How to give a great interview: Six steps to prepare 

News flash for all enterprising quantum and deep-tech startups: publishing a press release is only the first step in announcing significant news from your company.  

Yes, it’s an adventure to get the press release just right and approved by all the right people. But the key to getting journalists and analysts to write about a new partnership or scientific advance or product enhancement is securing and conducting an interview about the announcement. This could be an email Q&A, a phone call or a video interview — any one of these formats will add context and details to your release.  

As you prepare the release, think about the best spokesperson for the news. A top executive may be your initial choice, but it’s smart to be selective about when to pull out the big guns. It’s also a good idea to make sure that people at all levels of your organization have media training and are comfortable talking to reporters. When a journalist wants a comment on short notice, you’ll have better odds of finding someone who can respond. 

Once you’ve got the release ready and the spokesperson identified, it’s time to help that person prepare for the interview. This doesn’t have to be a laborious process; a little research and a short conversation will usually do the trick. Any prep work will boost the individual’s confidence and make them more comfortable during the actual interview. 

Do a quick background check 

You don’t need to know the reporter’s credit score, but it is a good idea to scan the headlines of a few recent articles. Start with a LinkedIn search and then try the website formerly known as Twitter. Spending a few minutes perusing the writer’s professional history will give you a sense of the topics he or she has covered recently. Also, since you will likely be discussing a highly technical topic, this scan should help you determine if you should provide a 50,000-foot overview of the topic or get into more nitty-gritty details.  

If you have a PR agency or an internal PR person, they should provide you with a background brief that covers these topics.  

Prepare 1 – 2 top talking points  

If the interview is 30 minutes, you won’t have time to cover more than a few critical topics. Identify the most important messages you want to communicate. These could take several forms: 

  • Thought leadership about the direction of the industry  
  • Comments on the impact of trends 
  • Reaction to a news story 
  • Company news 
  • Explanation of a scientific discovery 

You will most likely discuss only one of these topics in a 30-minute interview. Organize your thoughts ahead of time and prioritize the subjects that are most important to cover. Review the list with your comms person or a colleague and use the feedback to refine your message. 

Don’t forget the details 

It’s good to start with the big picture, but your comments will be stronger if you can share some of the nuts and bolts as well. Details add depth to the story and make for more interesting reading. Think about your key messages and identify a few details that you can share about one of these points. Data points are often most helpful — size of a problem, number of people affected, potential market share — but any additional context is good, such as:  

  • Customer feedback that shaped a product or service 
  • Predictions for early adopters of your solution 
  • Statistics about a problem your company is solving or will solve in the future 
  • Personal experience with the topic 

You don’t have to give away any trade secrets or share TMI — just think about details you can provide to make your comments stand out in a reporter’s mind. 

Practice your replies 

It’s natural to get nervous during an interview, no matter how many or how few times you have been through the process. If you’re explaining a complex topic or describing a new direction your company is taking, write down your comments and practice them a few times. You can do this alone or with a colleague. Saying your responses aloud may help you spot awkward phrasing and make a few revisions as well. 

Keep an open mind  

It’s always good to expect the unexpected. Even when a journalist supplies interview questions in advance, they are likely to ask additional, or different questions. Be prepared for that. Do your best to reply and don’t hesitate to say, “I’ll get back to you on that,” if you don’t have an answer. The more interviews you do, the easier it will be to think on your feet and come up with good replies. 

Have an answer ready for the “Anything else?” question 

Near the end of an interview, a reporter may have a follow-up question about a topic you’ve already covered or want to explore something new. If an interviewer gives you an opening to share a final comment, be proactive and introduce a thought you want to add. Don’t worry if the topic isn’t connected to your central points — this is your chance to share information that is important to you. Your closing comments could spark a new story idea for the reporter. 

Quantum Video Tips from a TV News Pro

Quantum computing solutions will be able to fix incredibly difficult-to-solve problems. If only a quantum computer could explain, plainly and painlessly, what it is and what it will do.

Maybe it’s better that an algorithm doesn’t do that (yet), because explaining simply is what we do.

