My articles and research on ‘Venture Capital’

7 admirable start-ups that are driving social change

A standing joke in Silicon Valley is that the smartest people go into online advertising, virtual currency, or dumb online games. And you surely have to wonder what has gone wrong when the industry’s heavy hitters and venture capitalists provide $1.5 million to seed a useless app such as Yo. Fortunately, there are many tech start-ups that are solving real problems — and many entrepreneurs who care. The venture...

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...

Banning drones won’t solve the problem

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released a report detailing more than 190 safety incidents involving drones and commercial aircraft. In response, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has vowed to push legislation that would crack down on the commercial use of drones, also called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). India’s Directorate General for Civil Aviation has already banned all use of drones...

In defense of college: What Peter Thiel gets wrong, once again.

In a Washington Post opinion piece, billionaire Peter Thiel asserts that college is the final stage of a competitive tournament in which kids at the top enjoy prestige because they’ve defeated everybody else. He claims that college education is a bubble and doesn’t provide more value than an insurance policy; that the college admissions process is all that is important because it anoints an “already-proven...

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...

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,...

A $32,000 Startup That Was Sold for Millions

I meet entrepreneurs all over the world who think that venture capital is a prerequisite for starting a company.  They write business plans and ask for introductions to venture capitalists.  I tell them that they should instead bootstrap their startups; that what would have cost millions of dollars a few years ago now costs thousands. Think about it.  Today’s laptops have the same processing power as the...

Washington Post: Google — not Goldman Sachs — deserves our best minds

Collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and structured investment vehicles are some of the greatest innovations created by the financial industry in recent times. What did this get us? Subprime loans, the housing bubble, and the financial meltdown.  And with high-frequency trading and other technology gimmicks that investment banks are increasingly using to skim money off the top of stock trading...

Wall Street Journal: Silicon Valley Has a Code Name for Sexism & Racism

On the surface, Silicon Valley looks like the perfect meritocracy. Half its startups are founded by immigrants. You see people from all over the world collaborating and competing. And race and religion are no barriers to success. But when you look closer, you begin to notice something strange: that, with a couple of notable exceptions, women are rarely found in the executive ranks of tech companies. The...

WSJ: Don’t Confuse Investors with Mentors

Entrepreneurship is like a computer game in which you have to master every level before achieving success. Startups repeatedly stumble and have to go back to the drawing board. The best way to skip some levels and to increase the odds of survival is to learn from others who have already played the game. That is the value that mentors provide and the reason why you need to start building relationships with people...