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The US Economy & Quantum Computing: Short-Term Headwinds, Long-Term Opportunities

Selling quantum computing proofs of concept is hard under good economic conditions. As the US (which is currently the largest market for quantum computing1) stares down a potential recession in quarter three or four of this year, the job of business development (BD) professionals in our industry is going to get harder.

But all things will pass with time. And while there are short-term headwinds facing the US market, long-term opportunities are already emerging.

We’ll explore both of those areas, starting with what’s near-term.

Short-Term Headwind One: Layoffs

The US tech sector has been hard-hit by layoffs in recent months. As of late June, 794 tech companies, including major employers like Google and Amazon, went through layoffs2.

The quantum computing industry can’t afford to ignore the impacts this will likely have on our industry. Because according to the New York Times, teams that are working on bleeding edge, non-revenue generating projects are the ones who are getting laid off first.

“The shifting economy and executive transitions away from founders have ushered in a new era, and employees wonder: Is their leader marching them to make their mark on the future, or right off a cliff?” – The Perils of Working on a C.E.O.’s Pet Project, New York Times3.

Image Credit: The New York Times

Getting laid off is a painful life event that’s linked to negative health outcomes4. In all likelihood, these lay-offs will have a chilling effect on the risk appetites of both the people who lead innovation efforts and those around them.

If you’re not sure if the company you’re targeting has been impacted by layoffs, check the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Tracker database5 to see if the company has reported that they’re going to layoff employees within the next two months or if they’ve already laid off employees. (Enacted in 1988, the WARN Act is a US, federal law6 mandating that businesses with more than 100 employees must notify the government 60 days before they’re going to have mass layoffs.)

Short-Term Headwind Two: Increased Interest in AI, which is Taking Resources Away from Quantum Computing

In a LinkedIn post from May7, Sergio Gago (Managing Director of AI/ML and Quantum at Moody’s Analytics) was one of the first people to call out how AI is getting increased attention compared to quantum computing.

In expanding on his LinkedIn post, Gago said:

  • “From our position in the financial industry we see how many corporates are switching their efforts to this new shiny toy, Generative AI. This is not a surprise since the vast majority of companies did not have relevant budgets for Quantum to start with as we found in our recent report, or they have not seen bottlenecks in their processes. Generative AI provides tangible results today so we see how innovation teams are pivoting towards that.

    At the same time, the question arises whether Quantum can do anything with Generative AI. We believe the answer is NO. These two technologies are in two completely separate horizons, and while it is possible that in the far future they could complement each other, today they belong to different fields.”

    Note: Gagos’ quote referred to the Moody’s Analytics report on “Quantum Computing in Financial Services: A Business Leader’s Guide,” which you can download here8.

In digging into the data, Gago’s right.

For instance, take a look at findings from Google Trends9 and IOT Analytics10:

  • Here’s data from Google9 comparing interest in quantum computing vs. AI between April and June of this year.

Image Credit: Google Trends

  • Among the US population, interest in AI surged in April and, even though it’s cycled up and down since then, the interest in AI is far higher than quantum computing. From a business leader standpoint, right now it makes more sense to invest in less risky projects, which gives AI an edge over quantum computing.
  • And in looking at data from a C-Suite perspective, IOT Analytics found a similar theme. After analyzing roughly 5,800 earnings calls and 3,000 public companies in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, IOT Analytics found that quantum computing isn’t being talked about by CEOs10.

Image Credit: IOT Analytics Research

Short-Term Headwind Three: The Likelihood of a Recession in 2023

The Federal Reserve sets economic policy for the US and they’re intentional about what they say and how they say it, because the language Fed officials use has an immediate impact on markets. And they’re aware of their impact – in fact, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas wrote a report about how communications from the Federal Open Markets Committee are analyzed with natural language processing11.

With that in mind, ING looked at guidance from the Federal Reserve and their prediction is that, “recessionary forces are building rapidly, which will lead to rising unemployment and inflation falling quickly through late 2023 into 2024.”12

If a recession hits, it’ll have wide-reaching impacts and decrease the appetite for quantum computing proofs of concept because of their high costs. (As a note for quantum computing startup leaders, here’s a LinkedIn post with industry-specific guidance on how to weather a recession13.)

Shifting Gears

The short-term outlook is bumpy, yet at the same time, layoffs and increasing interest in AI could create opportunities for quantum in the long-run.

