nuclear spins in a solid with a six-hour coherence time.

•    Quantum information encoded by simple electrical pulses.

•    Quantum error detection code using a square lattice of four superconducting qubits


Quantum computing promises to augment computing power a billion fold, however, we may not need to get there to develop a strong Artificial Intelligence, one that has the capacity to improve and evolve by itself.

The expectation is that soon after we reach a strong AI matching a human brain, the ability to replicate it rapidly and limitlessly will generate a self-improving general AI, which in turn would accelerate intelligence exponentially.


Next: An Explosion of Intelligence: The A.I. Arms Race

The Startup Pitch Process: Lessons learnt (the hard way)

Got featured at YPO Young President's Organization Ignite Magazine this month, blogging the article, for the record and future reference: about-ypo-members

The Startup Pitch Process: Lessons Learned (the Hard Way)

By Eduardo Fernandez (YPO Global One)

These are fascinating times in the tech world. Mergers and acquisitions are accelerating at increasing speeds fostered by all kinds of startup-based innovations.

As part of a management course, the Engineering Leadership Program at the IE Business School in Spain, I have learned (the hard way) how the startup pitch process works these days, and what key messages to convey to investors to grab their attention, and their funding, for your project.

In essence:

1. Focus on the need (the problem) you are trying to solve. Clearly articulate your solution. Sometimes a crisp and thorough explanation of the problem to be solved is more important than the solution we are trying to sell.

2. Metrics: How big is this thing? Market size, audiences, where are they? How much interest do they have? Evidence (have you piloted it)? Reference points can be built quickly out of readily available online tools like kickstarterinstant.lySurveyMonkey or Google Trends and Adwords to show proof of market demand.

3. Demo your solution as much as you possibly can. If an image is worth a thousand words, a real-life demo is worth 10 thousand at least.

4. CompetitionWho are they? What is it that you have and they don’t? What is the plan to outsmart them? Typically, for new tech products or services, it is very much about adoption speed, critical mass, user engagement versus distribution, and branding or financial muscle, but you may have a different approach. Just make it clear and sound.

5. FinancialsThey are not relevant, actually. Conceptually, investors do not consider revenue a responsibility of entrepreneurs; the market decides. Your job is to orchestrate the team and build the product or service for that market so that they (investors) can bet on it. It is very important, however, to clearly state how much funding you are asking for, and what are you going to do with it.

6. The team. Team is crucial in a startup. Investors invest in people not in projects. Always secure a capable team with the required experience and competencies.

7. The motivation. Finally, the most important thing of all: put all your passion into it.

Emotions are the engine of everything we do. If you are wholeheartedly committed to your project, investors will notice by the way you show your emotions. This gives them confidence you are going to stay through the different stages, even if your project runs out of money.

How did it work for me and my team? We had to present our startup project to a jury of seasoned experts at the end of the Engineering Leadership Program, after receiving feedback throughout modules with the University of California, Berkeley, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Out of more than a dozen presentations, our home automation project was selected as the winner of the 2013 Engineering Leadership Program.

View Fernandez’s SmartHome Startup Pitch

Read more on his blog Zeitgeist–Ed Fernandez

Eduardo Fernandez (YPO Global One) is vice president of northern Latin America BlackBerry and associate professor at Menendez Pelayo University. He is also a technology start up investor and entrepreneur. He was the 2011-2012 chapter communications officer for the YPO Madrid Chapter. Eduardo can be reached via twitter at @efernandez.

Smartphone adoption, not even half way

Diffusion of technologies follow a bell curve, going from early adopters, on to majority, late majority and laggards,  to reach 100% penetration.  This phenomenon was studied and explained by Everett Rogers back in 1983.

An S shaped curve (logistic function) follows suit. The bell curve is actually product of the derivative of the logistic function.

WebCongress Miami 2013 Why does Superman wear his underwear outside

Stacking up the data of smartphone sales from last years, it´s amazing how accurately its adoption follows the pattern. The coloured area on the right part of the chart, corresponding to actual US smartphone sales gives you an indication of the maturity of this market today, well above 50% penetration, versus worldwide penetration sitting north of 22% only.

A similar pattern can be observed looking at top 5 European countries.

This post from the analyst Horace Dediu is the original source for the all data and graphs.

Now you can estimate where the growth (in volume) will come from, geographically speaking, based on adoption and relative audience available.

And this, regardless of manufacturer shares, as the theory demonstrates the different players will adapt their strategies accordingly, within the limits of the S adoption curve.

This theory can be applied to literally any new technology breakthrough; products, services, social networks....

Now, the task is to analyze the underlying reasons behind the pattern. The Why.

