whurley | All Things Quantum — SolarWinds TechPod 050

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William Hurley (or “whurley” as he prefers to be called) is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and open-source advocate, whos achieved what many geeks only dream of, including critically recognized work at AppleIBM, and CERN. He’s started and sold businesses; invented, invested, published, advised, and mentored. Currently, he’s best known his thoughts on—and experience with— quantum computing. SolarWinds Head Geek Leon Adato asks about the insights whurley’s gleaned from his work in quantum computing as it applies to everyday IT. But the conversation didn’t stop there. Listen in (or read the transcript) to find out more.  Related Links:


We’re Geekbuilt.® Developed by network and systems engineers who know what it takes to manage today's dynamic IT environments, SolarWinds has a deep connection to… Read More
Leon Adato


Leon Adato is a Head Geek™ and technical evangelist at SolarWinds, and is a Cisco® Certified Network Associate (CCNA), MCSE and SolarWinds Certified Professional (he… Read More

Episode Transcript

Announcer: This episode of TechPod is brought to you by SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2021; Building a Secure Future. Read how tech pros perceive their organization’s risk management and mitigation readiness after a year of rapid transition fueled by the pandemic. Visit http://it-trends.solarwinds.com.

Leon: William Hurley or whurley, as he is often called, is a philanthropist, entrepreneur and open source advocate who’s lived what many of us in the geek space would consider to be a charmed life. He managed to dodge college without getting disowned by his parents, he worked at Apple and IBM, he participated in the creation of such mythically named adventures as the Board of Awesomeness, the Helmet of Justice, the Board of Imagination, and has titles like master inventor. He rubs elbows with folks like Robert Metcalfe and Will.i.am and has gotten to hang out at places like CERN, yes, CERN, that one, and he’s known for his thoughts on and experience with quantum computing. Welcome to TechPod.

whurley: Hey, thanks for having me, I’m glad to be here.

Leon: We are so excited to have you here. And I want to start by acknowledging that everyone asks you to explain quantum computing, so we’re not going to. In the interest of time, we’re not going to waste our chance to talk with you by demanding you retread this topic which you’ve already handled really well in other forums. So for those listening, who want to hear Whurley, do a bang up job on describing quantum computing, or how it works or why it matters, or any of the other things that we mentioned in this podcast, we’re going to have links in the show notes, so you can start scribbling things down, put your hands back on the wheel, pay attention to the road, it’s okay, you will be able to get those notes later. I want to start with some shameless self promotion, and give you a chance to tell us more about Whurley and Strangeworks and anything else where people can find you on the interwebs. All that stuff.

whurley: Yeah, well, so finding me is really easy, you just go to Whurley on anything, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, or whatever, and I get tons of requests. So the only thing I ask is if you send me something you hear your interested in, or you think we should work together, just know it could be months before you hear back from me, but you will hear back eventually. As far as shameless self promotion, and Strangeworks, there’s only one thing, we pimp it every time and we’ll pimp it here. We did write Quantum Computing for Babies, which is an excellent, excellent explanation. Literally, Leon anybody can understand that, right? It’s so simple.

Leon: This is amazing, I have a 15-week old-grandson, I’m getting it for him.

whurley: Then you don’t have to get it for him, you shoot me an email, and I’ll sign one for your grandson and send it to you not a problem. But that’s the only thing I could possibly shamelessly self promote.

Leon: Okay, perfect. I also want to talk about, obviously, quantum computing is a ferociously difficult concept to understand, and obviously, you’ve put it in the simplest of all possible terms. Did you always have a knack for taking difficult technical concepts and boiling them down, or is it something you had to work on and learn how to do?

whurley: No, I still don’t know, I think explaining difficult concepts is kind of like a wedding, like something borrowed, something stolen, whatever. I mean, I think there’s a great community of people that I have surrounded myself with who will help with that a lot. Sometimes I can’t explain it, and we all need mentors and people to bounce ideas off. Sometimes you’re borrowing parts of explanations or taking explanations you’ve heard and modifying it. So I wouldn’t say that I have any special talent for it, I grew up with Carl Sagan watching him every week, and of course, he was very good on explaining extremely complicated topics in lay terms, and I think I just kind of have always been exposed that way but most importantly, I have two parents who are wonderful but not technical, and a whole set of family and friends, where I’ve often found throughout my career explaining everything like email on up. So I think it’s just experience at this.