It’s just that not everybody wants to read that sort of content – many want to see and hear it. People watch an average of 17 hours of online videos per week, and 91% of businesses use video in marketing.

But how do you do video right?

Plan to Shoot

Quantum computer company Alice & Bob developed a plan around their new hardware. On the surface, this could be perceived as a boring topic, not to mention complex.

To avoid both boredom and complexity, the company’s marketing team scheduled a series of video shoots:

  1. Unloading heavy hardware – cryostats – outside
  2. Delicately connecting cooling mechanisms inside
  3. Recording slo-mo beauty shots of the machinery
  4. Setting up a two-camera interview about the tech

In an interview, a subject-matter expert is asked to explain the subject to someone who may not understand quantum tech. The dynamic is different; it becomes a conversation, not a lecture. Here the engineer speaks simply about what cryostats do and why they are important. He might have written a much more technical explanation.

Alice & Bob turned the results into an impressive unboxing video that a wider audience could appreciate, and on a relatively small, startup-company budget.

This all came about because a few executives and marketers looked at the calendar, decided to hit record and developed a video marketing plan in time for the twin machines’ arrival.

Make It Make Sense

Video can work well, whether from a modest budget carved out from a startup’s marketing spend, or a massive budget from a giant like Intel

Similarly, Intel succinctly introduces the global crises that quantum computing may address and the limitations of current computing.

Note their use of the classic coin analogy. They’d done it before and redeployed it because people get it.

As with Alice & Bob’s video, Intel’s is devoid of complex terminology and easy to understand.

Importantly, both videos were served on a bed of engaging music and topped with eye-catching imagery.

Show and Tell

I taught visual storytelling for 15 years. Here’s an oversimplified way to tell a good video-based story:

  • Concise, conversational writing
  • Creative, compelling shooting
  • Cohesive, character-driven editing

A YouTube search of “quantum computing” reveals beginner’s guides, explainers and speeches that employ animation to illustrate superposition, entanglement, amplitudes… things our eyes can’t see.

While the stuff that makes quantum quantum – so many intangibles laced with sub-atomic particles – remains very hard to visualize, quantum tech is maturing, becoming easier to see, and thus easier to show and tell what goes on in the lab or field.

Visuals help viewers wrap their heads around things. The greatest thing about video is taking what you can see and making it more interesting.

Why Video Marketing Matters

Short-form videos that show off cool new things best serve companies and consumers alike.

More people are using social platforms as search engines, too, looking for short videos so often that the search king itself, Google, is planning to add more short videos and social media posts in search results.

A well-produced, quickly consumable clip is a social-media-ready ELI5“Explain it like I’m 5.”

So, if something unique is happening, dedicate a few cameras to it, and a few hours to editing.

Considering the cone of experience – that we remember 10% of what we read and 50% of what we see and hear – viewers are 5X more likely to retain your message.

And when your video is memorable and understandable, that number will surely climb higher and be of extraordinary value to your audience – especially in the always-complex quantum world.

The Quantum Gold Rush = Job Security

I began a career in journalism 20 years ago as a production assistant in a TV newsroom, a print-scripts-and-run-them-to-the-anchor-desk gofer.

The news – and its reporters – were analog. I naively asked one of them, 20 years my senior, “How did you research stories before the internet?”

“We went to the library.”



I asked because I used Google to search and verify news copy, at least for national stories. Locally? Yeah, no one posted online until after their story had aired. The News was on TV.

After considering what to do about this pesky internet thing, local newsrooms began their digital transformations, and I freaked out.

Get Busy Livin’ or Get Busy Dyin’

Had the professional field I’d chosen – broadcast television – reached an inflection point? Would we all slide down the impending curve?

I rode the TV curve down as a TV producer and manager, then clawed my way up the digital curve as a news director, owning new channels, driving digital-only content, improving mobile and streaming apps, optimizing SEO and enhancing social media presence and storytelling.

It was exhausting. I jumped ship to an emerging industry – to technology public relations and quantum tech PR, marketing and communications. It’s still exhausting, but it feels great.

I know I’m not the only one making the leap.

