For Nathan Zeldes, teaching is a very personal thing. That is why, in over 25 years of lecturing, he’s never agreed to present material written by somebody else; his handcrafted lectures all derive from his unique experience and personal thinking. His distinctive perspective on technology and behavior, coupled with a sense of humor and excellent audience rapport, have made him a sought after speaker in conferences and corporate events in Israel and abroad.
Nathan has a diverse range of fascinating lectures – and if you have a subject he finds intriguing, you may convince him to craft a new one just for your audience!
Topic: Technological Innovation
Sure, Innovation is all the rage in today’s business world… but how do you bring it about? This fast-paced lecture uses examples from the fascinating history of computing in the past 2000 years to illustrate, from an original angle, central lessons for enabling Innovation in ourselves and among those we manage.
As an avid researcher of computing history, and a key player in Intel’s IT Innovation and Research group, Nathan Zeldes brings a unique point of view to this lecture. He examines selected chapters from the lives of luminaries such as Pascal, Babbage, Turing, and Von Neumann; and shows why some of them succeeded while others failed to realize the vision that led them to implement groundbreaking computing innovations. In so doing, he teaches his audience key insights of significance to driving successful innovation at both the individual and organizational scope.
In a tragically short life Alan Turing had laid the foundations for today’s Computer Science. His inquisitive mind gave us breakthroughs in computability, artificial intelligence, computer design and programming – all before computers have come to exist; and his code-breaking work on the German Enigma played a key role in securing the outcome of WWII. Even more fascinating, his philosophical contributions to our understanding of the mind as a conscious computer had revolutionized philosophy to an extent similar to that of Charles Darwin’s work.
Nathan Zeldes is a passionate student of computer history, and as curator of the Alan Turing Year exhibition at the Jerusalem Science Museum he is in a unique position to study Turing’s work and legacy. This lecture draws on this study, and on a deep admiration for the misunderstood genius who taught us that we should look at the computer and see the reflection of our mind. The lecture surveys Turing’s life and contributions to science, technology, and the philosophy of mind. These achievements are contrasted with the tragic persecution and death that had finally cut them short.
Lecture details (Hebrew)
What did the ancient Babylonians, Greeks and Romans have in common with the scientists of the modern age? Why, they all created innovative computing hardware!
Combining his expertise in information technology with his passion for the history of computing, Nathan Zeldes takes his audience on a kaleidoscopic journey from prehistory to the present day, examining groundbreaking ideas, technologies, and the men and women who made them a reality.
What adds to this lecture’s attraction is that it exposes the “dark side” that the official histories often hide: the hardships, the intrigue, the politics, the quarrels – and, triumphing nevertheless, the innovators’ unrelenting drive to give the world machines that can relieve humans of the drudgery of computation. You could call this a lecture about Innovation, or about History, or about the Sociology of technological progress… either way, it never fails to fascinate!
Lecture details (Hebrew)
The concept of intelligent machines has fascinated people for centuries, but it was the arrival of the computer that made it relevant to our lives. The full philosophical significance of the computer / brain analogy is only beginning to dawn on us, yet computer power grows exponentially and is projected to exceed the collective brainpower of humanity in a few decades. The concept of the resulting “Technological Singularity” poses dramatic questions for the future of humankind, placing visions of man/machine integration, extreme lifespan extension, and the emergence of super-intelligence within the scope of serious, if speculative, scientific thought.
This lecture surveys the development of intelligent machines from the automatons of the 18th century through Alan Turing’s ground breaking work in the 20th to the present day; discusses progress in man/machine interfaces; and presents the concept of the Singularity with its astounding ramifications for the near and far future.
Topic: Knowledge Worker Productivity
Everyone suffers from Information Overload. Not everyone realizes it can be solved.
Nathan Zeldes does. He was possibly the first person to identify runaway IO as a threat to productivity and quality of life. Since 1995 he’s developed multiple solutions, exchanged insight with scores of organizations worldwide, and passionately led the battle to restore balance to the workplace. He is the founder and president of the worldwide Information Overload Research Group.
In this lecture he summarizes the research about information overload, and shows the ROI for solving it. He then describes some of the solutions developed at the few companies that have positioned themselves as leaders in this field. Many companies are in denial as to their ability to solve this issue, and this lecture aims to trigger a change by showing people that solutions are both possible and necessary. As a bonus, Nathan shares practical personal strategies for improving your own coping with the flood entering your Inbox. If you take away even a fraction of what you hear, this could become the best spent hour of your career!
