The Michigan Engineer News Center

Steve Mollenkopf: What it takes to lead in technology

Steve Mollenkopf is the President and COO of Qualcomm and talked about the company's current projects.| Short Read
EnlargeSteve Mollenkopf











Steve Mollenkopf (MSE EE ’93), President and COO of Qualcomm, Incorporated, is clearly excited about the future of the company he has worked at for nearly two decades. Students and faculty packed 1303 EECS (some standing through the entire talk) to hear him talk about the 3 big things Qualcomm is currently working on, what he considers to be the most important lessons he’s learned so far, and answer their many questions. He returned to campus October 4, 2013 as the 2013 College of Engineering ECE Alumni Merit Award winner.

Following the official talk, we asked Mr. Mollenkopf a few quick questions, and recorded his answers:

Everything is easy unless it’s mobile,” said Mr. Mollenkopf during his talk to faculty and students. He believes that mobile is the most challenging design environment due to the need for extreme power efficiency and performance within a thermal envelope. Here are a few additional excepts from his talk to faculty, staff, and students:

The 3 big things Qualcomm is working on (watch the entire talk to hear him explain each):

1. Redefining computing – “we are trying to make everything a smart phone”

2. The 1000X data challenge – densification

3. Digital 6th sense – your cell phone can evolve into something like a 6th sense.

Lessons Learned (watch the entire talk to hear him explain each):

-Embrace uncertainty

-Take risks

-Collective brainpower

-Spirit of the people


-Be authentic



-Surround yourself with people who love to compete

-Chess not checkers

-Most people are self limiting (don’t ask permission to do what you should have already done)

-Make sure you’re working with good people who are ethical

To close the talk, Mr. Mollenkopf correctly predicted the outcome of the game, but we leave the details as to how he made his prediction to the memories of those who were there. Go Blue!

Steve Mollenkopf
Portrait of Catharine June


Catharine June
ECE Communications and Marketing Manager

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

(734) 936-2965

3301 EECS

The outside of the Ford Robotics building

U-Michigan, Ford open world-class robotics complex

The facility will accelerate the future of advanced and more equitable robotics and mobility | Medium Read