whurley | Quantum and Beyond — SolarWinds TechPod 051

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William Hurley (or “whurley” as he prefers to be called) is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and open source advocate, whose work at Apple, IBM, and in the area of quantum computing is world-renowned. Picking up where we left off in part 1  SolarWinds Head Geek Leon Adato and whurley explore a range of topics – everything from the state of the tech industry in Austin; to career advice for those just starting out (as well as those who’ve been around the NOC a few times); to the things whurley wishes people would ask him. Give it a listen or read the transcript.   Related Links 

Guest | Founder & CEO Strangeworks

whurley is founder and CEO of Strangeworks, a quantum computing startup that makes the power of quantum computing easily accessible and available to all. He… 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 transformation fueled by the pandemic. Visit http://it-trends.solarwinds.com.

Leon: William Hurley, or “whurley” as he prefers to be called is a philanthropist, entrepeneur, and open-source advocate who’s work at Apple, IBM, and in the area of Quantum Computing is world renowned. Picking up where we left off in the first part of our conversation, whurley and I explore a range of topics – everything from the state of the tech industry in Austin, to career advice to those just starting out, as well as those who’ve been around the block a few times, to things that whurley wishes that people would ask him.

Leon: One of the things I like to ask all of the guests, especially the folks who are experts in the field, about when they come on TechPod is some career advice and insights. Now, you’ve been around the block a couple of times, what advice do you have for young professionals in the tech and design industries in general? If they’re sitting or listening to this, and they’re thinking, “I wonder what he thinks we should be doing or I should be working on.” What’s your advice for that?

whurley: To work on your core competency. You know you’re a designer, you know you’re a developer, whatever. Everybody is genetically disposed to be a little better at something in my opinion, it’s what make the world go round, right? I’m not the greatest physicist or mathematician, I’m not the greatest developer, everybody has different skills. But as far as areas of interest, I think robotics is finally coming into its age. I think biohacking is coming into it’s age. Quantum I would suggest, but the number one thing we know everybody’s into and is all about is space, right?

whurley: I mean, you watch a SpaceX launch, and I’ll never forget with my kids watching the two rockets return to their pads and successfully launch, and you’re just like, “That’s something 10 years ago you saw in a science fiction movie.” I remember seeing a movie, I can’t remember movie where the rockets came back down like that, and landed like that, we were at the movies with a friend of mine who builds rockets he was like, “Rockets don’t work that way. There’s no way that would happen.”

Leon: No, way that it’s ever happening.

whurley: Right, and then 10, 12 years later, you’re watching it on YouTube in a live broadcast. Again, the biohacking’s cool. I’m loving that robotics is, because robotics has had a rough time. Boston Dynamics has been sold, bought, and sold like a dozen times or whatever, but I think that’s all coming in you saw the new Tesla bot. That’s a big deal, Elon’s not a fan of AI or robots. Not a fan but he has concerns, so seeing him be the guy to be like, “I’ve built a robot you can easily overpower it.” Which I thought was the funniest part of the presentation. I loved it.

Leon: Yeah. We can’t have Skynet happening here.

whurley: Right, so the biohacking all the entries, but space. I’m doing quantum because I think it helps us fix this planet and get to others. So to me, quantum is the sexiest thing because you want to go to Mars, you’re gonna need a lot of new material science, when you get there, you can do all of that stuff. By the time you’re doing that, that’s about when these computers start really getting useful for that. So I’d love to put quantum on Mars, that’d be amazing. But I think that this is really, really kind of the best time to be alive in the entire world. Think about when we were kids, you’re 54, I’m 50 we had to used to cut things out of the cereal box, UPC codes, and put them in an envelope and physically ride your bike to a post office, where you mailed a physical email and then you waited 12, 16 weeks, 18 weeks to get like the first piece of electronics of a set of 15. Most of the time you probably never got them all but when you got them all in you built it.

whurley: It’s like look, you’re listening this podcast, you have a credit card, you have Amazon, you have AWS, Apple will fund your computer for 34 bucks a month. There’s literally, you can put together more power than NASA had to go to the moon with your iPhone. Do you know what you can do with a new iMac and phone and AWS setting up elastic account and having databases, having monitoring some places like SolarWinds, just click, click, click, boom! Now you still have to have an idea, you have to execute on every bit. But I mean come on, the barriers to entry in starting companies to getting into tech have never been lower and I think that’s just makes it the most incredible time to be alive in the history of humans.

