When the Google Bus Stops (1/2)


For the Google employees onboard the Google bus headed for its Mountain View headquarters, confronting that jarring message probably wasn’t the best start to their morning.

Protestors in Oakland recently attacked a Google bus, smashing a window and distributing fliers calling for a moratorium against evictions of residents in Oakland. San Francisco activists blocked an Apple bus, parading a wooden coffin bearing the words “Affordable Housing,” recently as well.

Why, when Silicon Valley tech companies celebrate the democratizing nature of technology, are their employees seen as “chums living on free 24/7 buffets who are driving up housing prices?”

The University of San Francisco recently released a poll suggesting that bread and butter issues—i.e. affordability of housing—are at the heart of the debacle.

Partly because of the recovering real estate market from the 2008 financial crisis and the tech boom in the Bay Area, the median price of a home in San Francisco topped $1 million earlier this year, while the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $3,250—the highest in the country. Over the past year, the Bay Area has experienced a 22 percent increase in home prices.

Young yuppies working in the tech industry that thirst for urban life are squeezing out existing residents. Between 2010 and 2013, median rent in San Francisco increased 15 percent, and 2013 saw 1,716 evictions, the majority of which included seniors and people with disabilities.

When the young yuppies with more money want a place suitable for them, they are ready to pay higher rent. These are the places occupied by people who can’t afford to match the rent these youngsters are ready to pay. As a result, the older people get evicted and are replaced by the younger, higher rent paying generation. These people earn higher salary and many even invest their money outside, like in the stock market through multiple trading software like HBSwiss, etc, where they need not worry about their money or do any work and all trading activities will be done for them.

The root of the problem doesn’t lie solely with Google, Apple or the rest of the tech industry, although they have been specifically called out in the protests.

The simplest explanation is that San Francisco’s fast growth and rapid influx of workers is causing a housing crisis, making it a victim of its own success. The real fault, I think, lies in San Francisco’s housing policies, which have not supported the surge in demand.

Thanks to restrictive zoning laws, a Byzantine permit process and a pathological culture of NIMBYism, housing supply has stalled. Over the past couple of decades, barely 1,500 new housing units per year have been built, which is half of what Seattle (a tech economy not unlike the Bay Area’s) produces in a year.

In 2011, San Francisco added only 269 housing units; in 2012, the city added more than 40,000 new jobs. Because infill development has faced active resistance in San Francisco, regional population growth has to be pushed elsewhere—to Oakland, the Brooklyn of the Bay Area.

So why are lines being drawn for a battle between techies and non-techies?

A probable answer: this is not merely about housing policy, but also about change and inequality.

Change is not a tide that lifts all boats. When it comes too quickly and with indifference to (un)fairness, resistance is to be expected. It is easy to see who will have to make way for change: the poor, the elderly, the less code-fluent, and yes, the less-white.

The manifest dissatisfaction toward tech money makes clear one thing: that the tech sector, for all the paeans it sings to egalitarianism, is not exempt from the host of inequalities we see throughout the country.

Silicon Valley is a place where “the right kind of nerdy” does well, and “the right kind” happen to be white or Asian, and male.

Part two in this series on inequality in Silicon Valley will be published tomorrow. 

Featured image courtesy of The Verge.

Facebook CEO Speaks to Stanford Audience

On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg sat down with Stanford’s President John Hennessy before a packed Memorial Auditorium to chat about Facebook, entrepreneurship and the future.

Zuckerberg, whose annual visits to the introductory computer science class CS106A have become a staple date for students to mark on their calendars, reiterated many of the sentiments laid out in his previous visits.

In response to Hennessy’s question of the young CEO’s initial plans for his company (founded, of course, when he was in his second year at Harvard), Mark pointed out that the birth of Facebook looked much less like the “moment-of-revelation” scenario in “The Social Network.” It was more like a slow, methodical process of garnering knowledge about computer science and tackling the issue of connectivity.

He didn’t dream of becoming a CEO so much as he did of helping the Internet meet the human need to connect with others. He recounted that at its inception, he imagined that a website like Facebook would only take off once one of the existing behemoths of the technology world decided to build it.