Securing Job Security

If I learn and grow with quantum technology, quantum tech communications and quantum enterprise marketing, I am certain to have 25 years of job security ahead.

After the early 2023 tech layoffs, and ahead of any late 2023 recession, engineers, developers and other tech pros may be thinking the same:

Of course, there’s much more to quantum computing than a stable job. Quantum tech is as new and exciting as anything, drawing the most brilliant people on the planet, and we are all going to have to adapt to it for decades to come.

Quantum tech PR will be getting the word out about why and how this sea change in computing and its algorithmic alchemy will produce a new Golden Age of technology and inevitable business booms. Why not be an early member of a new reality that will touch every known industry – and create new ones in the process?

Qubits and quantum journalists – both growing in 2023

When we began our journey into quantum tech public relations back in 2019 few journalists were interested in the stories we were telling.

 “Too technical,” said some reporters.

“Too confusing,” we heard from others.

“Who cares?” said some editors. “Why should we care?”

Well, it’s mid-2023 and a lot has changed.

Yes, it’s still technical, but more reporters are being assigned the quantum tech beat and they are diligently, and even enthusiastically, learning how to write about it.

Yes, it’s still confusing. Whether it’s writing about superposition or entanglement, it’s not something encountered in our everyday world. Yet reporters are intrigued by these esoteric concepts.

So, the big question: Who cares?

Increasingly, readers, viewers and listeners do. My Google Alerts are jammed packed every day with quantum stories from all over the globe. And not only from quantum trades and sci-tech publications, but mainstream ones as well.  Witness the February TIME magazine cover on quantum computing. Or the recent FOX Business News story describing a quantum technology breakthrough.

Yes, qubits are rampant these days, as articles chart milestones and explore just when, and how, quantum tech will truly make a difference in our lives. Many see quantum development as the 21st century version of last century’s space race.

At HKA, we had the foresight – and a bit of chutzpah – to zero in on quantum relatively early. Our quantum tech network is expansive, and it is growing every day throughout the world, from North America, across Europe and Latin America and into Africa and Asia. Most are LinkedIn relationships that blossomed, born during Covid restrictions and bolstered by Zoom calls. We have finally connected with a few in person at conferences, and it’s just like meeting old friends.

More than friendships, we have developed resources valuable to journalists as they strive to understand this industry and explain it in comprehensible terms to their readers. And this, in turn, is valuable to our clients. Journalists have discovered that our roster of quantum clients spans hardware and software, and that we know consultants who provide everything from quantum recruiting to business intelligence. We can provide scientists and business leaders to supply quotes for stories or simply share background for future articles.

Some journalists have confessed it is daunting to cover quantum and that’s why they have held back. They are afraid to ask “dumb questions” when interviewing scientists. But the well-known response is even more true in quantum – there truly are no dumb questions. We aren’t physicists, after all, we are professional communicators striving to understand their realm and bring others into it.

We continue building our relationships and encouraging journalists to be bold – to dive in and tell the many fascinating stories in the quantum tech world.

How Awards Can Help Your Company Succeed

Gaining recognition and credibility through capturing notable awards is an essential part of business, but it is sometimes overlooked by emerging companies. Award recognition is a vehicle through which companies can achieve validation, draw in investors and partners, grow their media presence and wind up with a valuable stamp of approval on their products. 

Validation is a key reason why companies prioritize submitting their innovations and products for awards. The robust judging process, often conducted using premier, global industry leaders, shines a spotlight on deserving companies that may not previously been well-known in the industry. 

Accompanying validation, the value and benefits from winning an award materialize in the many ways a business can leverage the recognition. Award badges and logos given to the award recipients can be posted across social media, used on websites and in email signatures. This encourages the audience to associate the business name with the award’s prestige and reinforces in their minds that the business, its products and services have value. 

Not all awards are created equal and your public relations agency can aid in sifting through the opportunities.. Most technology awards focus on recognizing a product or service, meaning they often have similar submission processes. However, some awards carry more weight than others depending on which organization sponsors them. . For example, The World Changing Ideas Awards, sponsored by Fast Company, is a top-tier technology award distinguishable because of Fast Company’s positive popularity.  While top-tier awards can be considered home runs, emerging companies often cut their teeth on less distinguished awards and these are valuable, too. In time, they can lead to winning the biggest and best-known awards.