Leon: I think that’s relevant for a lot of the folks who listen to TechPod because whether they’re a storage admin or a network engineer, or whatever, they find themselves in situations where they have to, because their job depends on it. Explain a fairly challenging concept like VPN or SDN or whatever, and I think it’s a little comforting to know that people who effectively have written a book about it, or whatever, it’s still a skill that has to be developed and grown in the same way that we develop our other skills. So I appreciate that perspective.

Leon: As I mentioned in the intro, you have done some really fun, really visionary, impactful things and the best place to start talking about the real stuff. The quantum stuff is that experience and perspective. When we mentioned to Sudhakar our CEO that you’re going to be guest. He had a question for you, and in the interest of my continued job security, I figured I would put his question first. He wanted to know if you have any predictions on internet evolution, especially with regard to trends that companies like us should be particularly cognizant of.

whurley: Yeah, absolutely. So look, I’m a big believer that the 1920s are going to look like the 2020s. From the crash to the Industrial Revolution, I just think it’s going to be a quantum revolution. So quantum mechanics will find its way from the fifth Solvay Conference in 1927, where Einstein and Schrödinger and everybody came up with all of these concepts into not just computing, but in the sensing, into networking, into every aspect of our lives. So if you look right now things I think that he is a CEO should be looking at or people at the company, post quantum cryptography, obviously, all of the new networking technologies that are quantum based and photonics based, and especially quantum internet. I mean, there is zero doubt that we will build a quantum internet at some point in the next 20 or 30 years, okay? It may be much faster than that, I’m throwing out a crazy timeline, I’ve to be careful with those because people take them as predictions, it’s not a prediction, that’s just a, it’s probably going to be here.

whurley: When you think about quantum internet, a whole new set of challenges that come out. There was a great research paper that said, “If you had a quantum internet, and you had three pulse devices, and you set off three pulses, at the same time on this infrastructure, then it would just like, there’s no more internet, it’s gone.” So the threats and the things to monitor and things to watch are going to change with this technology, potentially. So that’s super fascinating, and also, it’s going to make things a lot more secure. So, there’s some all new technology evolutions, there’s a plus, and there’s a minus. So I think those are the things to be looking at and as a monitoring company, I would be looking at everything across that networking stack. That would be my advice, because that Cisco’s already working on quantum related technologies, Juniper is working on quantum related technologies, BMC, CA, all these companies. These are, of course, back things, right? They’re not monitored, these are like, Cisco’s going to make a box and it’s going to be like, “This is your quantum internet box.” But you’re going to have to monitor that box, you have to watch that box, you have to have a way of everything from, and up times will be different. As you get in these quantum technologies, things get a little weird.

Leon: Great, and that’s exactly where I wanted to go, which is, we again, don’t want to ask you to explain quantum computing, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have tons of questions about it, and given that SolarWinds, is a monitoring company that has seen a lot of stuff over the 20 years. What does monitoring mean in a quantum internet or quantum computing environment? How do you know if something is healthy, or it’s not performing well or not? What are the KPIs? What are the values that might matter in that kind of context?

whurley: Yeah, my joke is I write software for computers that don’t exist. So I don’t want you to get a monitor there, and that’s probably good, we probably should give a little bit of explanation on the quantum, but when you think about what it’s like monitoring on the network side, there will be new things. For example, you’ll be using things like teleportation and encryption for doing all these new, you may have to monitor the entanglement between two particles that you’re now using to communicate. I mean, that could get insanely complex but also a lot more of the same. So think about token rings and then Ethernets, and advances in fiber or whatever. The more things change, the more they stay the same, but there’s like new levels of knowledge, new areas that you might want to monitor.

