Translating a Technical Invention ...


I rarely use this forum to discuss the Agency’s work.

Today, I’m making an exception.

We’ve been preparing to launch a start-up venture called SuVolta.

What does SuVolta make?

Another product that fits under the social networking umbrella?

A web infrastructure play?

Not exactly.

SuVolta has invented a technology that greatly reduces the amount of power consumed by transistors (which make up integrated circuits). Equally important, the SuVolta technology can be applied within the current semiconductor manufacturing infrastructure.

As you would expect, the science behind the technology is not for the squeamish with slides such as the following providing context.

SuVolta Blog

Got that?

Good. I thought so.

While plenty of technical materials were prepared for the announcement, SuVolta bought into the idea of shaping a story that could be understood by all media, not just Electronic Engineering Times.

With this in mind, we crafted a news release with the headline:

SuVolta Emerges from Stealth mode with Game-changing Technology to Reduce Power Consumption in Digital Products

We figured if Intel can use revolutionary in its 3-D transistor release, SuVolta has the proof points to support “game-changing.”

Now look at the initial graphs in the news release:

LOS GATOS, Calif. – June 6, 2011 – SuVolta, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company previously in stealth mode, today announced its PowerShrink™ low-power platform, a technology that reduces the power consumed by electronic chips by 50 percent or more while maintaining the same performance levels.

Reducing power consumption is generally regarded as the biggest challenge in chip design today, a problem which limits the functionality and battery lifetime in portable products including smartphones, tablets and notebooks.

SuVolta tackled the power problem at the heart of electronic systems by addressing the physics behind transistor variation.

Left up to me, I probably would have simply said “the physics behind the transistor” but that’s a quibble.

The point is, you don’t need to be Nathan Myhrvold to understand the story and why it’s significant.

This storytelling mentality also came through in the briefings with journalists, industry analysts, and other influencers.

SuVolta’s executives understood it wasn’t just about the core technology. They shared stories about the creation of the company, things that didn’t go according to plan, and how it felt when the breakthrough was achieved.

We discussed different stories.

We didn’t script different stories.

The payoff came in media coverage ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Reuters to GigaOm.

Kudos the SuVolta team (SuVolta MARCOM + Agency) which kept pushing and pushing to rise out of the technical weeds.

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