The process for selecting the best awards for your business can be based on these four factors:  the organization holding the award, if it is legitimately judged or a “vanity” award, the previous winners and the list of sponsors/judges.

It is a good best practice to look into who is holding an award because it will inform the decision to submit for it or not. A good rule of thumb is to submit for awards that are put on by a publication, such as Fast Company or CNBC, or a trade association you are involved in. 

Awards fall into two main categories: what we consider legitimate awards and what appear to be vanity awards. A vanity award can be won by simply submitting the requested information and paying the entry fee. While these are less desirable, in some situations there can be some value in obtaining these. What is important is knowing the difference. 

A legitimately judged award requires knowledgeable judges, typically well-known figures in the industry, to decide if your innovation or company deserves special recognition. Award submissions typically are long, detailing the innovation process and outcomes, workplace environment, and company financials.  

Additionally, do research who is sponsoring the award as this can provide more credibility and validation. If the award is sponsored by an array of established companies, you can be assured the award is legitimate and has value. Also, be sure to look into the winners from previous years as this will allow you to better understand the focus and scope of the award and how your company may fare in the competition. 

The submission process is the most important aspect and a knowledgeable PR team will be able to help you expertly convey the value of your innovation or product. A winning award submission often goes beyond simply displaying the work that was done to create an innovation. Judges like to gain insights when you highlight the nuances and challenges your company faced during the development of your technology. A PR team also will write the submission keeping the audience, i.e the judges, in mind, ensuring that a non-quantum audience can understand the context and potential impact of your innovation. 

Awards provide a company with greater brand recognition and validation. Don’t be afraid to start applying for awards to receive the recognition that your company deserves. 

Are Quantum Tech Companies Immune from a Recession?

Some Savvy Quantum Experts Weigh In


The declining economy, both in the U.S. and overseas, has raised questions for those focused on the world of quantum technology.

Is quantum tech immune to the broader economic decline? Or at least more resilient? Can quantum tech companies withstand a recession? A continued slide in the equity markets? Investor impatience? Continued supply chain woes?

If the sector is, indeed, immune, what factors are driving this? Are they sustainable? And if the sector is no different from other once-thriving tech companies suddenly facing a downturn, what should we expect from quantum startups in the months ahead?

All good questions! We turned to some savvy quantum tech experts to find some answers.

None of our questions elicited black-and-white answers, shades of gray were the common thread, but overall, the responses were encouraging.

“Given the relatively early stage of quantum hardware, few investors of quantum computing are anticipating an immediate return on their investment. I expect forward-looking organizations with reasonably durable budgets for exploratory technology to stay the course with projects already in flight, though there may be a more ‘wait and see’ stance throughout the rest of the year,” commented James Sanders, Research Analyst, Cloud & Managed Services Transformation, at 451 Research (S&P Global Market Intelligence).

Not a Death Blow

Doug Finke, managing editor of Quantum Computing Report, suggested a mixed optic: “The quantum tech sector will be impacted somewhat, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a ‘death blow.’ There are signs that VC investors are becoming cautious and may not be as ready as before to make investments in quantum computing.” Finke and several other experts noted that some quantum companies that were wishing to go public via a SPAC have delayed their plans.

Brian Lenahan, founder/chair of Quantum Strategy Institute and CEO of Aquitaine Innovation Advisors, drew a line between prepared and unprepared companies. “A current abundance of funding in the sector may delay a recessionary impact in the quantum sector. However, companies without built-in resilience from experienced advisors, proximity to clients, near-term cash flows and a long-term view will be challenged to survive a prolonged downturn (ala 2008-2009), notwithstanding the current glow of quantum investment.”

André König, CEO of Interference Advisors, had optimistic words, diluted with caution. “We are entering a historic downturn. And while quantum tech won’t be spared, I am confident that it will remain relatively sheltered. I do not see a significant correction impending due to the current macro climate. The driving factor in quantum tech is the tension between maturity curve and market forces, more so than micro- or macro-economic trends,” König said.