whurley: On the computing side, that gets ridiculously different. Just give the standard kind of very quick deal, we just took the whole team to Puerto Rico, we went to Ron del Barrilito rum and we got a challenge coin there. Okay. So if we take this coin, and we think of this as a bit, this white side is heads this blue side is tails. If I put it in my hand, in that two dimensional plane, it can either be a one or zero. That’s it. A qubit is more like a soccer ball. If it’s 20 directly up, it’s a one point, and put it directly down it’s a zero. So when I flipped that coin in the air, is it at that apex of that turn of one or zero?

whurley: The answer is, it’s not in a position of both, which is one of the myths of quantum. Is not in a superposition doesn’t mean it’s one and zero at the same time, it means it’s in a probability of one and zero at the same time, we can measure that when we monitor that, when we measure it collapses the state, and we end up with a one or a zero. So think about it like Schrödinger’s cat. Famous thought experiment, let’s put a cat in the box and pump poison gas into it, and I’m like, “What was that guy thinking?” But whatever.

Leon: He was not a cat person.

whurley: I mean, I get him, really dramatic, apparently, doesn’t like cats. But the thing is, is a cat alive or dead. The fact is that until you open the box and see you do not know. So what we do is you take something like a salt atom, you blow it up, you pull electron off or whatever you take this atomic particle, you trap it with lasers, you freeze it down to almost absolute zero, you prevent it from moving around a lot. Now we can take that soccer ball, I described that blogsphere, and we can rotate it on the X, Y, and Z, or H, and that’s how we do calculations. It allows you to look at, if you think in classical computers looking like N-space, it’d be like N-squared.

whurley: So you can look at a much wider set of probabilities and collapse them down to an answer that’s most likely right, but you’re not going to use these things for some of the common tasks that people think of computers. Right now people are treating quantum computers the way IBM treated mainframes and home computers back in the day. They made famous statements, it’s probably not a need for more than three or four computers in the entire world.

Leon: Got it. This again, dovetails where I wanted to go, which is, what do you think the the most real impactful thing quantum computing can do today?

whurley: Not much. That’s a reality. So right now the experiments you’re seeing are smaller, for the most part, there are seven qubits, like US 10 qubits. Now a qubit could equal a million or more bits, depending on how you do it, but these computers are used for something completely different. Why everybody listening should be excited about quantum and all of these technologies changing is this is going to be the biggest shift in computing in the entire history of computing. So there’s not going to be the cat videos on the internet faster, it is going to allow us to find cures for diseases, new drug discovery, new material sciences to go to Mars, better financial things, fixing the environment.

whurley: If Earth is quantum mechanical and nature is quantum mechanical, then why can’t we work on environmental problems, things like that, by mapping it one to one using quantum mechanics. So it’s going to change everything. I talked about my parents are not being super tech savvy, they’re going to use quantum computing, and the way they’ll use it is I would predict, and I think this is not a very big prediction to make, that even your adaptive text and auto completes will actually all be put into a quantum computer and a model where they’ll get more and more accurate and et cetera, et cetera.

whurley: So it’ll come in, but at the same time, you take something like Shor’s algorithm, right, which is kind of one of the most famous algorithms you can talk about. It only has five steps. So Shor’s algorithm is what we would use to break an encryption key. So something we’re all interested in, right? Step number one, is it an even or an odd number, and is it the product to two coprimes? Pick a random number to use in an experiment, only that fourth step is where the nondeterministic quantum magic happens, the fifth step is, try it all again if it didn’t work. I could write you an iPhone app, or a shell script or something that can do four of those five steps so incredibly fast. But that fourth step, that’s where the magic happens.

whurley: To put that in time of context, because people the biggest misconception is speed, like I said, doesn’t make cat videos faster. What it does do is the following, it does allow for us to do things we just can’t do today. So classic example be traveling salesperson, we want to send everybody on this video to 14 cities, I pop it into my Mac, I put all the routes and all the variables, takes it 1,600 seconds, 2,000 seconds to figure it all out. But if we go to from 14 to 22, a difference of only eight, that same laptop takes 2,000 years. If we add another eight to that it takes longer than the known universe. So those are the kind of problems that quantum computing is focused on. So programming them is different, how you’re utilizing them is different, where they’re at in their evolution.