Long-Term Opportunity One: Talent is Getting Redistributed

In an article from April, the Wall Street Journal reported that laid-off workers from large companies are changing their priorities; instead of looking for jobs with prestigious, brand-name businesses, those workers are now finding jobs with small to medium-sized companies because they offer more stability14.

The redistribution of highly skilled workers in new areas will mean that, as demand for quantum computing eventually grows, there’ll be more companies who have the in-house talent needed to tackle a quantum computing proof of concept.

Image Credit: The Wall Street Journal

Long-Term Opportunity Two: AI Will Open Doors for Quantum

In the World Economic Forum’s most recent Future of Jobs Report, one of their top five key findings was: “Within technology adoption, big data, cloud computing and AI feature highly on the likelihood of adoption.”15

As companies build out new capabilities, like AI, they’ll lay the ground work (such as upskilling their workforce16 and navigating change management17) that they’ll need to one day take on a quantum computing proof of concept.

Image Credit: World Economic Forum

Long-Term Opportunity Three: Quantum-Inspired Algorithms

Powered by AI chips, quantum-inspired algorithms are gaining consumer interest because of how they deliver increased performance without needing to be run on a quantum computer.

In a recent article for Reuters, industry leaders from SandBoxAQ and QCWare commented on how they’re using quantum-inspired algorithms to tackle chemistry problems on classical computers. In doing this, they’re bridging the gap between the promise of scalable, fault-tolerant quantum computers and the performance that’s available today18.

Moving Through the Changing BD Landscape

Closing a deal in the quantum computing industry has never been easy. In the coming months, it’s likely going to get harder and finding deals to close will be like finding diamonds in the rough: it can be done, but an even more thoughtful approach will be needed to close sales opportunities.

As a parting thought, how can the health of the industry be measured?

From a BD standpoint, the best way to gauge how companies are responding is to look at their financials.

Take financial reporting from Quantinuum19, Rigetti20, 21, and IonQ22, 23, for instance. All three companies have publicly available financial information, as shown in the graph below where all the figures are in the millions.

Between 2021 and 2022, all three companies had steady or increasing revenues. With that baseline data in mind, the most successful companies will refine their go-forward strategies to optimize resources, while finding short-term, revenue opportunities to weather impending storms. When quarterly reports for Q3 and Q4 2023 and annual reports for 2023 come out, quantitative and qualitative analysis can be done to see how each company has navigated the uncertainty of 2023 and how they’re positioning themselves to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the years to come.


  1. Zion Market Research. Quantum Computing Market Size, Share, Growth Report 2030. January 16, 2023.
  2. NerdWallet. Tech Layoffs Really Are Rising, and Here’s Why. June 23, 2023.
  3. The New York Times. The Perils of Working on a C.E.O.’s Pet Project. March 8, 2023.
  4. American Psychological Association. The Toll of Job Loss. October 1, 2020.
  5. WARN Tracker. Layoff Insights from Public Records.
  6. U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Fact Sheet. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. March 6, 2019.
  7. LinkedIn. Sergio Gago’s LinkedIn post. May 2023.
  8. Moody’s Analytics. Quantum Computing in Financial Services: A Business Leader’s Guide. 2023.
  9. Google Trends.,%2Fm%2F0mkz&hl=en
  10. IOT Analytics. What CEOs Talked About in Q1/2023: Economic Uncertainty, Layoffs, and the Rise of ChatGPT. April 5, 2023.
  11. Kansas City Federal Reserve. How You Say It Matters: Text Analysis of FOMC Statements Using Natural Language Processing.
  12. ING. Federal Reserve Preview: A Final Hike as US Recession Fears Mount. April 23, 2023.
  13. LinkedIn. Danika Hannon’s LinkedIn post. November 2022.
  14. The Wall Street Journal. As Tech Jobs Disappear, Silicon Valley Veterans Reset Their Careers: Laid-Off Workers from Companies Such as Meta and Amazon Choose Stability Over Status.
  15. World Economic Forum. Future of Jobs Report 2023. May 2023.
  16. Quantum Strategy Institute. Quantum Machine Learning: A Roadmap for Technologists. February 28, 2022.
  17. Quantum Strategy Institute. Becoming a Quantum Company: A Change Management Approach for Quantum Technologies & the Quantum Mindset. November 11, 2021.
  18. Reuters. Waiting for Quantum Computers to Arrive, Software Engineers Get Creative. April 17, 2023.
  19. Honeywell. Q4 2022 Earnings Release. February 2, 2023.
  20. Rigetti. Rigetti Computing Announces Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2021; Delivers 48% Year-over-Year Revenue Growth and Further Accelerates Business Momentum Through Technology Leadership. March 10, 2022.,for%20the%20fiscal%20year%202020
  21. Rigetti. Rigetti Computing Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2022 Results. March 27, 2023.
  22. IonQ. IonQ Announces Full Year 2021 Financial Results and Provides Business Update. March 28, 2022.,as%20of%20December%2031%2C%202021
  23. IonQ. IonQ Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Financial Results and Provides Business Update. March 30, 2023.
Product Ideation Session 2

Finding Your Product Market Fit: Adding Unique Value in a Crowded Market

Have you ever attended a quantum computing conference and noticed that the vendor pitches sound … similar?

