Whenever I write about immigration, I hear heart-wrenching stories of computer workers who are unemployed and facing severe hardship. I get bombarded in the comments sections, on Twitter, and via email. Some people get so angry and xenophobic that they threaten me with violence. Their argument is that if there were indeed a shortage of talent, there would no unemployment in the technology industry; that technology companies are making false claims of shortages just so that they can hire cheaper foreign workers. (more…)
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) results are an important assessment criterion for business-school applications. The higher the GMAT score, the better the odds of gaining admission. A study in the Journal of Business Ethics makes the surprising finding that high GMAT scores may be correlated to some of the negative traits of American business: lack of ethical orientation, male domination of executive ranks, uncertainty avoidance, and individualism. What’s more, GMAT scores may be inversely correlated with entrepreneurship. (more…)
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; products with great potential are killed because they could threaten the company’s core products. (more…)
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 as its viscosity and sulfur content. Zolezzi likely could have made billions by perfecting these.
But then, in 2009, he read that the United Nations was discussing a resolution to make access to clean drinking water a basic human right—just like the right to food and freedom. When Zolezzi started researching the issue, he learned that 884 million people were without access to safe drinking water and that 1.5 million children under five years old die each year as a result of water- and sanitation-related diseases. Waterborne viruses are the leading cause of disease and death around the world—taking an annual toll of more than 3.4 million lives. (more…)
Many people are fearful that the future will be one of shortages and scarcity and that because of a burgeoning population and dwindling resources, our future is grim.
This couldn’t be further from reality. This is the most innovative period in human history. Technology is advancing so rapidly that soon we will be able to solve some of humanity’s grand challenges. Imagine a world with unlimited food, water, and energy — in which we prevent disease rather than cure it and in which our lifespans increase along with our wisdom and knowledge. This is what is possible, not in future centuries, but in the next two decades. (more…)
My greatest disappointment after joining academia was to see my most promising students accept jobs at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey. Engineering students with ambitions to save the world would instead become financial analysts—who used their skills to “engineer” our financial system. Or they would take grunt jobs in management consulting—another waste of valuable talent.
Why would they sell their souls? Because they had no choice, the burden of debt they amassed while getting their degrees was just too great. They had six-figure student loans to repay and couldn’t take the risk of joining a startup or founding their own business. (more…)
I used to believe that clearing up the skilled-immigrant backlog and creating a startup visa should be Congress’s top legislative priorities. This is what I focused on in my book, “Immigrant Exodus”. If you had told me a documentary could shift my mindset, I would have said you were crazy. That was before I watched “Documented” – a film that made me realize there is a piece of legislation even more desperately in need of passage: the DREAM Act.
There are an estimated 1.8 million children in the U.S. who could be classified as “illegal aliens”, according to the Immigration Policy Center. They didn’t knowingly break any laws. Their parents brought them to this country to give them a better future. These “DREAMers” as they are called, grew up as Americans, believing they were entitled to the same rights and freedoms as their friends. But, because they don’t have the proper paperwork, they are forced to live in the shadows of society—as second-class human beings with limits on where they can work and study, and what they can do. Until recently, they would also fear being rounded up in the middle of the night to be deported to a land that they don’t even remember.
This is unconscionable in a country that prides itself on being a champion of human rights. (more…)
When the White House hypes a technology, it’s time to worry. In his Feb. State of the Union address, the President said 3D printing will “revolutionize the way we make almost everything”. He described this as the future of manufacturing. The popular media is increasingly touting 3D printing’s potential (there’s even talk of it going mainstream). Expectations are so high for digital fabrication technology that disappointment is inevitable. We will surely see Star Trek-like replicators and large-scale 3D manufacturing plants one day. But this won’t be until sometime in the next decade. So, let’s all calm down, take a page from comedian Larry David and curb our enthusiasm.
I worry that because of the excess hype, 3D printing will soon suffer the same backlash as solar energy and electric cars. (more…)
I was 33 years old when I became an entrepreneur. I had developed a revolutionary technology at First Boston, a New York-based investment bank, and IBM offered to invest $20 million in it—provided that we spun the technology off into a new company. I was asked to take the job of chief technology officer.
I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family, and I had no entrepreneurial aspirations. I had a wife and two children to support. Taking this position would entail relinquishing a great job that paid a hefty six-figure salary, for a startup that could easily go out of business—and didn’t pay as well. So it wasn’t an easy decision. Nonetheless, I took the plunge. (more…)