Five Most Admired Female Leaders in Technology and Innovation

A friend of mine, Angie Apperson, asked on Linkedin Who are on your list of most admired female leaders in tech? Here is my list of my five most admired female leaders in Technology and innovation.

Lisa Su

Lisa Su. CEO of AMD. When Lisa Su became CEO of Advanced Micro Devices in 2014, AMD was on the brink of bankruptcy. AMD’s stock has soared—from less than US $2 per share to more than $136. The company is now a leader in high-performance computing. Su appears on the Barron’s Top CEOs of 2021 list, Fortune’s 2020 Most Powerful Women, and CNN’s Risk Takers.

She received the IEEE Robert N. Noyce Medal. Su is the first woman to receive the award, which recognizes her “leadership in groundbreaking semiconductor products and successful business strategies that contributed to the strength of the microelectronics industry.” Sponsored by Intel, the Noyce Medal is considered to be one of the semiconductor industry’s most prestigious honors.

When Su joined AMD in 2012, about 10 percent of sales came from non-PC products. By February 2015, roughly 40 percent of AMD’s sales came from non-PC markets, such as video game consoles and embedded devices. In May 2015, Su and other AMD executives presented a long-term strategy for the company to focus on developing high-performance computing and graphics technologies for three growth areas: gaming, datacenter, and “immersive platforms” markets.

In January 2016, Su announced that AMD was working on new FinFET-based chips to create a new line of microprocessors, products, accelerated processing units (APUs), graphics chips, and semi-custom chip designs for unreleased video game consoles.

Cathie Wood

Cathie Wood manages over $50 billion in Ark Invest funds. CEO and founder. She famously called Tesla getting to $4000 (now post split $800) four years ago. Wood is known for making bold predictions. Wood received considerable media attention in February 2018 after she stated on CNBC that she believed Tesla stock could reach a price of $4,000 in five years, a 1,100% increase from its price at the time, and reiterated the claim in May 2019 after its price had dropped 29%. This was widely ridiculed for years. Tesla’s price reached her target on a split-adjusted basis two years early in January 2021. Tesla is now 50% higher than that price target. Wood set new higher price targets in 2020. In November 2020, she stated she believed bitcoin could reach a price of $500,000.

Cathie Wood and Ark Invest focus on using Wright’s law to forecast innovation adoption, future cost reductions and future profits. Cathie bucked the dominant investment philosophy of just blindly investing in index funds. She and her team created a methodology for quantifying and timing innovative companies and opportunities. Her main ETF ARKK has averaged 40% returns every year for the past five years.

Moore’s Law – named after Gordon Moore for his work in 1965 – focuses on cost as a function of time. Specifically, it states that the number of transistors on a chip would double every two years. Wright’s Law on the other hand forecasts cost as a function of units produced. ARK found that a price forecast based on Wright’s Law was 40% more accurate than one based on Moore’s Law.

Based on Moore’s Law and as shown in the chart, most analysts would conclude that lithium-ion batteries matured by 2005. After two decades of declining roughly 10% on average per year, lithium-ion battery costs flattened out.

The 10% declines pushed the unit-cost of lithium-ion batteries across a critical threshold, enabling the production of electric vehicles at scale. One 200+ mile range electric vehicle has as much battery power as 5,000 iPhones, so if just 1% of auto sales were to convert from gas powered to electric, they would more than double the demand for batteries relative to those required for smartphones globally. Recognizing that batteries were about to hit this tipping point, analysts could have forecasted that the time required for the cumulative doubling of production would drop precipitously and that the decline in costs would reaccelerate.

Wright’s law helps you get towards quarterly stock trading accuracy and underlying trends. You then analyze the actual factories and supply chains for more precision.

As of March 2021, two funds run by Wood were on the list of the 10 largest female-run funds by total net assets.

Link to an other recent interview with Cathie Wood which cannot be embedded.

Özlem Türeci

Özlem Türeci, co-founder of German company BioNTech. Özlem and her husband, and Ugur Sahin, developing the first COVID-19 vaccine. Clearly, this work impacted the course of the global COVID pandemic of the last two years.

Jennifer Doudna – Gene Editing

Jennifer Doudna, co-founder Editas and Intellia and Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry. Jennifer was critical in the development of the revolutionary CRISPR gene editing processes. She helped create two multi-billion dollar companies. She has had repeated business success and has personally been driving a major scientific advance.

Gwynn Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX

In 1988, Shotwell began work at the El Segundo research center of The Aerospace Corporation, and did technical work on military space research and development contracts. During a ten-year tenure, she worked in thermal analysis. Shotwell worked in both space systems engineering and project management positions.

She left The Aerospace Corporation in 1998 to become director of the space systems division at Microcosm Inc. She served on the executive committee and was responsible for business development.

Shotwell left Microcosm in 2002 to join SpaceX, a private, commercial, space exploration company founded by Elon Musk in the same year. Shotwell was promoted to company president following her role in the successful negotiation of the first Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA in December 2008, which was enabled by SpaceX’s first successful launch of the Falcon 1 on its fourth attempt earlier in the year.

SpaceX now dominates commercial space launch and is leading the low earth orbit mass-produced communication satellite trend with Starlink.

Decades from now the financial history books will mention Cathie Wood and Lisa Su. Decades and centuries from now the science and technology history books will mention Shotwell, Doudna and Özlem Türeci. If SpaceX succeeds in getting cities on Mars and the Moon then Shotwell will get mentioned in all general history books for all time.

SOURCES- Ark Invest, Wikipedia
Written by Brian Wang,