Vivek Wadhwa

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Vivek Wadhwa
Wadhwa, Vivek.jpg
Born Delhi, India[1]
Residence San Francisco, United States
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Canberra (B.A., 1974)
New York University Stern School of Business (M.B.A., 1986)

Vivek Wadhwa is an American technology entrepreneur and academic.[2] A fellow at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance, a joint initiative of Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, he is President of Innovation and Research at Singularity University and the author of the 2014 book Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Wadhwa graduated from the University of Canberra in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Computing Studies, and from New York University in 1986 with an MBA.[5]


At Credit Suisse First Boston, Wadhwa led the development of a computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tool to develop client-server model software. First Boston spent $150 million on these development efforts. The CASE technology was spun off by First Boston into Seer Technologies in 1990 with an investment of $20 million by IBM.[6] At Seer, Wadhwa was executive VP and chief technology officer. Seer developed tools to build client-server systems.[7] Seer Technologies filed for an IPO in May 1995.[8]

In 1997, Wadhwa founded Relativity Technologies, a company in Raleigh, North Carolina which developed tools for modernizing legacy COBOL programs.[9] He left the company in 2004,[10] and it was sold to Micro Focus in 2008.

After a heart attack, Wadhwa shifted his focus to academic research.[11] Wadhwa is Vice President of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University;[12] an executive-in-residence/adjunct professor at the Masters of Engineering Management Program[13] and Director of Research at the Center for Research Commercialization at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering;[14] a fellow at Stanford University's Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance; and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Halle Institute for Global Learning, at Emory University.[15] He has been a Senior Research Associate at Harvard Law School's Labor and Worklife Program [16] and a visiting professor at the School of Information, at the University of California, Berkeley.[17] He writes a regular column for The Washington Post,[18] Bloomberg BusinessWeek,[19] the American Society of Engineering Education's Prism Magazine,[20][21][22][23] and Forbes, and has written for Foreign Policy[24] and TechCrunch.[25] He is also the author of the 2012 non-fiction book The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent.[26]

Columnist and pundit[edit]

Wadhwa writes a regular column for The Washington Post,[27] Bloomberg BusinessWeek,[28] the American Society for Engineering Education's Prism Magazine,[29] Forbes, Foreign Policy,[30] TechCrunch[31] and The Wall Street Journal.[32] Wadhwa has argued that because of the low numbers of women technology CEOs, there is a problem with the system.[33][34] In September 2014, Wadhwa released Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, a book he co-authored with Farai Chideya.[35] Wadhwa has publicly advocated for more diversity in the technology industry.[36] Wadhwa's research, public debates and articles call for greater inclusion of not only women, but also, African Americans, Hispanics, and older people. An MSNBC article by Alicia Maule on November 14, 2014 quotes Wadhwa as saying "Venture capital is in dismal shape. It produces low returns because it’s been the bastion of the boys club, which is not the model that needs to be followed. You need men and women. African-American and Latino – diversity is a catalyst to innovation.”[37]

Wadhwa has argued, based on his research, that older entrepreneurs tend to be more successful. He has written several articles defending older entrepreneurs and arguing that VCs should invest in them. The articles include: The case for old entrepreneurs,[38] Innovation without Age Limits,[39] When It Comes To Founding Successful Startups, Old Guys Rule[40] and Silicon Valley’s Dark Secret: It’s All About Age.[41]

Wadhwa has researched engineering education in India, China, and the US. He has argued in many articles that US education is superior, and that education is important for US competitiveness. The articles include: Engineering Gap? Fact and Fiction,[42] U.S. Schools Are Still Ahead—Way Ahead[43] and U.S. Schools: Not That Bad.[44]

Wadhwa has argued that higher education is valuable. Alongside Henry Bienen, he debated Peter Thiel, who launched the Thiel Fellowship to provide $100,000 to students who dropped out of college to start up companies, on the merits of higher education. Wadhwa argued against Thiel and Charles Murray at an Intelligence Squared debate in Chicago that was broadcast on NPR stations.[45][46]

Controversy and criticism[edit]

