Atoms < Bits < Souls: Why Not Boring Needs a Computational Physicist/Spiritual Entrepreneur in Residence

April 11, 2022 § Leave a comment

[Not Boring Research Analyst Application]

I believe:

  1. The Human Colossus is about to undergo a phase transition (“from rational to relational“) analogous to the one where Gutenberg, Luther and Newton inaugurated modernity (“from ritual to rational“)
  2. Not Boring is uniquely positioned to observe, influence, and capitalize on this phase transition
  3. You need someone like me — with expertise on the bleeding edge of science, technology, entreprenuership, and philosophy — to help you see the Biggest Picture.

I’m no Scott Aaronson or John Preskill, but I know them well enough to understand their edges of reality. As I’ve recently been reconnecting with my early scientific research on quantum computation, I’ve been struck by how:

  1. Quantum-physics-inspired reflections on the nature of time eerily mirror the way Solana and Flow are re-defining time to create scalable blockchains
  2. The post-hierarchical world of quantum entanglement resonates with the Not Boring vision of Liquid Superteams
  3. Our difficulty in reconciling micro-scale quantum uncertainty with macro-scale objective observables parallels the impedance mis-match between emergent Internet culture and the existing top-down institutions we rely on to sustain civilization

I have no idea whether these are merely cute analogies or profound insights into the fundamental nature of reality, but fortunately for you it doesn’t matter. Rather, they illustrate three superpowers I have that can add unique value to the Not Boring family:

1. Perspective as the Outsider’s Insider and the Insider’s Outsider

As an immigrant and management consultant, I had to master the skill of stepping outside myself to comprehend alternative viewpoints. I can not only give you a cheat sheet for engaging with new communities, I can help you see the water you yourself are swimming in. 

2. Explaining Sophisticated Systems with Simple Stories (and sometimes vice versa)

As a Caltech-trained physicist, I have the skillset (and ego!) to understand the most complex systems in the universe. Apple Product Marketing taught me how to use that for translating breakthrough innovations into emotionally-compelling narratives. 

3. I’m from the future, and I’m here to help

I have this weird psychological dislocation where I am emotionally engaged eighteen months in the future. This makes me super-annoying at parties, but came in handy at Apple. I obsessed over how to prepare today for Black Swan opportunities that seem inevitable to me, even if I am laughably inaccurate about when. I would love to use this as Dr. Strange to your Tony Stark, so you can find the one in 14,000,605 future that matters most to you. 

Finally, I have come to the conclusion that every startup founder needs a priest. Someone who knows and appreciates just how difficult, important and rewarding your work is — but also that you are more important than just your work. Working under Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller I have been more privileged than most to see both the elevating potential of innovation — and the enormous cost people pay to bring about that more desirable future. I would love to bring that hard-purchased compassion and generosity to the Not Boring family.

I am not seeking a full-time position at this time, but would love to make myself away to consult, write, and brainstorm with you, your team, and your portfolio companies. You can reach me at


Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D.

Caltech ’95, MIT ’88

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