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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.

Exploring Quantum 01

Quantum Roadmap Series: How to build your own quantum roadmap

Roadmaps offer an invaluable structure to the evolution of technology and technology deployment. Incorporating a complex technology such as quantum requires even greater diligence through roadmaps. In this article, we cover five types of roadmap: security, simulation, communication, standards and sensing.

Security Roadmap

With the maturity of quantum technology, and the approach of Y2Q, where can CxO’s look for information to build out their own #quantum security roadmaps? Below are some of the key players with updated links:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Quantum Security Alliance

European Quantum Industry Consortium (QuIC)

The following is one summary for #CEOs to follow:

*CEOs should increase their engagement with post-quantum standards developing organizations.

* Organizations should inventory the most sensitive and critical datasets that must be secured for an extended amount of time.

* Organizations should conduct an inventory of all the systems using cryptographic technologies for any function to facilitate a smooth transition in the future.

* Cybersecurity officials within organizations should identify acquisition, cybersecurity, and data security standards that will require updating to reflect post-quantum requirements.

*Organizations should identify where and for what purpose public key cryptography is being used and mark those systems as quantum vulnerable.

*Prioritize one system over another for cryptographic transition based on the organization’s functions, goals, and needs.

* Using the inventory and prioritization information, organizations should develop a plan for systems transitions upon publication of the new post-quantum cryptographic standard.

Simulation Roadmaps

A 2022 quantum simulation roadmap paper in Nature led by researchers from University of Strathclyde, “explores near- and medium-term possibilities for quantum simulation on analog and digital platforms to help evaluate the potential of this area.”

Quantum simulation occurs where problems not tractable for classical computers, model the quantum properties of microscopic particles. 

Simulating electromechanical behaviour for battery development, molecules in life sciences/pharma, and materials are evolving areas of quantum simulation with dozens of quantum simulators in existence today according to The Quantum Insider.

Where can one find out more? At #summerschool2022, and #conferences

Quantum simulation promises to be an important part of organizational research efforts and roadmaps going forward. 

Communications Roadmaps

The field of applied quantum physics closely related to quantum information processing and quantum teleportation, quantum communication is most often associated with protecting information channels against eavesdropping via quantum cryptography.

Establishing roadmaps is one activity participants in this field are aggressively addressing. In 2018, QuTech researchers introduced a roadmap for quantum internet development in six phases. The first phase included “simple networks of qubits that could already enable secure quantum communications” – today’s reality – ending with networks of fully quantum-connected quantum computers. Check out QuTech‘s website for the latest updates including QuTechEurofiber and Juniper Networks partnering to deploy a Quantum testbed in The Netherlands.

Mohsen Rasavi from the University of Leeds School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering issued a roadmap document in 2021 “to address this subject from the viewpoint of deploying quantum key distribution (QKD) systems across our communications networks.”

The May 2022 paper in ResearchGate titled “Propagating Quantum Microwaves: Towards Applications in Communication and Sensing” suggests a growing interest in quantum microwaves and offers a roadmap to that end.

The roadmap to a quantum communications future is uncertain yet compelling in its possibilities. 

Standards Roadmaps

Today’s quantum standards, compliance and regulatory environment is often referred to as the ‘Wild West’ of technology for its lack of documentation and enforcement. Not surprising given the maturity of the technology, and lack of convergence as of 2022. If you lead an organization – with old and new devices – you need to think about this environment for your organizational roadmap in at least the following ways:

Internal – developing internal (inside organization) standards is far from new, yet applying an immature technology set such as quantum can be daunting to those expecting certainty. By ring-fencing quantum (via pilots, siloed units, POC’s, low-risk applications), standard-bearers and compliance leaders can monitor the opportunities and implications of #quantumtechnologiesJack Hidary and the SandboxAQ team discuss standards for organizations to consider in their July 2022 in Nature titled Transitioning Organizations to Post-Quantum Cryptography.

National – New requirements are being generated. The US government now requires each agency to address the quantum threat and protection measures for example. How soon before individual organizations take the same stance

International – With so many #quantum modalities (photonics, superconducting, ion trap, etc) in the market today, what are the implications for #quantumhardware, software, services and their international standards? Organizations like IEEE, and European Information Technologies Certification Institute are addressing such global quantum standards evolution. 

The field of quantum has a long runway ahead in terms of #standards so it remains important for organizations to monitor their internal efforts in generating quantum standards #roadmaps as national and international standards evolve. 

Sensing Roadmaps

Visual imaging for vehicles, quantum clocks, gravity surveys, navigation, analyzing the human body or searching for lost treasure or oil & gas – #quantumsensing will be part of the toolkit in the future. For example, vehicles depend increasingly on being able to visualize their environment accurately. Quantum Computing, Inc. (QCI) recently competed in the BMW Group Sensor Challenge engaging their Entropy Quantum Computer. Here’s a video link for QC’s solution – I recommend watching all the way to the end.  QCI’s quantum roadmap can be found here.

#Roadmaps are being actively developed and updated such as “Quantum Technology Roadmap Europe 2030“, “A roadmap for quantum technologies in the UK“, “IBM Quantum’s Development Roadmap, Building The Future of a Nascent Technology“, the Australian Army’s Quantum Technology Roadmap and many more.

#Quantumsensing promises to be one of the leading uses of #quantumtechnologies given the diversity of applications and their roadmaps will be compelling guideposts we watch over time. 

The 5-Part Quantum Roadmap Series is copyright (c) Aquitaine Innovation Advisors


Exploring Quantum Industry Consortiums Series: #1. Quantum Economic Development Consortium

In our quest to accelerate the market adoption of quantum technologies, the Quantum Strategy Institute (QSI) looks at both enablers and hurdles businesses face in making these complex, forward looking decisions.

For an industry that is on the verge of commercial expansion, this includes forming new industry consortiums, adding new working groups to existing consortiums, and forming an interactive industry relationship with the policy making governments.

In this series of papers under QSI’s Government and Consortium Relations pillar, we’ll explore the global landscape of these initiatives. This paper, first in the series, discusses the US-based Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C).

QSI Quantum Machine Learning: A Roadmap for Technologists - Amrita Manzari

Quantum Machine Learning: A Roadmap for Technologists

  In 1935, Einstein wrote a paper with Boris Podolsky and Nathen Rosen trying to expose the weird behavior of quantum mechanics calling it “spooky action at a distance”. Among its many weird behaviors, the notion of quantum superposition really defies our imagination.

Even weirder, if one looks into a quantum system of say two electrons and they are in an entangled state, if you measure the property of one electron, say its rotation, you can tell what the other electron’s rotation is — without even bothering to measure it. Is it weird or astonishing? I think both.


Quantum Talent – Shortages and Tactics

The quantum industry is experiencing the successes and growing pains faced by so many other past technologies. Momentum however remains on quantum’s side in 2021, so consider the positives. According to a 2021 IDC survey, “The number of organizations [commercial end users or CEU’s] allocating more than 17% of their annual IT budgets for this technology [quantum] are expected to rise from 7% in 2021 to an estimated….

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Becoming a Quantum Company

Quantum technologies are full of promise and potential. These technologies also bring their own challenges. Governments and businesses must start taking decisive action to manage the quantum changes as the second quantum revolution unfolds. Not doing so carries the risk of being left behind, and experience from other revolutions shows that this is not a favorable position to be in. Organizations without an AI mindset failed to execute on AI projects. Thus, organizations need a change management approach unique to quantum.