Wadhwa has, on two occasions, argued publicly that Twitter is overly complacent about improving its diversity numbers. On the first occasion, he criticised Twitter for having an all-male board of directors. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo initially refused to comment, but then in a tweet, disparaged Wadhwa by likening him to "the Carrot Top of academic sources".[47] Subsequently, Twitter appointed a woman, Marjorie Scardino, onto its board. On the second occasion, Wadhwa posted a series of tweets critical of Twitter's published diversity numbers (which included 90% of tech roles being filled by men) and the way in which Twitter had framed them, concluding that Twitter "is unrepentant and should be ashamed. Problems start from board and exec management. Must diversify".[48]

Withdrawal from the societal debate on women in technology[edit]

In 2015, Wadhwa was publicly criticized online by some women for the way in which he was speaking on their behalf. One example they used was that at an event, he had used the slang word "floozies"[49][50] when referring to technology companies needing to take hiring women more seriously, in the context of his advocacy for tech companies to include higher-ranking women on interview panels for female candidates. Wadhwa responded to the criticism, writing that he had not known what the word "floozy" meant due to his poor grasp of American slang, as an immigrant, that he had apologized at the event as soon as his misstep was pointed out to him, and that he had lost sleep over this.[51]

Tech blogger Amelia Greenhall published a post entitled "Quiet, Ladies. @wadhwa is speaking now", in which she claimed Wadhwa was an "unwanted spokesman for women in tech [who] has kept actual, qualified women’s voices from being heard widely in the mainstream media."[52] The TLDR podcast, which is produced by an NPR affiliate, interviewed Greenhall about her post. However, TLDR subsequently took down their original podcast episode and apologised for not speaking to Wadhwa about it before publication, and expressed regret for not fact-checking it, after an article by Wadhwa was published alleging that several false claims were made in the original episode, and calling it an "unfair attack".[53] TLDR's next episode was a follow-up which gave Wadhwa a right of reply.[54] However, Gawker's Jay Hathaway opined that "in the process of defending himself, Vivek Wadhwa ended up confirming much of what TL;DR asserted about his attitude".[55]

On February 23, Wadhwa penned a piece in the Washington Post explaining why he would no longer be participating in the debate on women in technology, writing, "I may have made the mistake of fighting the battles of women in technology for too long. And I may have taken the accusations too personally. Today there is a chorus of very powerful, intelligent, voices who are speaking from personal experience. The women who I have written about, who have lived the discrimination and abuse, as well as others, deserve the air time."[56] New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote a subsequent article entitled "An Outspoken Voice for Women in Tech, Foiled by His Tone" which summarized the imbroglio, and quoted Wadhwa and a number of women in technology in relation to it.[49]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1999, Wadhwa was named a "leader of tomorrow" by Forbes magazine.[57]

In February 2012, Wadhwa was one of the six "2012 Outstanding American by Choice" recipients, a distinction awarded by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.[58]

In December 2012, Wadhwa was recognized by Foreign Policy magazine as a Top 100 Global Thinker.[59]

In June 2013, Wadhwa was named to Time magazine's list of the Top 40 Most Influential Minds in Tech.[60]