whurley: The thing about quantum computing though that differs from classical is that one, they’re partners. You’re never going to have a quantum computer without a classical computer for like 100 years, if you ever do at all, okay? You need the classical computers to manage the cryogenics, and to get the data over, it’s a partnership, right? It’s a partnership. But what these computers are going to do is open completely new areas. The way I like to think about it is, right now we’re in 1963 and a guy named Jack just came out said, “Here’s a thing called a microprocessor.” Everybody’s thinking about how [inaudible 00:14:09] the spreadsheets and that’s kind of what we’re doing quantum computing right now we’re like, “Oh, can it break encryption? Can it this?”

whurley: I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about in 1963, when that announcement came out, nobody was thinking about the internet or autonomous vehicles or drones or AI, or whatever we’re about to have all of that happen again, a giant reset with trillions of dollars of opportunity, absolute fantastic sci-fi technologies that are all going to happen as quantum computing comes into its own.

Leon: From a simplified way, what this reminds me of is the barrier that they hit trying to get modems to work over regular phone lines back in the day, that there was so much noise on the phone lines that they couldn’t get the actual signal to go through until chaos math came on board. When the chaos mathematicians came in, and they said, “No, you’re looking at each individual signal where if you take a step back and you look at it, you can filter out the noise.” It sounds like the same kind of thing, that we’ve got these incredibly complex problems that quantum physics will allow us to take that step back and view from a different perspective and allow us to get a grip on it from that way.

whurley: Well, you mentioned the biggest Achilles heel in quantum computing is noise, much like that modem example right now, creating a qubit is not hard, adding another qubit is not hard. However, as we add a qubit, the noise in the system goes so much, and the fidelity drops, then the system becomes useless. So we’re actually not only looking to solve problems of that kind of complexity, we also have them ourselves in trying to build the machines to solve those problems.

Leon: Right. You got to make the car drive before you can start to build the NASCAR or whatever. Okay, so it’s no secret that tech itself is filled with a lot of buzzwords and vaporware, quantum computing is probably one of those topics that suffers the most from mislabeling and misdefinition. So what does technologist and especially like the pundit, tech pundits get consistently wrong about the realities of quantum computing, this is your chance to set the record straight.

whurley: Yeah, that’s great. So number one, the encryption thing you read about that all the time. Look, security is kind of a joke, right? The way we’ve built security is we build a wall you tear it down you build a bigger wall. I mean, let’s face it, the fact is, all security is based on time and resource. So we just try to make it super expensive and really hard, and then we hope you go hack somebody else. So that’s going to come to an end because of quantum computing, and by the way, I think that’s a good thing. So that’s one thing to get wrong, everybody’s focused on like it’s going to, let’s say that it could break your private key, we’re not really talking about breaking keys, what we’re really talking about is, I get your public key and I mathematically derive your private key from it, and therefore I have all your secrets.

whurley: So when that happens, it’s going to happen once it’s not like I do all keys, I have to go do it individually. Still, that’s kind of a big threat to privacy and everything. But they hype it up too much. So its effects on security, that’s too much, too much hyped up. Number two, superposition. It’s not a state of one and zero at the same time, it’s a probability of one of those and they consistently oversimplify to the extent that it doesn’t make any sense. Number three, and there’s dozens, but I’ll keep it to like my top four.

whurley: Number three is the timeline for quantum computing. People are like, “Oh, these things could still be 20, 30 years away.” If you go to quantumcomputing.com today, which is where we have our free software for people. We have nine IBM computers alone just from IBM available right now that you can program for free. We also have computers from maybe six or seven other vendors. So they’re real, they’re here, they’re just not as usable because we’re still nascent kind of stage of the industry. But they’re here, you can’t say quantum computers are never going to exist you and I can go use one right now live on this interview, right? It’s there, it works.

