Jeffrey L. Funk

Jeffrey L. Funk
Independent

PhD Carnegie Mellon University

About

71
Publications
42,378
Reads
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1,364
Citations
Citations since 2017
27 Research Items
424 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080
2017201820192020202120222023020406080
Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (71)
Article
Full-text available
This paper empirically examines 13 technologies in which significant cost and performance improvements occurred even while no commercial production occurred. Since the literature emphasizes cost reductions through increases in cumulative production, this paper explores cost and performance improvements from a new perspective. The results demonstrat...
Article
Full-text available
This article illuminates the drivers of exponential improvements in performance and cost and explains why some technologies experience more rapid improvements than others. It shows how exponential improvements in performance and cost are largely driven by two mechanisms: creating materials to better exploit their physical phenomena; and geometric s...
Article
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This paper describes how rapid rates of improvement in smart phones, telecommunication systems and other forms of IT enable solutions for sustainability and how this provides opportunities for the fields of telecommunication and information systems. While reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change focuses on technologies with rates...
Article
Using the history of magnetic recording and playback equipment, this paper explores the relationship between incremental improvements in components and technological discontinuities in systems. It finds that improvements in components have been the major source of all discontinuities in the industry. Focusing just on tape-based systems, all of the...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article discusses several changes that I believe may have reduced America’s ability to develop science-based technologies over the past 70 years. I make no claims about the completeness. I begin with the growth of university research and then cover several changes it engendered, including an obsession with papers, hyper-specialization of resea...
Preprint
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This article will show that the current bubble has produced few profitable startups and involved few if any new digital technologies, nor technologies involving recent scientific advances, and thus it is unlikely that much that is productive will be left once the dust settles. There is a growth in old technologies such as e-commerce but little in n...
Presentation
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These slides summarize the recent share price declines for new startups, declines that are driven by huge annual and cumulative losses and it contrasts today's bubble with those of 2000 and 2008. It shows that today's bubble involves bigger startup losses than those of the 2000 bubble and that the markets of new technologies have not grown to the e...
Presentation
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The failure of IBM Watson, disappointments of self-driving vehicles, slow diffusion of medical imaging, small markets for AI software, and scorching criticisms of Google’s research papers provide evidence for hype and disappointment in AI, which is consistent with negative social impact of Big Data and AI algorithms. There are some successes, but t...
Article
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The article details the small percentage of profitable Unicorn startups, the lack of breakthrough technologies being commercialized, and the small number of science-based technologies coming out of universities. Only 6 of 73 Unicorn startups were profitable in 2019 and 7 of 69 in 2020 despite most being founded more than 10 years ago. In contrast,...
Presentation
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These slides show how the most successful startups of today (Unicorns) are not doing as well as the most successful of 20 to 50 years ago. Today's startups are doing worse in terms of time to profitability and time to top 100 market capitalization status. Only one Unicorn founded since 2000 has achieved top 100 market capitalization status while si...
Preprint
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This paper analyzes the most valuable startups of the past 50 years to test whether big disruptions are occurring more frequently now than in the past. Startups that achieved top 100 market capitalization are contrasted with ex-Unicorns, startups that achieved $1 billion or greater valuations before they did recent IPOs in recent years. After showi...
Presentation
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These slides show that few successful startups have been founded since 2000, no where near the numbers founded before 2000. They compare recent startups (founded since 2000) with those from past decades using market capitalization and profits. Share price changes are also shown for recent startups. While startups founded before 2000 had early profi...
Article
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This episode encouraged me to look more deeply into the economic promise of AI and the rosy projections made by champions of this technology within the financial sector. This investigation was just the latest twist on a long-standing interest of mine. In the early 1980s, I wrote a doctoral dissertation on the economics of robotics and AI, and throu...
Article
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Start-up losses are mounting and innovation is slowing, but venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, consultants, university researchers, and business schools are hyping new technologies more than ever before. This hype is facilitated by changes in online media, including the rise of social media. This paper describes how the professional incentives of...
Presentation
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These slides assess predictions of "emerging technologies" by Scientific American between 2015 and 2018. Few are actually emerging, except the old ones, which shouldn't be among the predictions.
