Life and Success Require Constant Reinvention

I still remember the first time I heard about computers. They were straight out of science fiction. I began to dream about working with them. Then I got my big chance. I enrolled in one of the first courses in computer technology at what is now the University of Canberra. I couldn’t imagine doing anything but writing computer code for a living. And that is what I did for the first ten years of my career. Then...

Washington Post: Tesla’s success is a victory for anyone who loves the environment

When designing the Tesla Model S, Elon Musk wanted an electric motor that had the same horsepower as the most powerful internal combustion engine but with nearly-instantaneous torque. And he wanted it to be the size of a watermelon. Engine manufacturers told him this couldn’t be done. So the Tesla CEO decided to build his own motor. The earlier versions of this had a hand-wound stator which increased winding...

Washington Post: The future of work is rich in technology and drawbacks

We check e-mail as soon as we reach home, and sneak a peek at our inboxes along the way. We respond to calls, texts, and messages even while on vacation. At work, we use Cisco Telepresence or Skype to confer with colleagues all over the world. Companies often allow employees to work from home for one or two days a week; some let them live in remote locations. This has all become the norm. A decade ago, we...

LinkedIn: Chinese Can Innovate–But China Can’t

The Economist asked me to comment on a debate about whether China can innovate. Here is my response. Feel free to weigh in below and vote on Economist’s website. China produces more than a million engineering graduates a year—which is seven times as many as America. It is second in academic publications to America and by 2015 will file more patents annually than America. China has already invested...

VentureBeat: Twitter unrepentant about being a boys club (Silicon Valley doesn’t seem to care either)

Twitter proved this week a point that I have long been making: that Silicon Valley is a boys club — a fraternity of the worst kind — stacking the deck against women, overlooking blacks and Hispanics, and providing unfair advantage to an elite connected few who have learnt the Valley’s rules of engagement and mastered them. My spat last weekend with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also shows the extent...

Times of India: Affordable tablets will give the poor a voice

Watching the news from India, one could easily conclude that the country has become more corrupt and that its men have become more violent. Sadly, corruption and abuse of women aren’t new to India. Corruption is a legacy of the British Raj. Women all over the world are abused. What has changed is the ability of India’s normally docile middle class and its youth to speak up and demand change. That is what...

Washington Post: Microsoft’s best hope after Ballmer? A breakup.

During its monopoly days, Microsoft was the tech industry’s greatest magnet for talent. It was able to hire the best of the best. Many of those geniuses are still with the company. My former students and friends who work at Microsoft tell me that they love the company, but are stifled by its bureaucracy, turf wars and central planning. Big ideas get quashed because they don’t fit into the corporate vision;...

Wall Street Journal: A Lesson From Chile

Alfredo Zolezzi, of Advanced Innovation Center in Chile, had spent the early part of his career creating products for the oil industry. He had achieved great success as an entrepreneur by developing technology that enhanced the recovery of oil from abandoned oil wells using high-frequency, high-powered ultrasound waves. He had ideas for new technologies that could reduce the cost of refining heavy oil as well...

Wall Street Journal: Corruption in Business and the Importance of Ethics

I once needed to negotiate an important deal with potential significance for my products. An official at the company I was dealing with demanded that I give his spouse stock in my firm in return for his support. A stock gift could have led to millions in sales. If I declined, we would lose the business opportunity. I was totally dumbfounded. In other parts of the world, propositions like this one are common...

TIME Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech

Vivek Wadhwa, Singularity University By Sam Gustin @samgustin Vivek Wadhwa has become a leading voice in debates over technology policy, particularly with respect to entrepreneurship, innovation and immigration. Wadhwa holds academic appointments at Singularity University, Stanford University, and Duke University, and last year was named to Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. An...

How To Go From Being a Disaster—To a Great Speaker

When I saw my son Tarun forget his lines and freeze up on the big stage at the 2011 Economist Ideas Economy: Information Summit, my heart sank. I wanted to rush up and give him a big hug and say “it’s okay son, it wasn’t a big deal, don’t worry about it”. Tarun had worked day and night to be prepared for his first big talk. He memorized every word of a 12-minute long presentation. And then he forgot...

Washington Post: Not happy at your job? Your company is paying for it in innovation potential.

A Nov. 2011 paper from European Union-backed academic institution evoREG makes the case that happiness is both integral to the innovation process and oddly enough simultaneously misunderstood. The authors find happiness to be both an input factor as well as an output factor of the innovation process. In other words, happiness leads to more innovation, and when directed properly, innovation creates more...