Leon: It’s amazing, and again for the young folks who are just getting into this, that’s setting a direction like that, making it a possibility is important at the other end of the spectrum you’ve got gray or at least lighter beige beards, folks who they’ve been in technology for more than 15 minutes and they may want to know what opportunities in quantum computing might be available to them. If somebody like you or I, somebody who’s in their you know, 30s or 40s or 50s are thinking, “This is exciting but here I am, well what can I do?”

whurley: Well a ton of stuff. I mean, look, quantum computers to me are going to start having all the problems that mainframes had. So actually guys a little older than us probably they knew where all the bodies are buried so to speak, right? The ladies that have been programming COBOL forever. You start with a bunch of ladies that program COBOL at BMC, you’re not going to use those things but knowing your history, knowing the problems with scale, the issues about, this is so valuable and so I think it’s a great time. For young people, don’t just do quantum, do as many things as you can as fast as you can until you find that one that just comes so naturally, so easily that you can just knock it out every single time, and I promise you can do that.

whurley: For me it’s starting and building companies. I did a mobile company, I did a finance company, we did a gaming company, we’re doing quantum. That’s the thing, and I just love learning with new technologies each time you see me do something, it’s going to get more and more outrageous. Although I will say that here in town that ABJ and I have it on my wall here, they did a nice cover story when we launched a company and the front page says, “Whurley’s way, way out there on this one.” Then the inside says, “Whurley’s ‘strangest startup yet’.” I was so happy with it and then I realized, I don’t know that that’s meant to be as flattering as I took it at the time. It’s kind of like, “He had a great entrepreneurial career guys, but we don’t know what he’s doing, he’s lost his mind.”

Leon: Right? His marbles are gone. That’s it.

whurley: Yeah, so I think the thing for young and old people alike it’s take the chance, it’s get out there and do it. If anybody wants to know about getting into quantum computing, like I said it can take, a hit me up on LinkedIn. Go to LinkedIn right now, linkedIn.com/in/whurley and add me. Shoot me a tweet, follow me on Twitter, do whatever I will get back to you, it’ll just take forever, and I’m probably not the right person to help you. But I am more than willing to connect you to the community I’ve built, to the team, all the right resources, because I’d like to see us get a million people in quantum in the next year or two and I can tell you, we’re not going to be at 10,000 probably.

Leon: Right. Exactly. So I want to get away from the hype and hoopla and the tech funnel stuff and stuff like that and ask you some questions that hit hopefully a little closer to home. First of all, I want to hear about EQUALS, which is the Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age. Tell me some about what that project is and your involvement in it.

whurley: So I get really frustrated with women in tech, because tech is definitely super male dominated. I know a ton of women that are database developers, that are programmers, that are physicists in the space right now. So years ago, I partnered with UN Women and the UNITU to create EQUALS, and it’s now called EQUALS in Tech, they’ve had a slight name change over the six years, and the idea is to bring men and women together to work on the issues and the challenges that are faced by females and other people now coming into the technology space or dealing with it.

whurley: So that can be anything from mentoring groups to we have an award ceremony for women that are doing awesome things for the women in the space. There’s hundreds of organizations around the world that are now partners with that. So it’s super, super exciting. It’s been great, Doreen Bogdan who’s the first, one of the things that came out of it. Doreen Bogdan, who is the cofounder of it was the first woman elected to a position in the UNITU in 153 years. In the IT there’s never been a woman elected. So it’s making impacts like that, Doreen, obviously with that position has been making tremendous impacts, it’s really kind of her show at this point. My job was out of frustration, I’ve found an opportunity to bring everybody together to fund it, and kind of organize it and kick it off and it’s been great to be around, but it’s grown so far beyond me. There’s so many thousands of incredible, talented women in tech and entrepreneurial-minded that it’s just like, and that’s how it should be.