Preprint
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This paper addresses the challenges of overcoming the "End of Science". It discusses the falling productivity of R&D, the limitations of existing terms, concepts and theories of R&D, and the necessity of better defining R&D processes before the falling productivity of them can be reversed. It first uses data on research and labor productivity to de...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper addresses the types of knowledge that are needed in entrepreneurial firms using a unique data base of executives and directors for all IPOs filed between 1990 and 2010. Using highest educational degrees as a proxy for educational knowledge, it shows that 85% of those with PhDs are concentrated in the life sciences and ICT (information an...
Preprint
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This paper shows that academic experts are becoming more specialized and less practical, even as problems are becoming more complex. Evidence for growing specialization includes rising numbers of journals, articles, researchers, and citations per academic paper, largely reflecting a growing number of specializations and thus a narrowing of academic...
Preprint
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This report assesses bold forecasts made by major consulting organizations on artificial intelligence. This includes the expected doubling of economic growth by 2035. It does this assessment by critiquing a June 2017 report by the McKinsey Global Institute. This report focuses on the McKinsey Global Institute because it is a think tank for McKinsey...
Article
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This article describes the problems with patents as measure of innovation and academic papers as a measure of advances in science. One problem is the rise by six times in patent applications and patent awards since 1984 while productivity growth has slowed.
Article
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This paper shows how new forms of electronic products and services become economically feasible and thus candidates for commercialization and creative destruction as improvements in standard electronic components such as microprocessors, memory, and displays occur. Unlike the predominant viewpoint in which commercialization is reached as advances i...
Article
Full-text available
This article shows how new forms of electronic products and services become economically feasible and thus candidates for commercialization and creative destruction as improvements in standard electronic components such as microprocessors, memory, and displays occur. Unlike the predominant viewpoint in which commercialization is reached, as advance...
Presentation
Full-text available
These slides explain why IT has not provided more increases in productivity and the implications of this for new IT technologies such as AI
Article
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Although high degrees of reliability have been found for many types of forecasts purportedly due to the existence of accountability, public forecasts of technology are rarely assessed and continue to have a poor reputation. This paper's analysis of forecasts made by MIT's Technology Review provides a rare assessment and thus a means to encourage ac...
Presentation
Full-text available
These slides discuss the impact that AI is having on professional work such as accountants, journalists, lawyers, architects, and engineers. It shows that demand for professional work has increased and not decreased in the last decade and thus the concerns about employment are less important than ordinarily thought. the big impact of AI will be on...
Presentation
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These slides show that very few academic papers are read by corporate engineers and scientists
Presentation
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This presentation describes a new business model for online education in low-income countries. the business model emphasizes: 1) continuous learning in which each step of learning enables the student to have a better job and 2) connecting students with jobs and only charging students after they have passed an exam and obtained a job
Presentation
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These sides list other business models for low-income countries and business models for high-income countries that can be modified for low-income countries.
Article
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Technological improvement trends such as Moore's law and experience curves have been widely used to understand how technologies change over time and to forecast the future through extrapolation. Such studies can also potentially provide a deeper understanding of R&D management and strategic issues associated with technical change. However, such use...
Article
The objective of this paper is to understand when new types of input interfaces for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) such as Natural User Interfaces (NUI) (e.g., speech and gesture) and Direct Neural Interfaces (DNI), or combinations of them, might become technologically and economically feasible. This problem is addressed by analyzing the performa...
Article
This paper uses data on rates of improvement to discuss when new technologies or systems composed from them might become economically feasible. Technologies must provide some level of performance and price for specific applications before they will begin to diffuse and technologies that experience rapid rates of improvement are more likely to becom...
Data
This paper shows how the emergence of open standards has created large numbers of entrepreneurial opportunities in the semiconductor industry by enabling vertical specialization. Integrating data on firms and technology evolution, we find a gradual increase in the percentage of firms represented by newly-founded “de novo” entrepreneurial startups,...
Article
This paper shows how the emergence of open standards has created large numbers of entrepreneurial opportunities in the semiconductor industry by enabling vertical specialization. Integrating data on firms and technology evolution, we find a gradual increase in the percentage of firms represented by newly-founded “de novo” entrepreneurial startups,...
Chapter
The long lifetime of technological systems increases the importance of understanding those technologies that are experiencing rapid improvements. Ideally we would like to design our systems around these technologies so that we can benefit from the future benefits that these rapid improvements in component performance and cost can provide at a syste...
