Vivek Wadhwa

  Tech Entrepreneur, Academic, Researcher, and Writer

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...

My Big Think Interview: Closing the Silicon Valley Gender Gap

by BIG THINK EDITORS SEPTEMBER 8, 2014, 12:00 PM Vivek Wadhwa boasts quite the résumé. He is a fellow at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and a distinguished fellow at Singularity University. Wadhwa is also the author of a new book about Silicon Valley’s glaring gender...

Innovating Women book release and a public message to the people I have been criticizing

Here is the link to our website for more information about Innovating Women. A few years ago, if you had asked me if there was discrimination in Silicon Valley, I would have asked you what planet you were from. I believed it to be the greatest meritocracy—the most open, inclusive, and diverse place on Earth. That was until I came to the Valley and attended my first TechCrunch conference. It felt as if I had...

It’s a beautiful time to be alive and educated

This is a commencement address I gave at Hult International Business School August 22, 2014. I grew up watching Star Trek and believing that by the time I became an adult we would all be using communicators, replicators, tricorders, and transporters. I was optimistic that the world would be a much better place: that we would have solved humanity’s problems and be exploring new worlds. That’s why my first...

Washington Post: Why teaching grandmothers to code isn’t a crazy idea

American businesses are ageing, as is the country; and this is bad for the economy, say Ian Hathaway and Robert Litan, of The Brookings Institution. They report that the share of older firms, aged 16 years or more, has increased from 23 percent in 1992 to 34 percent in 2011. Startups have become a smaller proportion of the economy, going from 15 percent to 8 percent. This is worrisome because young companies...

Wall Street Journal: Part 2, Changing Silicon Valley’s Frat Boy Culture

When I started writing about the gender disparity I saw in Silicon Valley, I took intense fire from the boys club. I received a barrage of hate mail, immature online chatter and personal attacks on me over Twitter. A handful of prominent investors called my writings garbage; one called me a loser and a fraud. They could get away with this because such frat-boy behavior was considered acceptable in Silicon Valley. But...

Wall Street Journal: Part 1, Inside Silicon Valley’s Boys Club

A few years ago, if you had asked me about Silicon Valley’s gender imbalance, I would have wondered what planet you were from. I believed it was a perfect meritocracy that was open and diverse. My research had documented that the majority of Silicon Valley’s startups were founded by immigrants and that powerful and inclusive networks gave it a global advantage. That was until I moved to Silicon Valley and...

Why we should believe the dreamers—not the experts

History is littered with the failed predictions of experts. Yet governments hire high-paid consultants to advise on policy; businesses use them to vet research and development projects; and venture capitalists have them make investment decisions.  Experts excel in looking backwards, protecting their turf, and saying what their clients want to hear. Their short-term predictions are sometimes right, but they...