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Alex Bäcker's Wiki / Who Alex Bäcker is
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Who Alex Bäcker is

Page history last edited by Alex Backer, Ph.D. 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Who is Alex Bäcker?


A scientist, inventor, writer, speaker and entrepreneur. Scientist to observe the world, inventor to ideate improvement, entrepreneur to bring it to life.

As a scientist, Alex was the first one to point out the role of sunlight in COVID-19 prevention and treatment and the first to provide evidence for the potential role of vitamin D. His preprints have made the Top Ten Lists for dozens of fields and have been cited even before official publication. His papers on neural coding and neural computation have been published in leading journals such as Nature and cited by hundreds of publications. He has recently pointed out a key omission by Darwin in his theory of evolution via natural selection, and provided the missing link to the puzzle of how random mutations have led to the wonderful beings we call life in a paper that redefines the very meaning of male and female and the raison d'être for sex. 


As an author, Alex has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, LA NACION,... Look out for his upcoming books, 25 Mistakes To Avoid as a Director: A Pocket Guide to the Board of Directors, 25 Mistakes to Avoid as a Leader: A Pocket Guide to Surviving the Executive Suite, and 101 Clues on How to Live a Happy Life. Alex is also co-author of the upcoming The EdTech Book.


As an investor, Alex has handily beaten every major stock market index. As of the time of writing, he was beating NASDAQ 100 by 184%, NASDAQ Composite by 83%, the S&P 500 by more than 2500 basis points, the Dow Jones by more than 3000 basis points, the NYSE by over 3000 basis points, and the Russell 2000 Index by over 3500 basis points. 


As an entrepreneur, Alex is co-founder and CEO of Drisit, a technology company that's bringing James Cameron's vision in Avatar of life lived vicariously through the eyes, ears and body of a robot to life, one step closer toward teleportation. In the process, we're driving several orders of magnitude of improved efficiencies in the drone industry.


Alex is also co-founder of QLess. QLess™'s mission is to extend humankind's enjoyable lifespan. Waiting in line wastes more human life --two years of the average life-- than smoking-related deaths. To begin, QLess is eliminating standing in line from the face of the Earth with an award-winning wireless technology that has already saved over 150 million users from thousands of years of waiting in line --more time than all of recorded history-- at DMVs, restaurants, retail stores for Fortune 100 companies, shopping malls, doctors' offices, colleges, call centers, barbers, car dealers and other locations in hundreds of cities across six continents, as featured in the WSJ, The New York Times, TechCrunch, CNET, Mashable, the BBC, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Los Angeles Business Journal, NPR, Fox News, ABC, NBC and many other news outlets. QLess has already injected well over 3 billion dollars of time into the economy. 


The average person spends 2 years of her life waiting in line (R. C. Larson, Operations Research 35(6): 895, 1987). That’s 55 billion hours per yr in the US alone, 9% of the avg. work-life expectancy, & $1.2 trillion of the US GDP lost yearly, and many more trillions globally. Businesses routinely lose up to 49% of prospective customers lost during the wait. People have been standing in line since the times of ancient Egypt, and the technology has changed little since. QLess fixes all of this. 


QLess eliminates waiting in line anywhere by letting users get in a virtual, mobile, interactive queue from any mobile phone, then get notified predictively as their turn approaches. QLess allows them to request more time if needed, obtain wait forecasts at any time, and find queues with the shortest waits. 


Under Dr. Bäcker's leadership, his companies, and QLess in particular, have consistently grown their aggregate annual sales at an average yearly growth rate of over 75% since launch, and count Fortune 500 companies such as Vodafone, Walmart and Office Depot, as well as award-winning governments, such as the cities of SF, LA, Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Cupertino, Barcelona, healthcare leaders such as Kaiser Permanente and universities such as NYU, the University of California and the University of Texas, leading establishments such as the Port of Antwerp, the US Navy, US Air Force, the NFL, the NHL, the Red Sox and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, among their customers.