Article
Full-text available
This article uses concepts from the literatures of industry architecture and the product life cycle model to analyze the evolution of entrepreneurial opportunities in the US broadcasting sector. Using the literature on industry architecture, it analyzes the specific events that led to the emergence of vertical disintegration and entrepreneurial opp...
Article
This paper analyzes the timing of a new technology's economic feasibility using a simple yet novel approach. While the conventional wisdom that costs fall as cumulative production increases does not enable us to analyze this timing, the proposed approach enables us to do so using existing technological trends in the components that form a new techn...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze standard setting and how a critical mass of users emerged in an industry in which multiple interface standards co‐exist and a critical mass of users was created multiple times. Design/methodology/approach This paper is based on research conducted for almost ten years using the case study approach. Da...
Article
This is one of the few papers to analyze multiple interface standards in a single industry and it finds that standard setting in such an industry is much more complex than those covered in the existing literature. In the mobile Internet, some of the interface standards initially required so-called integral design while others have been built on top...
Conference Paper
This paper explores the little understood phenomenon of geometric scaling. After reviewing the relatively small literature on it, this paper applies the concept to wind turbines. It describes the theory and shows the empirical evidence for a link between geometric scaling and long-run cost reductions in the electricity generated from wind turbines....
Article
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This paper uses a typology of industries to summarize and contrast the challenges involved with industry formation and to examine why specific industries were formed in some countries before other ones. The formation of most new industries depends on the introduction of products that provide a superior “value proposition” to some set of users where...
Article
This paper addresses the formation of industries that involve direct network effects. Using two concepts from the literature on network effects (critical mass and inverse demand curves) and descriptive data from the formation of five telecommunication-related industries, this paper argues that a critical mass of users was created multiple times in...
Article
This paper considers how the mobile phone industry is changing from a value chain to a value network using the Japanese market as an example. Value networks involve a larger number of firms, a more complex set of relationships between them, and agreements on a greater number of interface standards than do value chains. Building from this concept of...
Article
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This paper applies the concept of co-evolution to technology, institutions, and industry structure in the mobile phone industry with a focus on technology and the institution/method of standard setting. The paper shows how changes in technology have caused the method of standard setting to come full circle. New switching technologies, in particular...
Article
This paper describes a model that sheds light on the mechanism by which many technological discontinuities occur. The model combines three arguments: 1) incremental improvements in a system's components impact on the performance and design of systems; 2) these incremental improvements in components can lead to discontinuities in system design throu...
Article
This paper uses the semiconductor industry to describe a model of technological change that sheds light on the mechanism by which many technological discontinuities occur. The model combines two arguments: (1) incremental improvements in a system's components impact on the performance and design of systems; and (2) these incremental improvements in...
Article
Full-text available
While the existing research on modular designs and vertical disintegration primarily focuses on a single industry, this paper looks at the interaction between modular design and vertical disintegration in both the electronic systems (e.g., computers, telecommunications, broadcasting) and electronic components (i.e., semiconductors) industries. It u...
Article
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This paper uses the concepts of lead users and technological trajectories and the current status of mobile shopping in Japan to forecast the future of mobile shopping. In interviews with more than 100 Japanese and foreign firms between 2000 and 2005, the author investigated the impact of a number of technological trajectories on mobile shopping app...
Article
This paper describes the evolution of the mobile Internet in terms of three concepts: the startup problem, standard setting, and mental models. Products in which there is little or no value to the first users due to the existence of strong direct (e.g., telephone) or indirect (complementary products) network effects face a large startup problem. Th...
Article
Full-text available
This article uses the music industry to demonstrate a model of technological change that explains the sources and timing of technological discontinuities and dominant designs. The process by which firms translate customer needs into products can be represented in terms of an interaction between customer choice and product design hierarchies. Techno...
Article
This paper looks at the future of mobile phone-based Intranet applications using data from the Japanese market and models of industry evolution. Owing to the faster and greater agreement on protocols for defining the way in which content and information is presented on phones and the faster introduction and promotion of push-based Internet mail and...
Article
This paper uses the concepts of technological trajectories and lead users to forecast the future of the mobile phone Internet, which has seen substantial growth in Japan and Korea and to a lesser extent in Europe, the US and other parts of Asia. The author interviewed more than 100 firms that provide services, content, and technologies in the Japan...