whurley: But the reason I had a problem was I heard people say, “It’s a woman physicist or a woman engineer.” We don’t do that with other people, right? I don’t know anybody who says, “Oh, he’s a black engineer, or an Indian developer or whatever.” They just say, “He’s a developer.” Dude, she’s an engineer, she’s a physicist, she went to 12 years of school, she’s not a woman physicist she’s just a physicist, she has a PhD, right?. So those are the kind of things that frustrated me, and then of course, I’d already been working with some women startups, things like that, and kind of EQUALS came out of that interest. Like I said, Doreen’s baby and she’s done an incredible job of growing that organization over the past few years and it’s exciting.

whurley: I’ve moved on, my focus expanded, I will be working on the women entrepreneurs. So we have a fund here in town called Ecliptic Capital, it’s about $100 million fund with my old partner from Apple, Mike Irwin, and one of the things we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be looking at how we can help women entrepreneurs, and I am working on something for women entrepreneurs, that is very much like EQUALS, but for everybody right now.

Leon: Very nice. Very good. Okay, we’ve named check Robert Metcalfe a couple of times, he was actually a guest on TechPod not that long ago, and I want to just ask you, what do you think Bob’s legacy in the tech world is going to be, and also what do you think it should be? Because a lot of times the things that we get known for and the things that people… You all miss this one thing that he did, so I’m just curious about your view of that.

whurley: So this is an easy out. So Bob and I are going to spend all day tomorrow talking about that. He’s going to pick me up about 1:30 we’re going to the UT game. So I would love to, look from Xerox PARC to founding 3Com, to Polaris Ventures to all the stuff at MIT to the Presidential Medal of Technology, I mean, Bob’s resume is unmatched. He’s going to be known for 100 things to millions of different people, and Ethernet of course, and I jokingly throw that one out.

whurley: But the thing is, is, I think he has big plans. Bob is not done. I think you guys see some exciting things. I think he’s in a little bit of a quiet period, and I believe the next thing you see Bob do will be the thing that he really wants to submit as his legacy. But I’m going to respect his privacy on that and I want to hear about tomorrow and then I’m probably going to quit quantum and go to work for Bob. He’ll hate that I say this in the interview, but he’s like a father and I mean that. To Bob, I’m like the child he never wanted.

Leon: Right. Yeah, I understand that feeling, I have had that effect on people myself. Okay, wonderful. Okay, so I have to talk about CERN and I honestly could just listen to you talk about CERN all day long. But I have to know where do Ziggy and Scott Bakula? What part of the facility do they stay in? Do you get to see him a lot?

whurley: I’m pretty sure that’s the anti-matter lab. I’m not sure but I think it’s the anti matter lab.

Leon: Okay. All right.

whurley: I’ve only been in there a couple of times.

Leon: Getting to hang out in CERN is sort of a just a dream of a lot of folks. What’s that like?

whurley: You know how people say never meet your heroes, I’d say never idolize places like that, because there’s a lot of hard work going on there. First of all to me, it’s one of the greatest places science wise, on Earth. I love working with them. My main role there is a help start a program called CESP, which is a Certain Entrepreneurial Student Program. So we find master students from around the world over there to live on campus for five to six weeks, and do tech transfers. So they get to pick through all the cool tech from CERN, and they try to build a business around it, or sometimes they have their own ideas and see where people and tech at CERN could help them.

whurley: So that’s super exciting, but it’s a fascinating place to go and I’ve actually been down and Atlas and all these different things, the Large Hadron and stuff and yeah, I mean, it’s like whoa, magnets. I have a little awesome device that measures radiation, and every time you go in some of those rooms, they like to scan you, and then when they scan you, you become hot. But it’s probably just the most wonderful, this is the number one thing about CERN, the most wonderful group of people in the history of the world.