There are some theories out there linking human learning processes with it but I suspect there is more behind, specifically about the perceived benefit of a technology within the community (or the bigger entire human colony if you will), and the role of the brand as a fostering mechanism for adoption.

Fascinating food for thought.


credits: Horace Dediu. Asymco

WebCongress US: Why Superman wears his underwear outside his pants? - Tech trends & patterns

Actually this is a presentation about technology trends, patterns and mobility but, given the audience at WebCongress held in Miami James L. Knight center I had to look for a catchy title. Head on to slide 32 for a wonderful graph on Smartphone adoption where you can see where the world is at today compared to US and EU 5 countries. Thanks to analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco.

[slideshare id=28014475&doc=webcongressmiami2013whydoessupermanwearhisunderwearoutside-online-131107133803-phpapp02]

The deck is 51 slides long but there are another 50 in the original draft, pretty much covering everything I could find from real experts around tech. More importantly, at the end of the presentation, slides 46 onwards, you'll find what this means to people, and their reason behind the rising new generation of entrepreneurs.

As a summary, this is the new context we face:

  • New paths in Maslow’s pyramid
  • ‘truth’ is a tweet, photo or video clicked & sent away
  • New definitions of ‘success’: money may not be in
  • Access to luxury more important than owning luxury – Rise of sharing economy
  • Self-realization and self-actualization online
  • (Win)^3: You help me, I help you, we help others
  • Klout score in your resume
  • Managing man-machine symbiosis, key competencies.
  • Global network, global thinking, global objectives. A collective intelligence arising (Singularity)

Consequence of historical events:

  • Reduced sense of security since 2001 terrorists attacks
  • Destabilized economy since Global Financial crisis 2008
  • High unemployment levels – ‘Evil’ corporations
  • Increasing perceived fiscal pressure – need to self sustain or get out the system
  • Pervasive & cheap computing everywhere
  • Tech-entrepreneur heroes – Dorsey, Zuckenberg, Larry, Sergey
  • All tools you need in the web: crowdfunding yourself (kickstarter)

Loss aversion decreased dramatically for new generations, a 'nothing to lose' context fosters entrepreneurship. We'll all meet there.


Start up pitch - Engineering Leadership Program at IE Business School

Fascinating times in the tech world. I have learned (the hard way) how the start up pitch process works these days, and what are the key messages to convey to investors to grab their attention (and their funding) for your project.

In essence:

1. Focus on the need (the problem) you are trying to solve. Articulate clearly your solution.

2. Metrics: how big is this thing?. Market size, audiences, where are they? How much interest do they have? proofs? (have you piloted this?)

3. Demo your solution as much as you possibly can.

4. Competition, who are they? risks?

5. Financials: not relevant overall as all investors consider very difficult to predict what will happen. Very important though to state clearly how much funding are you asking for, and what are you gonna do with it.

6. The team. Team is crucial in a start up. Investors invest in people not in projects.  Always secure a capable team with the required experience and competencies.

7. Finally, the most important thing of all: put all the p-a-s-s-i-o-n into it.

Emotions are the engine of everything we do, if you are wholeheartedly committed with the project investors will notice by the way you show your emotions. This gives them confidence you're going to stay even if your project runs out of money.

For us, prior to graduation at the Engineering Leadership Program from IE Business School, we had to present our start up project to a jury of seasoned experts.

Out of the more than a dozen presentations, this project (our project) was selected as the winning start up, see below on slideshare:

[slideshare id=26433685&style=border:1px solid #CCC;border-width:1px 1px 0;margin-bottom:5px&sc=no]

Awarded Best Start-Up project by IE Business School at the Global Engineering Leadership Program in its 2013 edition.

Co-leaders: Antonio Mansilla Laguia, COO Kellogg EMEA & Javier Garcia, CFO Endemol


. Paris de L'Etraz. PhD. Managing Director Venture Labs at IE Business School

. Ikhlaq Shidu. PhD. Chief Scientist at UC Berkeley's Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership

. Jorge Montes del Pino. PhD. Business Angel & Advisor. es.linkedin.com/pub/jorge-montes-del-pino/7/831/a56

. Roy Richards. PhD. Columbia Tech. Chairman & Board Member at Southwire Corp.

About the Global Engineering Leadership executive program: UC Berkeley has partnered with the IE Business School (ranked 7 globally) and the prestigious Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to offer a global version of the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Program.

Click here to see the video.

Thanks to Antonio Mansilla, COO Southern EMEA at Kellog as well as to Javier Garcia, CFO and board member at Endemol.

Thanks also to Mario, Antonio's 9 years old son, who kindly let us into his room at his home to install the Smarthings hub we used for demoing purposes.