Article
Full-text available
This paper applies the product life cycle theory to the issue of product line management with two goals in mind: 1) to understand how product line management evolves over the life of an industry and 2) to compare Klepper's model (1986), which emphasizes economies of scale, with the traditional model of the product life cycle, which emphasizes domin...
Article
Das parallele Wachstum von Mobilfunk und Internetnutzung in den 90er Jahren hat vielen den Eindruck vermittelt, dass für mobile Internet-Dienste erhebliches Marktpotenzial vorhanden wäre. Die Diffusionsraten bei der Mobilfunknutzung übersteigen in den meisten europäischen Ländern inzwischen 60%, und die Diffusionsraten im Bereich des Internet über...
Article
This paper discusses how firms can use slight information advantages to obtain preferential access to complementary assets and create multi-level dominant designs. It does this by using an analysis of several cellular phone industries and the literature on standards and dominant designs. In the most prominent case, the leading Japanese cellular ser...
Article
The existing literature on industrial standards almost exclusively focuses on pure market competition; this paper shows how and why both governments and firms have had a strong effect on the creation of global standards in the mobile communication industry through a hybrid system of committees and markets. According to our model, governments can an...
Article
This paper describes the evolution of competition in the world-wide mobile communication market. Most firms have succeeded with products (infrastructure and phones) and phone services that are based on domestic standards, while relatively few firms (Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia) have succeeded in the development of infrastructure and phones that a...
Article
Full-text available
This is a most unusual paper. It is based on 11 months of ethnographic studies in a Japanese high-technology company. It investigates the structuring process of identity creation in organization. The authors painstakingly detail how the technologies of production, routinization and spatial order combine into daily mutual dependencies, joint sensema...
Article
This paper argues that the operationalization of concurrent engineering depends on the underlying structure of the design problem. It makes this argument by looking at existing contingency models of product development and by showing how concurrent engineering is operationalized in three different Japanese industries. The data from the three indust...
Article
Presents a model that hypothesizes relationships between logistical complexity and both the importance of JIT manufacturing and the most appropriate organization structure for implementing JIT manufacturing. Logistical complexity can be defined in terms of the number of manufacturing steps or the number of different part numbers handled in a factor...
Article
The current literature on Japanese product development strategies is reviewed. Several propositions about how Japanese firms might be implementing these strategies differently than US firms are developed. A detailed case study of Mitsubishi's Semiconductor Equipment Department, published material on Japanese and US product development methods and o...
Article
Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) is still an objective for the future rather than a present reality. Mechanical integration was introduced over 60 years ago by Ford to increase output and cut unit costs, but at the cost of making high volume production extremely inflexible. The answer is apparently “computer integration” with multi-purpose m...
Article
Although nonequipment overhead costs typically represent greater than 80% of manufacturing costs, few models of these costs have been developed and therefore, such expenditures are usually not explicitly considered when choosing a manufacturing system. This paper develops and uses models of retrieval and kitting labor costs along with component and...
Article
Although many companies have found JIT manufacturing to be a very effective manufacturing strategy, few models have been developed which can help direct JIT efforts. This article discusses some of the problems with modelling JIT manufacturing, it describes some simple models of inventory costs in a JIT system and it uses these models to evaluate al...
Article
This paper describes the application of design for assembly and early cost analysis models to the design of electrical products. Four example subassemblies are considered which include printed circuit board (PCB), wire and mechanical assembly operations. The alternative designs are found to have (on average) 32% lower printed circuit board assembly...
Article
Abstract This paper uses the audio and video magnetic ,recording equipment ,industry to demonstrate,a model,of technological change that addresses the sources and timing of technological discontinuities and dominant designs. The model ,emphasizes ,product design and customer choice hierarchies, design tradeoffs, and incremental improvements in a pr...

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Projects (4)
Project
How is technology changing work, particularly that of professionals? What types of professional work are being impacted by improvements in technology and what types of improvements are impacting work? Computers, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, biosensors, virtual reality, augmented reality?
Project
The goal of this project is to understand the extent to which academic research leads to the commercialization of new technologies and thus the emergence of new products and services. Second, how does this occur and what is the process by which it occurs?
Project
This project is developing new businesses for low-income countries, particularly those in SE Asia. The first example in this project was online education. Subsequent projects will look at smart lighting, ride sharing, and other aspects of smart lighting.