Broadly speaking, quantum computing companies with software offerings have the same business model of creating a solution to a challenging R&D problem that’s focused on quantum machine learning, optimization, or quantum chemistry.

Overall, this works well.

But put yourself in a consumer’s shoes and imagine that you’re at a quantum computing conference talking to vendors for the first time. If each vendor walked you through the same business model, it wouldn’t take long for them to start blurring together.

I speak from experience here. At one of my first quantum computing conferences, I made a point to talk with as many quantum computing vendors as I could and (even though I worked for a quantum computing company at the time) I had the gut-sinking realization that we all sounded the same.

Plus, with nearly 100 quantum computing companies listed on the Quantum Insider’s Market Intelligence Platform, it’s important to find a way to break through the noise.

As a vendor, you have two chances to stand out from the crowd when you’re talking to a new prospect. You can either already have a great product-market fit that’s uniquely suited for your prospect, or you can listen to your prospect’s ideas and turn them into products.

One Company, in Particular, is Excelling in this Area: D-Wave

Granted, their Launch Program business model follows the same key steps that many other software vendors do.

But since their launch in 1999, they’ve made 250+ early quantum applications for their clients. Essentially, each use case is a separate product that they offer.

When asked about what sets D-Wave’s products apart, they shared that:

  • “We bring a relentless customer focus to everything we do,” said Murray Thom, vice president of quantum business innovation at D-Wave. “Our motivation stems from the opportunity to harness powerful quantum computing technology to help customers find solutions to problems they’ve been unable to address. We’re not creating quantum products simply for the sake of innovation. We’re building quantum solutions that have real enterprise applicability and impact today. Together with our customers, we’ve produced quantum-hybrid applications that address a multitude of optimization challenges that cut across industries, including cost reduction, revenue growth, and operational effectiveness. Our quantum technology is being used to optimize supply chains, employee scheduling, e-commerce delivery, protein folding, fraud detection, and industrial manufacturing, just to name a few.”

To better understand D-Wave’s approach, look at their work with Save on Foods. It’s particularly striking because it’s clear that they deeply understood the challenges of the grocery industry, what mattered to the Save on Foods team, and how to prioritize what they cared about.

On YouTube, there’s a 15-minute video where an executive from Save on Foods, plus one of their data scientists, talked about what made this application so impactful for them. It’s an excellent guide on how to build a product from consumer insights and well-worth watching.

Building Your Own Product Expertise

To get a subject matter expert’s perspective on how to build products, I interviewed Tina Nguyễn, Senior Vice President, Director of Digital Transformation at Truist.

Her immediate advice was that innovators should follow the CIRCLES Method™ of product creation. While the online example walks through how to use this process during an interview, anyone can use this to bring a new product to market. And, as shown in the graphic below, this is an iterative process that’s entirely focused on your end customer.

Image Source: the Impact Interview website

During this seven step process, you should:

  1. Comprehend the situation – what are the hardest problems to solve? How much does that problem cost on an annual basis? How is it affecting other areas of the business?
  2. Identify your customer – look for one customer segment that your product would impact. Put yourself in their shoes, learn about what’s most important to them and how they view their business.
  3. Report customer needs – after you’ve spoken to your customer segment, take your voice of the customer notes and boil them down into a single sentence user story. A template you can follow is: “As a <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>.
  4. Cut, through prioritization – tease out what’s a “must have” vs. a “nice to have” for your customer.
  5. List solutions – as tempting as it may be to build a product based on your first idea, get creative and list at least two to three ideas.
  6. Evaluate tradeoffs – consider what your product needs to address and what matters to your end user. For instance, it’d take more resources to develop, but would your client be willing to pay more if your product had a seamless user interface?
  7. Summarize recommendations – analyze what you’ve learned, then get ready to go through the process again. As you continue learning about your end customer and the industry you’re serving, keep using the CIRCLES MethodTM to guide your roadmap.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid on Your Journey

Tina shared three, common mistakes that are made with the CIRCLES MethodTM.