whurley: I mean, I absolutely love and adore every single person I’ve met there, you have people that are in the business side, I’m working this wonderful woman named Pascal now, she’s helping lead the stuff that Matteo before her had done with all the entrepreneurial and outreach and fundraising things at that, and just like you talk about a transition, a lot of times in an org, it can be really rough. It was so simple, like the three of us got together and they both like working together and it was a smooth handoff and so many fascinating minds there too. I mean, you’re talking about literally some of the brightest minds in physics, all on this one campus.

whurley: It’s like, if you go to any campuses or departments of engineering group, if you go to MIT or CMU, or whatever, and you’re like, “Whoa, this is great.” They have like, 30 of these people, it’s like, there are hundreds of those people in that one space. And it’s unparalleled in the talent that it attracts. It’s a global set of talent from around the world, working with some of the most advanced stuff that we’ve ever done as a species. It is everything you said, and I could just ramble and ramble about it. I was just in Geneva a couple of months ago to meet with them on campus and I absolutely love it. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do for you if I have it right here, because we missed the first interview. So this is a great place for this. So I have a little bag from CERN here, and in this bag is a little something I got for you. I got one for each of the people working on the interview, which is a little CERN tie tack lapel pin, kind of thing.

Leon: The geek cred for that is going to be insane, and the program that you mentioned for young entrepreneurs, I guess the question is, is there an age limit? I mean, I imagine there’s going to be some people who are not so young.

whurley: So that’s a great question. So they’re masters students, right? So they already have masters students from around the world. So mainly all the programs I work with, and I am starting a program for kids. But all the programs that work with right now in science and technology and entrepreneurship, are all masters students or above. So like I’m teaching entrepreneurship at MIT at the Legatum School. Those are all masters students, they’re Legatum fellows. At CERN, it’s basically the same thing. Some of them are postdoc, or are working on a doctorate.

whurley: So right now that seems to be the level in science and tech where organizations are willing to invest in those people, and I’m trying to push it down. I want to push quantum. I want to encapsulate quantum between CERN and the baby’s book, and everybody in between. I want to help high school students and college. That’s kind of my passion and that’s my mission is to make this industry real but also to make sure it’s evenly distributed as possible, and a ton of people can be engaged and involved.

Leon: And we who do not yet have our master’s degree, although I will be filling out my application shortly, really appreciate you lowering the barrier to entry that’s really.

whurley: I don’t have a degree, so it’s kind of ironic and ridiculous that I’m doing this myself.

Leon: I think it’s if nothing else it’s heartfelt. There’s somebody who said that if you walk into a room and you feel like there was nobody there to help you be in the room, then your job is to become the person you wish you had met when you walked into the room.

whurley: That’s right.

Leon: This is your opportunity to try to be that bridge. We had talked obliquely about Bob Metcalfe and I want to ask the same question of you, and you can be just as cagey as if you want. Now that you’ve mastered quantum computing, now that you’ve mastered it, what might possibly come next?

whurley: Quantum is a long journey for me. I like to joke that the first company was for fun and profit, the second company was to be that ethical entrepreneur, which we all know is not true. This company is to be catalyst. We’re not going to win Nobel prizes for quantum computing, but somebody might for finding a cure to a cancer using quantum computer in our platform, right? We’re not going to win any great financial platitudes, but somebody might make economic mechanisms that make the world economy function better, or fix the environment, our list goes on and on.

whurley: So for me, I hesitate to say it’s my last startup, I do know the name of the next one, and I know what it does. But more than likely, given our advanced age, I don’t make that one. So what’s next for me is helping entrepreneurs in tech. So everybody that wants to reach out, feel free to reach out, I’m going to be launching a new website in early 2022, with a bunch of free tools. I’m tired of people trying to take advantage of young people, especially who want to start their own company and do stuff they like, that’s great. Let me be your partner and investor now I own 60% of your company, or let me do this. So that dovetails nicely into the work I’m doing with Mike Irwin and Adam Lippmann at the fund, and that works with everything else I want to do.

