My articles and research on ‘Public policy’

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...

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...

We’re heading into a jobless future, no matter what the government does

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers revived a debate I’d had with futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 about the jobless future. He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history of scarcity to an era of abundance. Then he noted that the technologies that make such abundance possible are allowing production of far more output using...

Indian IT Is A Boys Club Like Silicon Valley–But There Is More Hope

This is a piece I wrote at for Times of India which compares and contrasts Indian IT to Silicon Valley. Sadly, Indian IT is as sexist as the Valley is. But the tide is rising in India. When I moved to Silicon Valley from Pakistan, I did not expect that people would be so surprised my cofounder Sabika Nazim is a woman” said Faizan Buzdar, CEO of Convo.  He was also in disbelief at the public battles I have...

Washington Post: Come on, Silicon Valley, you can do better than this

A new messaging app, called Yo, has created a sensation in Silicon Valley.  It is being hailed as the next big thing. The amazing breakthrough?  Sending the word “Yo” to a contact with just one click. This app received justifiable ridicule from Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert and many others.  But some technology industry moguls are taking it seriously.  Marc Andreessen wrote on Twitter that...

Bloomberg TV: What’s Next for Tech on Immigration Reform?

June 11 (Bloomberg) — Stanford University Fellow Vivek Wadhwa discusses the impact of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss on the tech industry. Wadhwa speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.”  With Emily Chang   ...

Washington Post: Chile teaches the world a lesson about innovation

Chile launched a grand innovation experiment in 2010: it paid foreign entrepreneurs to come and visit for six months. It offered them $40,000 plus free office space, Internet access, mentoring, and networking. And, by the way, they would get to live in one of the most beautiful places on this planet, where housing was relatively cheap and corruption and crime were almost nonexistent. All Chile asked in return...

Bloomberg TV Market Makers on Silicon Valley’s gender gap

June 3 (Bloomberg) –Stanford University Fellow Vivek Wadhwa discusses the Silicon Valley gender gap on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg) With Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker ...

Google, Silicon Valley must do more to hire female engineers

The technology industry has been fighting hard not to reveal race and gender diversity data — especially for its engineering teams — because it has a lot to be embarrassed about.  Data collected on Github showed that the percentage of female engineers at Qualcomm’s development center in Austin was 5.5 percent. At Dropbox it’s 6.3 percent, at Yelp 8.3 percent, at Airbnb 13.2 percent and 14.4 percent...

PBS Newshour: Google’s diversity record shows women and minorities left behind

In a new internal report released exclusively to the NewsHour, Google reveals that women and minorities have been largely left behind in their tech workforce. The disclosure comes amid increasing pressure for Silicon Valley companies to disclose their records on diversity. Gwen Ifill talks to Google’s Laszlo Bock, Vivek Wadhwa of Stanford University and Telle Whitney of the Anita Borg Institute. RELATED Google...

PBS Newshour: Fixing Google’s gender gap shouldn’t be so hard

“I agree we need to have a team that understands the product needs of more than just the young male user, but we just can’t find them,” said Ankur Jain at the first board meeting of his startup Humin in May 2013. This is the same explanation that all Silicon Valley companies — both large and small — provide, to justify their dearth of women technologists. RELATED CONTENT I advised the Humin...