  1. People have a tendency to be too focused on what they’re good at because they spent so much time building those skills. By committing to one path, they restrict themselves from innovation.
  2. Inventors who don’t empathize with their end users. A sign of this is when something amazing is built, but it doesn’t have much market adoption.
  3. Not speaking the same language as your end customer. If you can’t put things into layman’s terms, in a way that your customer will understand, that shows you don’t understand the business impact.

Here’s a Challenge for You

Have you ever heard the joke about how to get to Carnegie music hall?

The joke is, “a fellow goes to New York to attend a concert, but gets lost. He spots a musician who’s carrying a violin case and asks, ‘Sir, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?’ The musician smiles and says, ‘Practice, man, practice.'”

Just like you’d need to practice to become an expert musician, it’ll take practice to become an expert product builder.

To get started, try this: re-watch D-Wave’s Save On Foods case study and identify which parts of the video fit in the CIRCLE MethodTM framework. (Hint: timestamps 0:00-3:07 in the video will give you the information you’ll need for step one.)

While you won’t be an expert from doing that alone, it’ll be a step in the right direction. And even though it may take a while, remember that this process will make it easier for you to stand out from your competition and be relevant to your prospective clients, which will grab their attention and make you memorable.

It doesn’t end there, though. Once you’ve started to figure out your product, you’ll need to decide how you’ll price, place, and promote it.

Over the coming months, I’ll put out more thought leadership on those topics because everyone at the Quantum Strategy Institute wants to see the consumer adoption of quantum computing grow. And a key driver of that growth will be quantum computing vendors who can meet their customers’ needs.

Stratethon: A Unique Approach to Building Quantum Planning Skills

Hackathons represent an exciting educational experience for programmers, coders, data scientists and other pursuits and have become ubiquitous globally in the last decade.

Quantum technologies, while nascent compared to other IT fields, hold hackathons as well. Quantum Futures & CERN hold their hackathon over a weekend dedicated to “hacking on quantum computers at the Fields Institute in Toronto, the world’s most renown mathematics institute.”

MIT annually holds IQuHack (interdisciplinary Quantum HACKathon) for high school to early career participants “to explore improvements and applications of near-term quantum devices.” Winners in 2023 are listed here along with their GitHub links.

The ICTP-Quantinuum Quantum Hackathon invites 18 international teams of students to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics “to learn and develop quantum algorithms and apply them in the context of real-world use-cases with leading industrial partners.” The hackathon starts April 17th, 2023.


Strategy can be defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.”

Strategy includes diagnosing the problem to be solved, establishing a guiding policy to address that problem and then propose a set of coherent actions which will deliver that policy. Strategy and strategic planning can leverage a similar approach to hackathons. By bringing together people from multiple disciplines, strategic plans can be made more robust. Through a stratethon, quantum strategists can practice this process in a risk-free environment.

Optum, a United Health Group company, has held a stratethon over 4 seasons for 150 schools across India, Philippines and Singapore that “brings some of the best minds together to solve very real and current health care related problems byt also lets them battle it out with each other to identify the most innovative solution that could help improve the lives of millions around the world.”

Quantum Strategy Institute recently announced the International Quantum Strategy Day (IQSD) incorporating a stratehon model leveraging a compelling case study.

Here’s the call out for participants:

Calling all quantum strategists: on Wednesday, April 19th, the Quantum Strategy Institute is holding its first ever stratethon to celebrate people like you, the quantum strategists who are driving the adoption of quantum computing!

🌍 We’re looking for up to 5 teams of three to five people to put their skills to the test and create recommendations for how Bright Futures (a fictional, South African automotive company) can bring quantum into its business. 

🌍 You can get a jump start by checking out Bright Futures’ quantum Case Study and Strategy Assessment at:

🌍 All backgrounds and skill levels are welcome, you can register your interest here:

Registration for the IQSD closes on Wednesday, March 29th.

Given the complexity of quantum technology, we should expect to see more quantum stratethons in the future, and more quantum strategists joining the workforce.


Quantum Evolution: Approach with Caution

You approach an intersection on any road. Something one might do every day. The light turns yellow. Society’s universal social contract requires you to clear the intersection by slowing down or, if in the midst of the intersection, continue through. Yellow lights universally suggest caution.

As a businessperson first, technology enthusiast second, I have always approached new technology ideas with caution ensuring a primary focus on…