whurley: Entrepreneurship is passion, obviously, tech is as well, and so I’m just going to try to marry those two, and help every entrepreneur in tech or with tech that I can. So if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, and your idea’s not tech, it’s something brick and mortar, you’re opening a farm, selling soaps on Instagram, whatever it is, I’m still happy to talk. And there’s ways tech can be applied that you can leverage tech. So you know I think tech is obviously ubiquitous in everybody’s life now, and because of that, I think this is the path for me.

whurley: Still, may do another startup, still reserve the right to change my mind, but I’ve already set forward on this path for 2022 to be the year, shoot, if I can get TikTok to give me the whurley handle, which apparently nobody has, but it’s also not a valid username, which has stumped me for weeks now. I might even start TikTokking as the kids say about all the hip entrepreneurial mojo or something, I don’t know. That’s probably not how anybody on TikTok talks.

Leon: Well, probably not. But that’s okay. You’ll be the first or the last or one of those. My kids have already banned me from anything to TikToky at all but I also might refuse that restriction. I want to kind of move into a lightning round. The first question I have is actually the question that is left unasked. You do a lot of interviews, you talk to a lot of folks, SXSW, a lot of other places, you’ve got YouTube videos all over the place. But what question do you wish you had more of a chance to talk about? What do you sit there at the end of the interview and think, but no one ever asks me about this thing that I do, or whatever. What’s left on the table?

whurley: So when I’m talking to young entrepreneurs, or young people in tech, they always ask questions that are about me to warm up to me to get to a question they want to ask. So it’s not like the thing I wish people would ask me, the thing I wish people would ask me is, “What the hell do you want?” I want to help entrepreneurs, I’m literally dedicating huge amounts of time and resources to it. It’s okay to ask me, “Hey, I got an idea and I think you should fund it.” I’m happy to tell you, “No.” It’s okay to ask me, would you do this? Would you do that? But the thing is, is that people send so many times, “Oh, how did you end up being called Whurley? Or what about this company? Or what about this, selling to Goldman Sachs or building this for Jobs and Murdoch at the Daily at Chaotic Moon or whatever?” They never get to the question they want.

whurley: When somebody comes to me, I already know I’m seeing thousands, tens of thousands of these a year, I already know you want one of three things. You want advice to get you out of an entrepreneurial situation you’re in, or if you’re tech person, you’re probably a developer and you want advice on your career. Number two, you want funding, or you’re a tech developer and you want a job or funding. Number three is, they want to know can I be basically their business partner? All conversations end up with good news. I think I got room for you on the ship, to which I have to say, “Oh, no, no, no.”

whurley: It’s like entrepreneurs in that phase are like Indiana Jones and Marion, in when they’re dumped down in the snakes, and I’m more of like Belloq, and I’m like, “No, Dr. Jones, I am perfectly fine up here.” So it just, get to the question you want to ask, life is too short. You can go on Twitter, and criticize a president or a member of royalty, or your company, or you can form all of these things online to do that, but you’re finally going to get the 30-second interaction, and you get to spend it asking me about me, which one I’ve been asked about, and I hate talking about myself, and I don’t want to do it anyway, and two, right when you’re going to get to your question, somebody’s going to come up to you like, “Hey, we’ve got a 4:00, we got to go now.”

whurley: Just ask the thing that you want. Don’t ask about me. Tell me about yourself. Don’t ask how I was successful, tell me what’s preventing you from being successful. Don’t ask me about how I’m going to fund my company, ask me how I might be able to help you network or get in the right deal flow at a VC or whatever, to fund your company. That’s what I really want. That’s what I really wish.

Leon: Got it. Is there a place that you’ve answered these questions before? Is there something that you can reference? Or is that really that is the conversation?

whurley: That is a conversation and also that’s again, early 2022, I’ll launch a new website on whurley.com, but I’m already doing this on LinkedIn and stuff, and I’ll be giving that advice. Part of the reason I’m going to use TikTok, if again, I can get that name, which I don’t understand why it’s been… I’m at this point just curious, is whurley a bad phrase in Chinese? I don’t understand why, it’s enough character. I’m like, “Why? Why didn’t it work?”