The usual discussion of information flow alternates between “Knowledge is power, the more the better”, and “Help! We’re drowning in Information Overload!” – and often, absurdly, both at once. What is missing in this rather shallow conversation is attention to the fact that the same batch of information can be of completely different value to different people, to different organizations, and even to the same person at different times, places and circumstances.
In this lecture Nathan Zeldes, a veteran Knowledge Work expert, takes an original look at this subject. He reviews all the ways in which the value of information to its creators and consumers can be assessed, looking at criteria like usage model, connectivity, redundancy, searchability, cultural context, and more. He explains why there definitely is a thing like too much information, end points out what organizations should do to optimize their information and IT strategies to maximize user value and thereby the bottom line.
Lecture details (Hebrew)
Topic: People Development
Originally commissioned for a course for student-entrepreneurs at Tel Aviv university, this unusual lecture takes the audience on a deeply personal voyage through Nathan’s career as a perennial change agent driving radical new ideas from the inside in a number of large organizations.
The lecture provides insightful guidance on how to be an internal entrepreneur, succeed at it and survive – even flourish – to tell the tale. It generalizes principles and best practices from numerous fascinating “war stories”, teaching the audience how to recruit support for unconventional ideas, how to deal with opposition, how to secure funding, how to empower an entrepreneurial spirit in one’s group, and how to navigate one’s career for long term success in this mode.
Contact Nathan for lecture details and customization.
Engineers are the most precious asset a tech company has. And the most neglected.
Every organization has a career ladder for managers; few also have one for those professionals who don’t have the desire (or the aptitude) to manage people. The outcome is that engineers feel compelled to switch to managerial roles in order to advance; the organization thus loses excellent engineers and converts them into frustrated mediocre managers. This can undermine the engineers’ self-image, damage the professional excellence of the entire engineering group, and ultimately impact the company’s competitive advantage.
The lecture will present the issues, needs and solutions related to nurturing a professional career path in a hi-tech environment, drawing on the speaker’s rich experience as a senior engineer who had successfully led the implementation of this concept in a group of thousands of employees at Intel corporation. In parallel, it will outline the significance of the Engineering profession and clarify how engineers can assume personal responsibility for driving their career forward to the benefit of themselves and their organization.
Topic: Social Networks and Web 2.0
What will you do when your Gen Y employees start using their personal Facebook or Twitter accounts for, at and during their work?
Social Media represent a huge potential for improving your business; but the risks are outright scary. Many managers view the new social norms with serious misgivings, uncertain how to harness the potential while controlling the risks. Some companies even try to ban the new technology, unaware of the heavy price they’ll pay for remaining behind.
In this fascinating lecture Nathan Zeldes, the visionary who personally drove successful Internet adoption at Intel, examines the concerns many managers have, outlines the real risks and the irrational fears, and puts them all in perspective in light of the potential benefits. Using his experience of the past and a clear vision of the future, he outlines the safe path to empowering the young employees who are poised to use social networking to benefit their employers and themselves alike.
Lecture details (Hebrew)
If you’re in your twenties, you don’t need this lecture: you already have a full grasp of the incredible opportunities Social Networks represent for personal enrichment and plain fun.
If you’re over 40, however…
In this lecture Nathan Zeldes, a longtime Internet champion, explains the phenomenon of Social Networks, introduces the most important ones, and shows his audience how they can personally engage in this exuberant medium and apply it to their hobbies, leisure, personal development, and interaction with their family and friends.
This lecture has been developed for retirement preparation workshops, where it has met with extreme success. For people undergoing the jarring transition into retirement it can make a real difference as it teaches them what the Social Web is all about – and invites them to join the most revolutionary change in human culture since the arrival of the printing press.
Topic: The Microelectronics Industry
Having played a personal part in Intel’s expansion from a small struggling company to a world technology leader, Nathan Zeldes is well positioned to share his personal perspective on what makes the VLSI industry such a strange and unique phenomenon, forever rushing forward under the edict of Moore’s Law and the impact of fierce competition.
In this lecture he provides an introduction to the underlying principles of the incredible technology that fits billions of components on a tiny sliver of Silicon, in a manner accessible to any educated layperson; and then outlines the forces that shape the industry’s breakneck evolution, covering technology, marketing and business causes. A wealth of case studies and personal views gives this seemingly cold subject an unexpected richness.
Lecture details (Hebrew)
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