Dr. Bäcker's creation, QLess, Inc., was named the Best Medium Computer Software Company in the world at the last edition of the International Business Awards, held in Vienna, the Best Medium Consumer Services Company in the world, as well as the Best Small Computer Services Company in the USA for a record-breaking six consecutive years at the American Business Awards and the Best Small Computer Services Company in the world at the 2015, 2016 and 2018 International Business Awards, was named one of the major trends for 2012 and beyond by “Father of Invention” and the “Dean of Futurists” Thomas Frey (one of only 2 trends that involve a single company), the Best Overall Business Services Company of the Year by the 2010 American Business Awards. QLess was also a winner of the NACo Achievement Award & GFOA Award for Excellence in eGovernment and Technology, a finalist at the inaugural Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Awards as one of 15 most innovative companies in Los Angeles, was named one of 5 most companies in California with strongest technology and business plan by Geeks Going Globalone of 'LA’s most exciting tech creations of the moment' by TechZulu's Spotlight L.A. distinguished panel of judges, named one of the Best Business Innovations of the year by the 2009 American Business Awards and one of the ten most promising new technology companies in the inaugural contest, as well as the winner of the inaugural Clickatell Personalized Priority Messaging Awards, Small and Medium Business Category. QLess was also featured in the first startup sessions video to focus on a company outside Silicon Valley.


Dr. Bäcker is an avid futurologist. He predicted Uber, Waze, Tinder, among many other technologies, the fall of Theresa May, and correctly called the 2020 US Elections in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania days before any news outlet. 


Dr. Bäcker is the inventor behind 11 patents and over 100 other inventions.


In 2021, Dr. Bäcker was named among the Top 100 MIT Alumni in Technology. He also published a paper improving on Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, showing that Darwin missed half the story. He also published a paper showing a projection that minimizes distortions of the Earth when projecting it onto two planes of a sheet of paper, and a third one providing evidence against a recent well-publicized theory of the function of REM sleep.


In 2020, Dr. Bäcker wrote a series of seminal papers, some of whose findings were picked up by press around the world, demonstrating for the first time that sunlight appears to slow down COVID-19 transmission. In the same year, during the BLM movement, he wrote a paper on Reinventing Police that led to a collaboration with the chief of a leading police department for a major city. More of Dr. Bäcker's scientific publications can be found here.


In 2017, Dr. Bäcker was an invited speaker at Innovate Pasadena and QLess was named one of L.A.'s Best Companies to Work For by the Los Angeles Business Journal.


In 2013, Dr. Bäcker was named the Gold Stevie Winner of IT Executive of the Year & Silver Stevie Winner of Innovator of the Year by the International Business Awards. He also keynoted the MIT Club of Southern California's Annual Meeting, together with Steve Isakowitz, President of Virgin Galactic and former CFO of the DOE.


In 2011, Dr. Bäcker was honored as the keynote speaker at LA County's Tech Week, an honor that was previously accorded a Nobel Prize winner, the CEO of Cisco, the CEO of Adobe, the Chairman of Deloitte, and an astronaut. Dr. Bäcker was also selected speaker for TEDx Hong Kong and closing speaker for Humanity+ Hong Kong (Alex also spoke at H+ Harvard & H+ Caltech) and TED-X Rosario...speakers included a former Secretary of the Treasury, a star from the NBA, a TV star and a distinguished scientist.


In 2010, Dr. Bäcker was honored as one of "40 under 40" at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel --the location of the first Oscar Academy Awards-- for the inaugural 40 Under 40 M&A Advisor Recognition Awards. The Gala Event celebrated the leading forty M&A, Financing and Turnaround professionals who have made great accomplishments before their fortieth year, chosen from international nominees by an independent judging panel of distinguished business leaders for their accomplishments and expertise.


In 2008, Dr. Bäcker was appointed by the President to serve in the California Institute of Technology's Information Sciences and Technology Board of Advisors together with a distinguished cadre of scientists, technologists and philanthropists including Carver Mead and Phil Neches, where he serves to this day. He is also a mentor for Endeavor, a non-profit that supports high-impact entrepreneurs globally.


QLess is an offshoot of ab|inventio, the award-winning invention factory. ab|inventio was honored as Most Innovative Company of the Year in North America Distinguished Honoree by the 2010 International Business Awards, alongside and a handful of others


Whozat™, The People Search Engine™, another ab|inventio daughter, was named one of the 100 hottest start-ups in the world by famed technology blog TechCrunch, a semantic search engine with machine vision that garnered tens of thousands of pageviews within a week of launch. Whozat beat Google and every other search engine tested 3 to 1 or more in results relevance in a blind people search comparison. Prof. Harry Lewis, endowed chair in CS at Harvard; former Dean of Harvard College, wrote in his blog: “Try I learned things about myself I didn’t know. Seriously. And now I’m checking on you.” Whozat has since launched, pioneering the first search engine that can search based on a resume (or any document), capable of scouring the web for information related to any document, whose traffic has quickly grown to hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per month. SocialDiligence also offers a unique Watchlist that allows subscribers to receive updates on any person of interest, including not just the person's own updates, but those written by others about them. 