Leon: Okay, so TikTok if you’re listening give him the handle already, right?

whurley: Yeah, please come on, help me out. But one of the things I’m going to do is I love how people can stitch things in TikTok. So I’m going to ask everybody to find me on TikTok, and ask a question, and I’ll stitch in an answer, or reply, give me a situation. So I think Twitter, TikTok, probably the two channels I’ll use the most for that, and then on the website, I’m planning on releasing every single thing I know about being an entrepreneur, I’m basically going to try to open source entrepreneurship in VC. That’s the next philanthropical project for me, is to just open it so that people like, “Oh, I get it. It’s not complex. I know how term sheets work. Oh, I know not to sign something that says this. Oh, I can go set up a infrastructure, or use this tool to start a company or whatever the case may be.”

whurley: So I want people to ask me anything they want to know, and I want them to ask me publicly and I’ll answer them publicly. Because the other thing is, every entrepreneur thinks they have this clever idea, and he or she are the only person ever thought about it. The fact is, especially now that I’m part of a fund, I will see whatever your secret ideas, I’ve either already seen it or you’ll be the first and I’ll see it another 100 times, ideas are literally a dime a dozen, not even a dime a dozen. They’re like one million ideas for a dime, and the thing is, is execution is everything. Execution is not about talking about starting a company, it’s about doing. It’s not coming and piling up to me.

whurley: I had a person at an event recently, in France, I spoke at Viva Tech, talked to me for five minutes, that’s all I had, asking me all these questions, never told me a thing about themselves, took a picture with me, tweeted it out, did everything and I was like, “I got to go.” They’re like, “I’d really like to connect to you.” It was like, that was the chance. We’re never going to see each other again, you can email me, here’s a card, try. But it’s like, that was the moment to strike while the iron’s hot, and by the way, I may not even be able to advise you or help you. Right? I mean, I’m just a person that, as you put it, the first of the thing, I believe that everything’s about luck and timing, and I believe that I’m really good at timing and somehow I’ve found a way to manufacture luck.

whurley: So, yeah I’m smart, yes, I’m successful. There are a million people smarter than me who aren’t successful for whatever reason. There are a million people more successful than me, not that smart. Just be you. Anybody listening to this podcast can do this, they can do it on their own, they don’t even be me. But I’d love to help if I can’t, I don’t want anything for the help. I just want to see entrepreneurship in technology become this new, great equalizer, and as we go through big changes, like quantum computing, I want to see everybody have a level playing field to try to get in on that and that be their thing for robotics, or DNA based computers and whatever fanciful thing comes next. So these are amps to what’s next that people need to take better advantage.

Leon: Incredible advice. Thank you, and on behalf of the audience, also thank you. So since this is lightning round and I can pull anything. Is there a tech and trend that you really wish would just stop? Like just we should-

whurley: Blockchain.

Leon: What was that?

whurley: Blockchain.

Leon: Blockchain. Yes. Yes. The crowd goes wild.

whurley: First of all, there’s no blockchain like the internet. Everybody says that, “Oh, it’s on the blockchain.” No, all of you idiots have just created your own little ledger systems, right? I was hired by a company to prove blockchain didn’t work. A CEO at a very large publicly traded company made a really big mistake, it was like really prove it. I go, “Great, let’s make a bet.” I paid someone in Africa to take a conflict diamond, and put it in the beginning of a blockchain that went all the way to a store in New York, and it’s like, it doesn’t make things infallible. Computing 101, garbage in, garbage out. I’m not saying that transparent ledgers are a bad idea, but I am saying we don’t have transparent ledgers for a reason, we could have done that 15 years ago.

