The chilling effect Peter Thiel’s battle with Gawker could have on Silicon Valley journalism

Gawker infringes on privacy and publishes tabloid-like stories that damage reputations. It is one of the most sensationalist and objectionable media outlets in the country. It also has not been kind to me. So it’s not a company that I would expect to be defending. But I worry that the battle that billionaire Peter Thiel has clandestinely been waging against it will be damaging to Silicon Valley by furthering...

Technology and the growing economic divide

Yelp Eat24 customer-support representative Talia Jane recently wrote a heart-wrenching blog about the difficulties she faced in living on her meager salary. “So here I am, 25 years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week”, she wrote.  Her situation was so dire that, on one occasion, she could not even come up with the...

Why Facebook and Marc Andreessen misunderstood India—and inadvertently started a revolt

Facebook is being compared to the treacherous East India Company, and director Marc Andreessen is being accused of being anti-Indian, a racist, and worse.  It won’t surprise me if Indian activists launch a “Quit India” movement to expel Facebook from India, modelled on Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts against the British in 1942. All of this is because of a failed effort by Facebook to provide Internet access...

Financial Times: From chiefs to critics and cartoonists, ten men worth emulating

By Carola Hoyos and Rhymer Rigby Trying to compile a list of great male feminists is a bit like to trying to come up with a list of the 10 best songs ever. You draw up a longlist, send it to well-informed people, take their suggestions on board, draw up another longlist and fillet it down. Inevitably, it is subjective and will not please everyone. Some will be shocked by omissions, others by inclusions. Rather...

Indian immigrants make it obvious that the American dream is alive and well

They have funny accents, wear strange outfits, and eat really spicy food, and some wear turbans.  Indian-Americans constitute less than 1% of the U.S. population.  Yet you will find them at the helm of great companies such as Pepsico and Mastercard; as presidents and deans of America’s most prestigious colleges; at the pinnacles of journalism; dominating fields such as technology, scientific research, and...

Why calling Asian Americans a model minority glosses over crucial issues

Asians Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing racial group in the United States; their population is expected to double to more than 47 million by 2060. Yet the needs of these communities are rarely discussed,because AAPIs, in the aggregate, are also the highest-income and best-educated ethnic groups in the United States. A common perception is that they are the model minority: the doctors,...

Why I am stepping out of the debate on women in technology

I started advocating for women in engineering in 2006 when my dean at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, Kristina Johnson, made me aware of the declining numbers of women entering the field. As a former tech entrepreneur, I found the situation alarming. I had spent the last few years researching how education, immigration, and entrepreneurship drive innovation. The fact that half of our population was being...

My response to the podcast that unfairly attacked me

There is a new controversy brewing about whether a man should be allowed to comment on the challenges that women in technology face. A podcast on WNYC’s TLDR blog site raised issue with my being quoted in a cover story in Newsweek about Silicon Valley’s sexism. The podcast, which was removed Wednesday, by WNYC, made many false assertions about my intentions and values. It was extremely hurtful and damaging....

Why I’m confident that the tech industry is fixing its diversity quagmire

When Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, commented that women should have faith in the system to give them the raises they deserve, he knew he had misspoken. His words at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, last October, caused immediate outrage. In an e-mail exchange with me after he left the stage, he wrote: “I just gave a wrong and terrible answer to the question today. I blew...

Venture capital takes a step in the right direction on diversity

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) announced Monday the formation of a task force to help its members increase opportunities for women and minorities. On the surface, this looks like just another news release by an industry under fire; but I think there is much more to it. The NVCA is providing true leadership and challenging its members to clean up their act. I have long been critical of the venture-capital...

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...

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,...