A Different Yardstick

“While every sector and venture must adhere to good business hygiene, quantum tech is isolated from the environment by its very own, spooky nature. Quantum tech is still a very young industry. There is as much science as engineering that needs to be done for users to derive any real value out of this paradigm-shifting technology. And while market forces – driven by investors and stakeholders in quantum tech – drive hype and expectations, reality is that we are too early to be measured by that yardstick,” König added.

He cautioned further, “The combination of these factors should not make anyone feel safe, in the slightest. Cash will get expensive, resources scarce, capital will slow, and projects will be scrutinized more intensely. Execution, in this context, is key. . . I see the next two years as the opportunity to truly prove the potential of the technology and position for true scaling.”

Lenahan has a similar impression, “Quantum immunity should last in the short term, yet the technology represents a small portion of today’s IT budget with substantial, scaled commercialization years away – suggesting challenging times ahead.”

Russ Fein, Managing Director of Corporate Fuel Partners, has real concerns about the quantum sector, but not because of the general economy. “I’ve recently been worrying that the quantum financing party may be ending soon (or at lease sputtering a bit), but that has nothing to do with the broader downturn.  Hardware players have raised huge sums in aggregate and will begin to need to go back to the markets soon for B-rounds.  Without very clear achievement of milestones, it will be difficult to raise more capital and I expect there to be an increasing number of down-rounds, which will add drag to the overall QC investment environment.  This is now exacerbated by the broader market decline.”

An upbeat view comes from Nardo Manaloto, Managing Partner, Qubit Ventures, who commented, “Since the quantum tech sector is still in its nascent stages, the impact is minimal for those startups in early stages. There is built-in resilience due to the amount of time it will take to realize, apply and adopt this technology. The impact is primarily on the larger VC firms investing in ​the quantum computing companies that have gone public and have pressure to show traction and require larger investment amounts.”

Watching Layoff Trends

Connor Teague, president of Quantum Futures, closely watches quantum employment trends in his position as a quantum-specific recruiter. “I can only see it slowing down if people are being laid off and the reason people will be laid off will be because of investments slowing down. If companies continue to hit their targets, then I don’t see a problem.  However, companies are over-promising on their roadmap to secure funding. It’s incredibly difficult to reach these milestones, which strains how the rest of the world views quantum computing businesses. They think ‘it’s not working,’” Teague said.

Teague adds that quantum-specific VCs do understand it’s a long-term investment and so they may give their portfolio “extra backing to weather this storm.”

Christopher Bishop, Chief Reinvention Officer at Improvising Careers, offers further confidence. “With my economic historian hat on, we need to keep in mind that all technologies were once ‘new’ – quantum is no different. Interest always waxes and wanes. This has been true for breakthroughs from the Victorian internet (telegraph) to the personal computer.

“But the potential impact of quantum information science is so broad-based and wide-ranging – from both the benefits it can deliver as well as the risks to areas like data security – that interest will not wane any time soon. The application of quantum information science will change how we live and work – even though it may be 5, 10, 20 years out. And as a result, it will generate continued focus and investment,” Bishop noted.

Taking the conversation further, the experts offered reasons why, or why not, the quantum tech sector differs from broader tech.

Fein points to a longer economic cycle in quantum and more patience from players in the industry. He surmises, “Given the power and potential of quantum computers, there is a bit of a protective aura around the space vis-à-vis broader market cycles.”

Sanders points out that in comparison with other enterprise technology and mass-market consumer electronics, supply chain issues have less impact on quantum tech companies. “There is no mass manufacturing in quantum computing or networking. Devices in use now are generally assembled by PhDs, and the consumption of components (industrial control, laser assembly, etc.) are not in particularly high volume.”

Also attributing to the quantum tech differential is the level of attention given to these companies. Finke commented, “The other difference is that quantum tech has more hype.”

Global Government Funding

Several experts quickly pointed to the almost ubiquitous global government funding flowing to quantum startups.

