Vivek Wadhwa

  Tech Entrepreneur, Academic, Researcher, and Writer

Why I’m pleasantly surprised with Obama’s immigration plan

I had expected — or feared — that President Obama would once again let Silicon Valley down with his executive order on immigration. But he hasn’t. The president has done practically everything in his power to address the needs of the technology community. The larger problem is that this is a only band-aid. What is worse is that this will likely be the only immigration reform we see in the near future....

Uber’s legacy hangs in the balance: Digital robber baron or respectable innovator?

Uber, the leading ridesharing company, has earned the distinction of becoming one of the most hated companies in the technology industry. One of its executives, Emil Michael, recently suggested to a large dinner gathering that his company should allocate $1 million to dig up dirt on reporters who were criticizing it. Last month, it tried to entice riders in Lyon, France, with ads pitching free pickups from...

My INK Talk: Why India shouldn’t be succeeding — but is about to experience an innovation boom

When I started researching India’s engineering education in 2005, my first conclusion was that Indian I.T. was doomed. The country was barely graduating enough engineers to staff this growing industry. The quality of engineers that India’s universities graduated was also inconsistent, and most were unemployable. To make matters worse, India graduated hardly any engineering PhDs—so there wasn’t much...

This Indian start-up could disrupt health care with its powerful and affordable diagnostic machine

Frustrated at the lack of interest by the medical establishment in reducing the costs of diagnostic testing, and seeing almost no chance of getting the necessary research grants, Kanav Kahol returned home to New Delhi in 2011. He was a member of Arizona State University’s department of biomedical informatics. Kahol had noted that despite the similarities between most medical devices in their computer displays...

Snapdeal—the flourishing company America passed on—offers a lesson about immigration reform

After graduating from Wharton in 2007, Kunal Bahl wanted to become an entrepreneur. He couldn’t get a visa, so he had to return home to India. He started SnapDeal in February 2010 with the ambition of building India’s Groupon. Then he saw an even greater opportunity—to turn SnapDeal into India’s Amazon.com. Snapdeal already has more than 25 million customers and sells goods from 50,000 merchants. With...

Why baby boomers are an important part of technology’s future

Steve Jobs was 52 when he announced the iPhone. That was in 2007. Years later, the Apple co-founder introduced the MacBook Air, App Store and iPad. Tim Cook, who was 51 when he took over from Jobs, is building on his legacy. They both shattered a myth that the young rule the technology industry. Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists, however, speak openly of their bias toward the young. “People under 35 are...

Silicon Valley must join the Ebola battle before it becomes a matter of survival

Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a donation of $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundationto help fight Ebola.  He noted that the Ebola epidemic has infected 8,400 people so far and could infect one million people or more if not addressed immediately. Zuckerberg’s involvement is an important step forward for the technology industry, and with a bit of luck, this disaster will be averted. But...

Move over, humans, the robocars are coming

My prediction is that in fewer than 15 years, we will be debating whether human beings should be allowed to drive on highways. After all, we are prone to road rage; rush headlong into traffic jams; break rules; get distracted; and crash into each other. That is why our automobiles need tank-like bumper bars and military-grade crumple zones. And it is why we need speed limits and traffic police. Self-driving...

The glaring gender dilemma Silicon Valley venture capitalists are hiding from

The dominoes are falling in Silicon Valley: technology companies releasing their diversity data, apologizing for the sins of the past, and promising to do better. I know from my meetings with executives of Google and Facebook that they are dead serious; that this isn’t just a marketing campaign. They are looking into the sources of the conscious and subconscious bias that has led to the exclusion of women,...

Silly Apps Aren’t the Future of Tech

The contenders in the 2014 TechCrunch Disrupt included a startup that seeks to change the way in which diseases are diagnosed, a medical-grade health scanner, a platform to connect innovators with scientists and a suite of business-intelligence tools for conservation and drought planning. Sadly, the winner was a simple app for the elite: Alfred Club. This allows you to hire someone to do everyday chores such...

MSNBC: Why women entrepreneurs are the future of tech

The world has many problems to solve. Billions live without reliable energy and lack adequate access to water, healthcare, and education. More people die from lack of clean water than from war. Our food system, the primary source of income for billions, must grow to meet the needs of another two billion people. Poverty is endemic. These are some of humanity’s grand challenges. The good news is that solutions...

The coming era of unlimited—and free—clean energy

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones.  McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant.  It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out.  McKinsey was wrong, of course.  There were more than 100 million...