Leon: So talking about just tech in general, okay, quantum computing inclusive but not only. Where do you think we have not realized our full potential in the industry, in the IT and technology industry? Where could we be doing better, doing more where we have left opportunities on the table?

whurley: That’s a great question. That’s a really good question and my answer would be, we are not advancing things fast enough, and we’re advancing other things too fast and not cautiously. So, self driving is a thing that should happen, should we be testing that software out with real people? Maybe, maybe not, but we need to make progress. Going to Mars is going to be a huge challenge, and people are probably going to die. So how do you plan that out? I mean, what we’re not doing is embracing this incredible infrastructure and tech and open source and all these things that we’ve done, I hate hearing people talk about how they can’t get into tech, or they can’t, part of that’s on us, because we haven’t made as inclusive as we should have, right? That’s a problem.

whurley: We have all of this, and we talked about how great it is and then we don’t want anybody doing it but us, that’s a problem. I think that the problems with tech aren’t tech problems, they’re social problems. The majority are social problems, right, we have some of the greatest engineers and computing power and everything in the world right now that have ever existed. But I think they’re mainly social, I’d like to see us more inclusive, I’d like to see us do boring things. Nobody wants to do a retirement app because it’s not that great but it’s really needed. Nobody wants to work for an MRI machine, because it’s such a small title. But we could use those, right? We need advances in all these other areas, and what are we advancing? We’re advancing TikTok, and Instagram and Facebook and stuff like that.

whurley: But we need to be advancing real hard stuff. Kind of why like a lot of the companies we have nowadays that are really pushing it, all the guys doing space, good luck to all of them. Everybody doing autonomous driving and robotics and things like that, but there’s a million other things that people use every day, that we’re not paying any attention to, that could make the environment better, that could help us generate less waste, help people from getting sick, et cetera, et cetera.

Leon: Removing bias out of algorithms.

whurley: Out of AI.

Leon: You know.

whurley: Exactly. Those are the things right now that are really getting my attention is like, why aren’t we doing more of that? I’m looking and I’m seeing a class system evolving that isn’t the haves and the have nots, it has access to tech or technology and doesn’t. One of the ITU meetings years ago, Nicholas Negroponte and I got a big beef about this. But the problem is, is not just you get internet access, and great, now figure it out on your own. We’re not doing enough educational programs, we spend so much money, subsidies for farmers, right? What are subsidies for farmers? It’s an incentive in a lot of times to not grow too much food, but still be able to make a living, but there’s still starving people in the world. Right? So is that a tech problem? Is it a logistics problem? No, that is a geopolitical problem, and that’s all it is.

whurley: We can produce food, good Lord, we’re producing food in labs now. Beyond meats and all these yummy. So looking at tech from the perspective we’re looking at it now is like, how does it actually make the world a better place not talk about making the world a better place? I think that’s the big distinction I see is where we think we’re at and where we actually need to go.

Leon: Very nice. Okay, any final thoughts? Anything you want to leave the audience with before we wrap this up?

whurley: Yeah. I mean, again, you live in the greatest time to be alive in the history of anything. Quantum computing is coming, robotics is coming, space travel is coming, AI, all of these things. What an incredible, think of the 2020s as the 1920s. You could be the Rockefeller. You could be the next JP Morgan. You could create the standard crypto instead of Standard rail, right? Whatever the case is. Take advantage of that because these moments are rare, and the two of us talking here, we weren’t born in the perfect moment for that, right? We had some stuff, we were there with the internet with their, we had our Commodore SX-64, or whatever.

Leon: Atari, please.

whurley: Right. You literally have an infinite amount of resource at your fingertips. You can Google and learn anything you want to know. There’s a million pieces of open source code and places to use it and run it. It’s incredible. Just don’t waste the opportunity you’ve been given. I hear all these millennials talk about boomers, boomers ruin the world and this and that, it’s like, your world has the opportunity to be like so incredible, and you’re complaining about all this other stuff instead of appreciating what you have, and using it to drive the world forward and to make the world a better place.

Leon: Whurley, I cannot thank you enough for coming in, and having this conversation with me. This has been absolutely incredible and also inspirational.

whurley: Well, I appreciate the time and I’m looking forward we should follow up and do it again sometime and see whether anything in quantum computing has become more real or not.

Leon: More real and more doable. I love it. Thank you again.

whurley: Thank you.

Leon: We know you have a choice of podcasts and we appreciate you taking the time out of your day to listen to ours. If you like this episode, we’d love for you to follow, rate and review the podcast. I’m Leon Adato for SolarWinds TechPod, until next time, thanks for listening.