Finke said, “Quantum tech has received substantial government funding, and this funding will continue or even increase. There are certain concerns about national security as well as national economic health that will motivate governments worldwide to maintain this funding. In particular, the European countries and China are funding quantum tech at an even higher rate than the U.S. because they don’t want to see the U.S. dominate quantum tech in the same way it did with classical computing tech.”

König concurred, “Let’s not forget that quantum tech is a national priority of the highest order for the major markets in North America, Europe, parts of Asia, Israel and other regions.

So, what do the experts see in their crystal balls if the quantum tech sector softens along with the rest of the technology realm?

Pockets of Pain

Fein, while not attributing the slowdown to the broader economic decline, still anticipates “pockets of pain as individual companies miss milestones and/or run out of funds.”

Sanders has thoughts about the impact of the currently small quantum talent pool on the less common hardware approaches. “The truism of ‘if you want to go far, go together” may apply to quantum, particularly for the multiple early approaches around superconducting and ion qubits, versus more boutique approaches such as electron-on-helium, where only one startup with extremely specialized knowledge is pursuing a modality.”

Lenahan offered additional thoughts: “Taking reference from the various eras of artificial intelligence waves, quantum tech companies not producing commercial results should expect a decline in theoretical quantum activities. However, an emphasis on in-market use cases should generate continued interest from investors and consumers. Sector wide, we should anticipate reduced conference overlap (participants being more selective) and a slow shift from talent undersupply to a more balanced talent gap.”

Full-Stack Winners

The experts anticipate more mergers and consolidation within the industry, particularly if there is a softening of the sector. König commented, “The quantum tech market is poised for consolidation, full stack providers will emerge as winners and capital will flow to those projects promising the best approach to this yet unsolved puzzle.”

A few other predictions emerged from the expert panel.

Fein said, “I believe the general philosophy will remain ‘full steam ahead.’ That said, companies will begin to worry that their next round may be more difficult to close, and so may do things to extend their runways.  Companies like PsiQuantum, which raised enough to weather many years, will keep their foot on the gas.  Those with less than 12-18 months of runway may begin to be more guarded in their spend.  I doubt we’ll see wholesale layoffs, but we may see a slight slowdown in hiring and investment so that runways can be extended.”

Gradual Changes

Finke suggested, “I think changes will be seen gradually. In fact, some may have already started as seen in the stock prices of IonQ and Rigetti, and perhaps some of the mergers within the past few months. There will likely be a shake-out in the industry.” This follows the pattern of many industries including “railroads in the 1840s, automobiles in the early 20th century, radio in the 1920s, television in the 1940s, transistor electronics in the 1950s, computer time-sharing in the 1960s, and home computers and biotechnology in the 1980s (from Wikipedia).”

“However, a few stronger players will survive and even thrive. Netflix was founded in 1997 and Google in 1998, a few years before the internet tech bubble started bursting in 2000. So, in the end, winnowing the quantum tech companies may prove beneficial to the industry in the long term because weaker companies will go away and stronger companies will become even stronger as major players,” Finke added.

König summarized, “I am a huge proponent of commercialization and solution selling, and that is my goal for quantum tech, but the point we are at in the current development is still very much dominated by scientific development and even research. Thus, while there undoubtedly will be financial pressure on any vendor and startup, I do not expect to see a fall out due to the current externalities.”

(Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in the Quantum Computing Report)

The Quantum State of Things

There is no shortage of quantum-focused conferences these days, although many are called a summit, a term that somehow sounds more inviting than a conference. Whatever it is called, an increasingly number of people are opining about the current state of quantum technology as well as what lies ahead.

Some talks are packed with unfortunate rah-rah hype. Others contain so many technical details that only a quantum physicist could understand. But some speakers hit just the right note for me – blending realism and understandable expertise.

One such speaker is Doug Finke, who spoke at the Chicago Quantum Summit in early November. While Doug spoke in person in Chicago, I watched virtually in Southern California, actually very near Doug’s home base. In full transparency, Doug is the person who got HKA hooked on exploring the potential of PR in the quantum technology world.