whurley: Now, does it do anything? That’s number four. Number four is they all over hype what it can do. Right now these machines can’t do a lot, and the reason it can’t do a lot is there’s not a lot of experts in it, there’s only 200 people worldwide that matter in quantum computing. By the way, I wouldn’t make that list if it were 1,000 people long. So we’re talking about real, super talented, actual genius people doing this work. We need thousands, tens of thousands, we need a quantum workforce. So kind of that stage is often misrepresented, and I think that the last thing and this is going to upset people that hardware gets commoditized, I don’t care. It’s why Hyundai can make a car that’s just like a BMW for 30 grand instead of 130 grand, and even though quantum physicists in the space think they’re going to have a one vertically integrated structure and it’s their software, their computer and they own all the quantum computing.

whurley: We know that’s not true. We’re not in the days of AMD versus Intel, we’re the days of mechanical gates versus vacuum tubes or some other thing. It’s like we are so early, there’s no need for that kind of thought or competitive vengeance as I’ve seen it. It’s like there’s a lot to do and we need a lot more people involved in quantum computing to make it a reality. Good news, on the good side of all of that is it’s going to happen much faster than our entry into classical computing. Because as these computers get into the hundreds of qubits, and they’re already there, and then in the thousands, we’ll start being able to use these machines to solve some of the fundamental physics problems and noise problems and things with quantum computers.

whurley: So I think when you look at it at the inflection point will be a much more dramatic jump than we’ve seen in the past with technologies. I remember when Barnes & Noble CEO said, “A website? Amazon.” They don’t even have a physical bookstore. So right now I am hearing companies talking about quantum. They’re like quantum that sounds like sci-fi, and it’s like, well, sci-fi is coming, and it’s coming really fast. The difference between quantum and classical computing is when Barnes and Noble didn’t have a website, and they decided to get one, there were thousands of people that could build a website and all of these things and Apache web servers are free, they can just go and do it. Right?

whurley: With quantum, it takes years and years of training and knowledge. So if you’re not starting that process now, and in six years, let alone God forbid, three or two, which is where I think it’ll hit quantum hits, and you go, we were joking earlier before the call, the boss goes, “Give me some quantum stat.” It’s like, yeah, that’s going to be three year adventure just to find the people and get them trained, and then they’re not going to have any subject matter expertise in whatever you’re trying to do. That’s not to forecast doom, I’m just saying, if there’s one message for anyone listening to get out, it’s that quantum is here, it is going to change things in ways you can’t possibly imagine, and that change is going to happen at a breakneck speed.

whurley: So if you’re not already on it, you better go start getting on it today, because I started looking at the space seven years ago, I’ve been working in it for four, I still don’t know shit about quantum computing. I’m in one of the what’s arguably definitely in the top 10 of companies in the space, and probably in the top two or three software wise, and I’m telling you flat out, I have volumes, imagine four or five sets of Encyclopedia Britannica on physics, I haven’t even cracked the first page open on the first book. It’s so much more complicated than people think, and it’s happening. So you got to get on that train, or it’s going to leave you behind or God forbid, run over you.

Leon: Right. That absolutely is something we talked about earlier and you hit on that, that on the other end of the punditry and the vaporware and things like that, you have regular boots on the ground, IT professionals who that executive comes in and says, “Jimmy, buy me a box of quantum and I want to pour it all over everything.” They have no idea what they’re talking about. I think that it would be helpful for the TechPod audience to understand a little bit about how they’re supposed to respond to that. On the one hand, it requires a huge amount of investment, a huge amount of skill and knowledge, and on the other, it’s not really doing anything for us there. But again, executives are asking, demanding that we somehow inject quantum into it. So what would the regular IT practitioners say?

whurley: Yeah, I have this conversation 1,000 times a day, so I can make it very simple for everybody listening. Here’s what you say, you say, in a very nice way, “You have no idea what you’re talking about, but I’m on it.” Here’s what you do. You go read resources like the ones we have at quantumcomputing.com, the ones that are in the all the open source quantum stuff on GitHub, whatever, and you go start playing around with data, and you explain to your boss, you put a nice presentation together and you explain to him. So just so you know, the person programming this machine at IBM right now has one sometimes two PhDs. My chief scientist at Strangeworks has worked in quantum computing for over 20 years okay, and he doesn’t necessarily know everything, right? None of us do.

