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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. 2 days, 19 hours ago Saved with comment

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, author and speaker to bring it to the world.

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. He is in the top 10% of Authors on SSRN by all-time downloads.


As an author, Alex has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, LA NACION,... He is the author of 101 Clues on How to Live a Happy LifeLook out for his upcoming books, 25 Blunders To Avoid as a Director: A Pocket Guide to the Board of Directors (watch what Jack Canfield had to say about it here) and 25 Mistakes to Avoid as a Leader: A Pocket Guide to Surviving the Executive Suite. Alex is also co-author of The EdTech Book.


As an entrepreneur, Alex is co-founder and CEO of Drisit, a technology company that's doing for vision what Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone did for speech, giving our users global vision. We are 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. Here is some of what has been said about Drisit:


"This is absolutely fascinating. I love it. I've talked a lot about drones in the past but this is taking it to a new level. I think this has massive potential."

-Thomas Frey, Google's top-rated futurist and IBM's most award-winning engineer, on Drisit.


"This changes everything. It is that cool." 

   - CEO, Real Estate Consortia


"Wow. Very few times I am speechless. I am blown away. It’s really something. I am so impressed with the technology, really want to find a way to partner. The data sets are incredibly useful and powerful for what we’re doing. What you produced is just amazing."

   - President, Incenter Agency Solutions



   -President, Nationwide Site Inspection


"Super cool stuff what you are building!"

    --CEO / Co-founder, Inspectify


Alex also founded the International Founders Association, with the mission to help founders and entrepreneurs succeed in creating, growing and maintaining successful companies. Its first three goals are:
1. Create a set of founding and financing documents to provide a founder- and company-friendly alternative to the VC-friendly ones by the NVCA.
2. Create a resource to spread knowledge among founders of the many pitfalls to beware in terms of corporate structure, financing, etc.
3. Create a rider/pledge that founder-friendly VCs and PE firms can adopt to walk the talk and differentiate themselves from the kind of investors who are founder-friendly only in words.


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 50% 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 certified in Neurocoaching theory and skills by the Neuroleadership Institute.


Dr. Bäcker is an avid futurologist. He invented or predicted Waze, Tinder, SpotHero and What Three Words 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 12 patents and over 100 other inventions.


In 2023, Dr. Bäcker gave the keynote speech at the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) Annual Conference in Omaha, NE and the keynote speech at the Electronic Signature and Records Association annual conference in Tempe, AZ.


In 2023, he gave a presentation to the Harvard University AI Club and trained a number of prestigious law firms on AI and the law.


In 2023, Dr. Bäcker was recruited to co-found SBS, a company seeking to eliminate border crossing and other vehicular congestion. SBS was selected by Techstars out of 900 companies for its potential and given an investment by the same.


In 2023, Dr. Bäcker co-founded Lawbotics.AI, a company in legal artificial intelligence.


In 2023, he and Chel Hill released their first song as the songwriting duo, Jack & Hill.


In November of 2022, Dr. Bäcker gave a TEDx talk at a meeting of McKinsey & Company alumni in Silicon Valley showing that companies whose boards of directors have more CEOs do better, contrary to the trend against hiring CEOs for the same, and that VC-backed companies die at a rate many times higher than non-VC-backed ones.


In the same month, Dr. Bäcker published a white paper arguing for the creation of Inventemia, the equivalent of academia as applied to invention rather than science.


In 2022, Dr. Bäcker discovered that (at least some) dogs don't understand elevators.


In 2022, Dr. Bäcker published his book, 101 Clues to a Happy Life, with a foreword by Jack Canfield, the best-selling non-fiction author of all time. 


Also in 2022, Dr. Bäcker launched Drisit, the world's first platform for the remote control and real-time streaming of drones across the world, and the world's first platform bringing the shared economy to drones, an "AirBNB" for drones.


Also in 2022, Dr. Bäcker co-wrote and recorded Spend a little time, a song produced by legendary Ron Nevison he recorded with Chel Hill, Phil X, Jeff Bova, Tony Franklin and Danny Fongheiser, released on Valentine's Day, 2023. The same year, he wrote and recorded Love is a Journey, sung by Geordann and Chel Hill and produced by Hvrbie, which was released on Valentine's Day, 2024.


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. He also wrote the song Love is a Journey, recorded by Chel Hill and Geordann and produced by Hrvbie.


In June of 2021, Dr. Bäcker wrote an article pointing out that the probability that the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 was over 99%.


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. 

In 2007, Dr. Bäcker co-founded MyNew.TV, a precursor of TikTok-like algorithmically-driven personalized video entertainment. 


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. 


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 nonprofit collaborative web project to map out the genealogy of human languages. 


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


In the early 2000s, Dr. Bäcker invented a method for a search engine to provide a specific part of a webpage, rather than simply a URL/webpage, in response to a search query, and demonstrated a working version of it in 2005, a technology that is now used by Google.


At Caltech, Dr. Bäcker advised, mentored and collaborated with a number of brilliant students, including Stephen Becker, now a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado, Joey Gonzalez, now a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley and Co-founder at Aqueduct, and Ulrik Beierholm, now a Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Durham.


Dr. Bäcker created and published an open-source repository of computer programs for scientific analysis.


A native of Argentina, Dr. Bäcker taught himself to program at age ten and wrote a game called Cocodrilos that filled the 4 kb RAM of his TIMEX 1000. He 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 (243 cities in 74 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.


Interesting genealogical tidbit: Dr. Bäcker's great-grandfather, Ernst Moos, was a cousin of Albert Einstein.



In the words of his colleagues:

 “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


Alex's LinkedIn profile. Alex Bäcker's Linktree to a few of his creations.


P.S. If you want to read more read Alex's CV (very out of date). 


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