Doug is the founder and editor of the online Quantum Computing Report and is one of the first, if not the first, to create a non-academic publication focused on quantum. That was in 2015, and he later added a weekly newsletter. Calling himself a “refugee from the classical computing world,” (read IBM, Intel, Western Digital, among others), Doug saw the quantum writing on the wall. He observed that the emerging quantum field lacked analysis and packed his bags to move from classical to quantum computing – and hasn’t looked back. In fact, he was the first reviewer of the IBM Quantum Experience in 2016.

Speaking to the Chicago audience, Doug presented an enthusiastic yet realistic image of the current state of quantum tech, and a significantly rosier picture of the future. He cited Amara’s Law, which states that people tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short run but underestimate it in the long run.

He noted that right now, he can count at least 225 startups in the field of quantum technology. But he quickly added that in 10 years, most won’t exist in their present state. They will either be bought, merged or go out of business. A great consolidation will take place, similar to what happened in the 1960s and 1970s with the semiconductor industry, as well as with personal computers in the 1980s and 1990s. And just like the tech crowd debated which semiconductor technology would win out, so, too, are people today taking bets on which quantum tech will remain standing. Doug doubts it will be just one.

Competition is fierce and coming from many directions. It’s fiercely competitive among the hardware and software quantum startups. And competition is seen at the international level, with countries vying to outspend each other to get ahead. Doug told the U.S. audience that Europe and China are both significantly outspending the U.S. He added that even advances in classical computers at this stage represent competition – “classical computers keep getting better and better.”

Interestingly, Doug pointed to the coming of quantum-resistant cryptography as a parallel to the frenzy that occurred with Y2K, at the turn of the century 20 years ago. With the resulting revenue classified as “huge,” Doug noted that tens of billions of devices will need upgrades or replacements to avoid disaster. It’s a matter of QKD (physics based) versus PQC (math based). By the end of the decade, there could be three to five billion in revenue addressing this issue alone with quantum computers, Doug suggested.

OK, this is a pretty darn rosy picture. But Doug does point out a few things that could derail the growth. He’s not concerned about the current lack of powerful-enough hardware to carry this forward, since the hardware companies have convincing roadmaps. He IS concerned there’s not enough easy-to-use software. And the biggest red flag, according to Doug and many others, is the labor shortage. Too few people are trained to work in the quantum industry. Workforce development is critical for truly meaningful growth.

Doug wrapped up his talk with sage advice:

First, manage expectations. This is a decades-long process, it won’t happen overnight. Be patient and be confident the industry will thrive.

Next, think carefully about how you should participate in the industry:

  • Providers: think about where you best fit in the ecosystem to realistically provide differentiated value.
  • Investors: perform due diligence carefully; not everyone will succeed in this difficult industry.
  • End users: start investigating how quantum technology can have a positive impact on your organization, even with just a proof of concept right now, and get your staff trained.
  • Educators: continue helping industry by building a quantum-ready workforce with relevant skills.
  • Governments: support basic research and educational programs but also think about how you can be a consumer of large-scale quantum technology.

Doug suggested governments treat the emerging quantum industry like it treated the space race in the 1960s. “Governments can issue purchase orders to companies, much like the space program helped the semiconductor industry. Purchase orders are much stronger than grants, I challenge you,” Doug concluded.


As an American, I’m guilty of being primarily a one-language person. Sure, I can understand and speak a bit of Spanish and Italian, due to long-ago high school and college courses. And living in southern California regularly brings opportunities to speak snippets of Spanish. But if I really want to understand, or be understood, it’s English.

Fortunately, many countries are lightyears ahead of the U.S as far as learning non-native languages. Many people speak two, three and even more languages – and English is almost universally taught.
I’m struck by this linguistic aptitude again and again as I work in the quantum tech field. While it’s not unusual for technology companies to interact, especially at international conferences (remember those?), there seems to be something special about the quantum tech ecosystems now being formed and embraced. While previous technology advances tended to be defined by a single large company, or perhaps a geographic area like Silicon Valley, today’s quantum tech ecosystems are global in every aspect, and this is being accepted as the norm.