whurley: So you say, “Look, it’s not like we’re deploying a new network node or whatever, we have to have people that have the knowledge here.” So you either have to go hire some physics PhDs or start training us or whatever. That’s the first thing to use quantum computing on as your company is to build your own quantum workforce, who’s going to be your subject-matter expert versus your algorithm person versus the person that manages the machine or interfaces with the hardware companies? What about the monitoring? Obviously, that’s a topic on this, that’s going to be unbelievably, undeniably important that you start with the basics.

whurley: Look, we host all the simulators from everybody, Google, IBM, BlueCAD, look you can’t name one that’s not there, on quantumcomputing.com for free. So you don’t need to go install it and you don’t need to go do it. Now, that’s not a pitch to use quantumcomputing.com, the reason we built that is because we got so many questions. So you know what? When you go on there, and you look at the code, you fork some, and you start playing with it, all of a sudden, your boss goes, “Whoa, wait a second, what is all of that?” That’s crazy. So then it really helps, this isn’t something you go to GitHub and download an open source package and deploy it. You can go to GitHub, and get any one of a number of open source simulators and things like that and do that. But what that does for you is, that’s just like, now you have it.

whurley: Great example, we’ve had, I would say millions over the last four years. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands, definitely over a million, people that have come to the website. Of those, there’s a fraction that go, “I’m signing up, I think I can do this.” Of those, 99% fork an experiment, run it, get a result go, I have no idea what that means, and they’re gone and they never come back, that’s the reality of quantum. And by the way, other people who might talk to you about quantum, Microsoft, AWS, whatever, they’re going to say, “Oh, no, no, no, no, there’s plenty of people.” We have the largest stack overflow community, we have participating communities around the world, we have so much data on the space, there’s not a use for these machines now.

whurley: So it sounds like I’m talking about both sides of my mouth, because I’m saying there’s nothing useful with them, should go learn how to use them immediately, but the fact is, it’s kind of Wayne Gretzky. You got to play to where the puck is going., and the puck is going and it’s going there literally, potentially faster than the speed of light, and therefore, you have to start doing that training, and learning that stuff. Now, it is just not a situation where you’re going to have a developer who just picks up quantum computing, trust me, that was in my original business plan when I started Strangeworks.

whurley: I’ve taught tens of thousands of developers over the last four years and maybe I’ve helped bring 100 into quantum. I mean, that’s the reality. Think about it this way, in the early days of computing, you had to be an electrical engineer to program a computer, because you had to understand the flow of electricity between the gates. In the early days of quantum computing, you pretty much have to be a quantum physicist so you can understand like how are you going to debug something with teleportation, you’re going to call an API call to it, you’re like, “Boom! Easy, and it breaks.” And then what do you do? You got to know something about teleportation, or what if you’re working in the hardware side, or you’re monitoring these qubits? I mean, do you know how many things interfere with them? Gamma rays, the spin of the earth, the wind, vibrations. You’re literally doing things at such a small skill, there’s a lot of a lot of gotchas in there.

whurley: So that’s why I’m saying, it’s definitely coming, but it’s not something you just go out and say, “I’m doing quantum computing.” Which is ironic, everybody thinks that’s what I did, they don’t understand, I did look at it for a couple years before I got into it, and then with a lot of trepidation got into it and now I regret it.

Leon: Right. I think that the point that you made a little bit earlier about, to tell your boss, we need to start building an awareness, not a plan, but an awareness, we need to figure out who has a natural predilection to algorithms, who has a natural predilection to really far out science, who just like to learn lots of things who can say, “This is where we’re at.”

whurley: Yeah, what developers did really good in physics in school. You got to make an awareness, use the awareness to build a team, then you train the team, then you can start looking towards, “Hey, here’s algorithms we could use, or here’s this or that.” You do not need hardware right now. We sell hardware to our custom people, there’s people that do need it. If you’re at Pfizer or Moderna or J&J or somebody, you need hardware access, 99% of everybody else can do so much with simulators and it will be such a big leap, just to get you to try to write something and test it and put it out in a simulator. It’s like, trust me, it’s more than enough. Using the hardware is a bridge too far, but like I said, go to quantumcomputing.com, sign up and use the IBM machines today for free and there’s even examples of code. Then I think what you’ll do is you’ll go… Oh, yeah, that is a little more complicated.