Dr. Bäcker is also the founder of Adapt Technologies™, a pioneer of search engine marketing technology which has boosted the reach of Search Engine Marketing campaigns by up to 580% while simultaneously reducing their cost per action by up to 78%. Alex served as Adapt's first President, CEO and CTO, growing net revenues by more than 200% every quarter of his tenure as CEO, and served in Adapt's Board of Directors until the company's sale to WebVisible. 


He has held positions at McKinsey & Co., the Department of Computational Biology and Evolutionary Computing at the Center for Computation, Computers, Information and Mathematics of Sandia National Labs, and the Biology Division of Caltech. You can read about Dr. Bäcker's scientific discoveries, published in media as diverse as Nature, Neural Computation and an ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, in his Caltech webpage and his Science wiki


A native of Argentina, Dr. Bäcker was National Champion of Informatics and represented the country twice at the International Olympiads of Informatics (after being a sub for another year). Alex holds a degree in Biology with a minor in Economics from MIT, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems and Biology, respectively, from the California Institute of Technology, where he was awarded the Dean’s award for ‘great contributions and outstanding qualities of Leadership and Responsibility’ while a Fellow at the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology, and where he founded or co-founded the CNS Journal Club, the Da Vinci Club (including the Kitesurfing 'subdivision') and the Caltech Filmmaking Club. Alex is a recipient of the Dux Medal.


Dr. Bäcker speaks English, Spanish, German and French, and has been an invited speaker at numerous conferences on diverse science and technology topics around the world. He's been cited in Unrelenting Innovation: How to Create a Culture for Market Dominance (Wiley, 2003) and hundreds of other publications.


Dr. Bäcker likes to spend his free time sailing, traveling the world (239 cities in 70 countries and counting, although camping trips in nature are some of his favorite), exploring every nook and cranny of Southern California, with a predilection for really interesting lodging, kitesurfing, windsurfing, filmmaking, or kayaking. He's been known to compose two or three songs and more than a few poems. Once upon a time, Dr. Bäcker was an avid Dungeon Master. He has also served for many years as a volunteer coach for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), where his teams have won a couple of championships.


In addition to this wiki, Dr. Bäcker keeps a blog of life at QLess.



Recommended By

 “Alex is a true visionary, a brilliant innovator, and an inspiring leader. Our time working together was too brief, but I'm grateful that I had the opportunity.” September 13, 2006

Tim McCune , Technical Lead , Adapt Technologies 

worked indirectly for Alex at Adapt Technologies, Inc.


 “Alex is a wonderfully creative scientist. He's entirely self-motivated and innately curious. He's a leader by nature and ultimately interested in practical applications of discovery-driven research. Perhaps most importantly, Alex is a joy to work with - if you get the chance the chance to collaborate with Alex, take it !” 

Grant Heffelfinger , Deputy Director , Sandia National Laboratories 

managed Alex indirectly at Sandia National Labs


"Friendly genius"

Alex Lightmanauthor, entrepreneur, and futurist, the first Economist Reader’s Award[12] for “the innovation most likely to radically impact the world over the next decade 2010 to 2020”, who has made significant contributions to the adoption of IPv6, served as CTO of the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization, and has authored several books on technology and society.


"One of our [Caltech’s] brightest entrepreneurs in this area"

Daniel Broderick, Associate Director, Caltech Office of Technology Transfer


“Alex is one of the most charismatic intellectuals I have encountered in any industry. He is much more approachable than other prolific researchers of his caliber, and I was glad of having the opportunity to learn his perspective on search-engine-marketing.” March 7, 2007

Jeffery Chin , Systems Administrator , Adapt Technologies 

worked with Alex at Adapt Technologies, Inc.


“Alex is smart beyond compare, yet down-to-earth in every way. A professional and visionary technologist who is passionate about technology. Alex is a pleasure to work with and I would recommend him without question.” November 3, 2006

Greg Buechler , Sr. Vice President , i-Hire, Inc. 

worked directly with Alex at Adapt Technologies, Inc.


 “Alex is an innovator and a solid team player.” 

Peter B. Merkle , Principal Analyst , Sandia National Labs 

worked with Alex at Caltech


More in my LinkedIn profile.


P.S. If you want to read more:

With Ram Prayaga, Alex co-founded Cafe|Think™, which launched Choizi™, an online personalized recommendation service to help users find restaurants of their liking (most of the credit should go to Ram, says Alex). He is also the founder of Tree of Babel, a fledgling nonprofit collaborative web project to map out the genealogy of human languages.


P.S. 2: If you want to read even more, read Alex's CV (quite out of date). 


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