For example, quantum tech startups not only are taking shape around the globe, but most have a truly cosmopolitan workforce filled with brilliant scientists and engineers who have relocated following university stints to find exciting career opportunities in this flourishing field. Native tongues are far-flung — from Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia — yet communication and collaboration come readily in English.

It’s not only the startups with this distinctively international flavor. Nonprofits, supported by industry players, proactively advance quantum tech ecosystems around the world; there is no central “hub” of quantum tech. These organizations bring greater awareness about both the potential and the realities of quantum technology, are fostering quantum education to support the growing labor needs in this nascent industry and provide forums that encourage collaboration. Yes, there is intense competition in this field, but I have also seen a lively collaborative spirit that easily jumps across geographical borders.
One such group, aptly named OneQuantum, is headquartered in the U.S. but its flavor is decidedly international. Not even two years old, it has created chapters around the world: Nepal, South Africa, Balkan, Nordic, Canada, Zimbabwe, Kenya, UAE, India, Libya, UK, Japan, Chile and Argentina. By the time you read this, I suspect there may be more. Each chapter, which has a local leader, holds local events for chapter members, but virtual summits also attract online participants from around the world. Last week, for example, I tuned into the South Africa chapter summit and virtually met not only some from the South African quantum community, but others, like me, who live in other regions but are eager to grasp this industry from an international perspective.

One other OneQuantum chapter – Women in Quantum — is not tied to specific geography and so far, has held five virtual summits that have drawn enthusiastic attention from all corners. Virtual career fairs tacked onto these summits have made them even more popular – with both employers and employees.
This global perspective has served the fledgling quantum industry well. It’s likely that we will see more, not fewer, nationalities, languages and cultures accessing the multiple quantum ecosystems. And given the more limiting perspectives of past technology advances, this is truly refreshing.

Totally Caffeinated by Quantum

You never know where a friendly cup of coffee can lead. Sometimes it’s to a subatomic world where unprecedented opportunities await.

It was April 2019 when I was searching for compelling topics to cover as part of HKA’s relaunch of its pioneering EmergingTechPR blog. During my research, I came across a website called the Quantum Computing Report (QCR). To my surprise, Doug Finke, the site’s founder, was based just a couple miles from our office. Intrigued by just the sound of ‘quantum computing,’ I asked if we could talk.

Doug and I met for coffee. His background was impressive with more than four decades of technology industry experience, including stints at Intel and IBM during pivotal moments in their histories. Doug somehow had the foresight to see another pivotal moment on the horizon and established QCR in 2016 to provide informed commentary and analysis on the still nascent quantum computing industry.

During our chat, Doug did his level best to explain quantum computing to this layman. And while I didn’t understand everything – if not most things – he told me, it sure was fascinating. So I wrote this post – A Quantum Leap in Computing Is Coming.

Doug and I kept in touch. And in the meantime, the world of quantum computing exploded onto the scene with Google announcing it had achieved ‘quantum supremacy,’ meaning its quantum computer had solved a problem that no computer on Earth could accomplish. It didn’t matter that the answer wasn’t useful – many considered it the Kitty Hawk or Sputnik moment of our age. Doug was right! What he saw coming had arrived!

Doug’s website was seeing unprecedented traffic and his consulting practice was gaining traction, while HKA had secured a quantum computing client with U.S. headquarters soon opening in Los Angeles.

We talked again. HKA and QCR had too many synergies to ignore! Fast forward to today, where HKA now is using its media relations expertise and other marketing communications services to help promote QCR, the world’s most trafficked news and analysis site dedicated to the business of quantum computing, as well as Doug himself as the publisher and trusted industry authority.

Using the parlance of quantum physics, HKA and QCR are now entangled. And just like entangled particles in the subatomic realm, we both share the ability to enable game-changing opportunities for businesses.

See the press release here to learn more about Doug and QCR. Also, consider joining us at the next Southern California Quantum Computing Meetup, which Doug manages, offering presentations from experts on recent research and technical discussions for developers and enthusiasts. The MeetUp is set for Feb. 24, 2020, at the Ayres Hotel in Anaheim. We’d love to see you there!