Leon: It’s quite a thing. Wow. Okay. All right. I want to pivot away from quantum for a little bit, and the first thing I want to ask you about is Austin, Texas. So for those who don’t know you are based in Austin, and it’s seen a lot of explosive growth in tech, with a lot of major companies moving their HQ there, having offices and stuff. Do you think in your humble opinion, as a non real estate developer, is Texas the next Silicon Valley, or do you have any thoughts on the changes? From one Austin company to another what are your thoughts about all of it?

whurley: So look, I hope we’re not the next Silicon Valley, I’ve never been a fan. I love the weather. There’s so many great things. I’m not crapping on Silicon Valley for the people listening that are from there. All my friends are there, right? I just think Austin has always had this kind of laid back a little bit more hippy tech. It’s a little bit more like, it’s Strangeworks. Our release schedule is, when we’re done with the software, we’ll let you know and we’ll release it. We’re not like trying to cram things in the scrum meetings or create like… and I hope we don’t lose that kind of example.

whurley: I think for me, the issue is simple. We can’t let the housing costs go too high, and the office rents go to high and all the things entrepreneurs and tech companies need to get started and survive, because what happened is you saw that happen in San Francisco and you saw San Francisco spread out into the valley and already you have Houston doing amazing things with tech and the incubators from the cannon to the use innovator map, all of that. You have San Antonio doing stuff, Dallas was already there. So we look a lot like a model for like a new valley but what the problem with the valley was it everybody looked at it as the sole place to get innovation from when there are people in Bangalore and Croatia and there’s innovation stuff everywhere.

whurley: And so I hope that we can take advantage of all the people moving here and that talent and the companies obviously reporters call me all the time about, “Where’s Apple’s thing?” That bugs me because I started my career as you said in the beginning at Apple in 1993 at one of their six offices at the time here. Like, no they’re just putting a big campus, there’s thousands of Apple employees in Austin. But obviously you’ve got the Tesla Gigafactory out here by the airport that is going up, if you haven’t watched those videos it’s amazing, the thing is incredibly huge. You’ve got all of these companies moving to town. Whole companies, healthcare companies, physics companies, networking companies.

whurley: So I think my worry is that we don’t manage the basic cost of living so that everybody can have an even playing field in entrepreneurial fashion, because I don’t think San Francisco is even. I know people say it is and you can go and meet all these people but I also know that there’s a class system there. There’s like the new tech guy to San Francisco or gal and then there’s the you’ve been there and you got the thing. I literally when raising money for Strangeworks had a venture capitalist suggest that maybe what I needed because you know how technical I was is, go work at Google for a couple years and kind of get the chops, and I was like, “I’m not trying to be ego or anything.” I was like, “I thought I was being framed.” Looking at everybody in the meeting like is he seriously telling me I should go apply for a job at Google because I’m never doing that.

whurley: So I think cost and keeping it Austin and friendly, and I’m trying to do my part. So at Strangeworks, we help any entrepreneurs, anybody who wants to get into quantum you could be competitive, we’ll help you, come by, we’ll talk about it, we’ll show you software and teach you and you can go start something to compete with us. The caveat is the reason we’re comfortable doing that it’s like there should be no competition in quantum right now, we have a lot of work to do. There’s not a billion dollars in quantum revenue sitting there waiting to be had.

Leon: We know you can’t listen to our podcast all day, so out of respect for your time we’ve broken this conversation up into two parts. We hope you’ll join whurley and me for the next episode of SolarWinds TechPod and we’ll continue our discussion.

Leon: And of course, we know there’s a plethora of podcasts out there for you to choose from, so we appreciate you devoting a part of your day to listening to ours. If you like this episode, please consider following, rating, and even reviewing our show. I’m Leon Adoto for SolarWinds TechPod – until next time, thanks for listening.