  1. ^ Immigrants Behind 25 Percent of Startups
  2. ^ Vivek Wadhwa, Singularity University | TIME Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech |
  3. ^ Claire Cain Miller (October 4, 2013). "Curtain Is Rising on a Tech Premiere With (as Usual) a Mostly Male Cast". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2015. ...said Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance who is writing a book on women in tech. 
  4. ^ William Alden (October 30, 2013). "For a High-Powered Career, It's Finance vs. Tech". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ Bio - Vivek Wadhwa
  6. ^ Srikumar S. Rao, 11.13.00 (2000-11-13). "Cracking The Code". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  7. ^ Bucken, Mike (August 1993). "Seer Technologies, Inc - Field Report: Companies on the Move". Software Magazine. 
  8. ^ "Seer Technologies Files For Initial Public Offering. - Free Online Library". 1995-05-09. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  9. ^ Maley, Frank (April 1, 2002). "Mouth piece: Vivek Wadhwa's talent for trumpeting his company shines, but observers want to see another kind of performance.". Business North Carolina. Archived from the original on 4 April 2002. 
  10. ^ "Relativity Technologies, Targeting Public Sector, Launches New Sales Initiative". Capitol Broadcasting Company. 11 July 2004. Retrieved 4 December 2008. 
  11. ^ Chris Pyak, 05.08.13. "Interview with Vivek Wadhwa". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  12. ^ "Singularity University | Management". Retrieved 2012-11-02. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Project Team :: Global Engineering and Entrepreneurship @ Duke". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  14. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa | Master of Engineering Management". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  15. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". Retrieved 2012-11-02. [dead link]
  16. ^ "LWP Staff: Vivek Wadhwa". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  17. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa | School of Information". 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  18. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  19. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". Businessweek. 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  20. ^ Engineering Our Health, March 2012[dead link]
  21. ^ "ASEE PRISM - SEPTEMBER 2011 - LEADING EDGE". Retrieved 2012-11-02. [dead link]
  22. ^ "ASEE PRISM - SUMMER 2006 - LAST WORD: The Real Numbers - By Vivek Wadhwa". Retrieved 2012-11-02. [dead link]
  23. ^ "ASEE PRISM - DECEMBER 2011 - LEADING EDGE". Retrieved 2012-11-02. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Chinese and Indian Entrepreneurs Are Eating America's Lunch - By Vivek Wadhwa". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  25. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa Posts on TechCrunch". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  26. ^ "Preventing Silicon Valley's 'Immigrant Exodus'". NPR. October 5, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  28. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  29. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". Prism Magazine. Retrieved 2014-09-29. [dead link]
  30. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2014-09-29. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Vivek Wadhwa". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  32. ^ "All posts by Vivek Wadhwa". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  33. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "Silicon Valley, You and Some of Your VCs have a Gender Problem". TechCrunch. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  34. ^ Upadhyaya, Preeti. "Why Vivek Wadhwa takes on the Silicon Valley status quo". UpStart Business Journal. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  35. ^ "Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology". Goodreads. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  36. ^ Upadhyaya, Preeti. "Why Vivek Wadhwa takes on the Silicon Valley status quo". Upstart Business Journal. Retrieved 15 November 2014.  "He (Wadwha) has been a vocal advocate for more inclusion and diversity in Silicon Valley..."
  37. ^ Maule, Alicia. "Innovators Changing the Face of Tech". MSNBC. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  38. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "The case for old entrepreneurs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  39. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "Innovation without Age Limits". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  40. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "When It Comes To Founding Successful Startups, Old Guys Rule". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  41. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "Silicon Valley’s Dark Secret: It’s All About Age". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  42. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "Engineering Gap? Fact and Fiction". Bloomberg Businessweek Small Business. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  43. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "U.S. Schools Are Still Ahead—Way Ahead". Bloomberg Businessweek Technology. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  44. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "U.S. Schools: Not That Bad". Bloomberg Businessweek Technology. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  45. ^ "Too Many Kids Go To College". Intelligence 2 Debates. 
  46. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek. "Friends Don’t Let Friends Take Education Advice From Peter Thiel". TechCrunch. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  47. ^ Miller, Claire Caine (6 October 2013). "Twitter C.E.O. Defends Representation of Women at the Company — Sort Of". New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  48. ^ Hoge, Patrick (24 July 2014). "Vivek Wadhwa attacks Twitter, CEO Costolo over diversity numbers". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  49. ^ a b Manjoo, Farhad (February 25, 2015). "An Outspoken Voice for Women in Tech, Foiled by His Tone". New York Times. 
  50. ^ Trigiani, Mary (24 January 2015). "Captains and floozies". Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  51. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek (25 January 2015). "Vivek Wadhwa explains". Mary Trigiani. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  52. ^ Greenhall, Amelia (3 February 2015). "Quiet, Ladies. @wadhwa is speaking now". Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  53. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek (14 February 2015). "My response to the podcast that unfairly attacked me". VentureBeat. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  54. ^ Tiku, Nitasha (25 February 2015). "Interview with a Wadhwa". The Verge. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  55. ^ Hathaway, Jay (20 February 2015). "Vivek Wadhwa Makes Great Case Against Vivek Wadhwa on WNYC". Gawker. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  56. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek (February 23, 2015). "Why I am stepping out of the debate on women in technology". Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2015.  This is a condensed version of an article published on Wadhwa's personal site.
  57. ^ "The leaders of tomorrow". 1999-12-30. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  58. ^ "USCIS - 2012 Outstanding American by Choice Recipients". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  59. ^ The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers | Foreign Policy
  60. ^ "Time Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds In Tech". Time. 2013-05-01. 

External links[edit]