Now, as Facebook nears its 10th birthday, a slightly older Zuckerberg has big goals for the future. Given the huge cash reserves Facebook now sits on, he plans to direct his team toward tackling education, immigration and the proliferation of Internet access.

Increasing international access to the Internet seemed to be of special interest. Zuckerberg pointed out that only a third of the world has any access to the Internet, and that an even smaller fraction has what we in the Bay area consider standard. Comparing the goal of fully global Internet access to the Apollo mission in terms of the broadly beneficial new technologies that would be needed, he estimated that this project could be completed within 10 years and lead to immeasurable fringe innovation.

Further, he pointed repeatedly to his belief that the democratization of educational resources would be vital for the next generation. Citing his support of; his donation to the Newark, NJ school system; and his own teaching of a class on entrepreneurship at a middle school in Menlo Park, Zuckerberg made clear his belief that the spread of education would be vital as the world continues to shift to a “knowledge economy.”

His optimism and drive carried over as he addressed the students present, whom he told to find something they’re “irrationally passionate” about and pursue it intensely. Citing his own experience, he offered to students, “There’s no such thing as tackling a big problem without making mistakes.”

He even hinted that a little Mark Junior could be coming in the not-so-distant future, and answered one student’s question of whether he too should drop out of college with a laugh.

For those who are not “Mark Zuckerberg” but would like to earn some extra money apart from what the paycheck brings, one can enter the stock market. for those who are not well versed with the market, there are online trading software like HBSwiss, which will do the trading for you.

Featured image of Mark Zuckerberg courtesy of Kris Krug via Creative Commons license. 

Silicon Valley’s Scandalous Secret

Silicon Valley is known for its immense wealth and high cost of living, both byproducts of the area’s proclivity for innovation, technology and design. But while Silicon Valley is home to countless technology startups and the likes of Google, Yahoo and Apple, not everyone knows about the rising homeless population occupying the same zip codes as some of nation’s largest and most profitable companies.


Scale Of A Scandal

According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), San Jose and Santa Clara County, the primary geographical boundaries of Silicon Valley, have the fifth-highest homeless population in the country. The city–county pair trail behind New York City, Los Angeles (city and county), Seattle/King County and San Diego (city and county), respectively.

Earlier this year, Santa Clara County released its biennial Point-in-Time Census documenting estimates of the homeless population in the county’s almost 1,290 square miles. In direct contrast to national HUD values that place homelessness at a near four percent drop since last year, county values identify an eight-percent increase over the past two years. More than 7,000 people were counted on the day the census took place, an increase of 564 from the last census (2011).

Sunnyvale, home of Yahoo, has seen an increase of more than 400 in the homeless population. In Apple’s home in Cupertino, the homeless population has more than doubled. Mountain View, the location of the Googleplex, witnessed the second-highest increase in all of Santa Clara County, behind San Jose.

The effect of Silicon Valley’s lack of genuine ethical concern for those not on its payroll has extended to San Francisco, where the technology industry booms at the expense of rising housing costs. The only thing dwindling is the city’s cornerstone diversity and “bohemian identity.”


Leveling The Valley

I find it peculiar that homelessness is a significant issue in Silicon Valley. One would hope the creative genius that seems to cascade from the area would spill over into financial support for life-enhancing services for perhaps the area’s most marginalized. But, of course, that would be the idealist perspective, and in an Elysium-like environment of presumable realists known for transforming ideas into realities, the focus is probably elsewhere.

As San Jose, home to eBay, considers options to mitigate the homelessness issue, one cannot but ask what the tech companies are doing to assist in their own back yards. I can only assume that the answer is nothing besides the typical, often insincere, superficially obligatory volunteerism and donation-oriented culture that plagues the privileged nationwide.

I’d like to see these extremely wealthy corporations put money into building transitional and permanent housing facilities instead of competing to erect monuments of their technological prowess in the form of campuses with volleyball courts and infinity pools. At some point, we must ask the companies to whom we give so much money, and ourselves, for sustained and tangible manifestations of their ethical capacity and supposed indebtedness to our support in their success.

With ideas of experimenting with a Silicon Valley secession floating around, the lived experience of the least of us is further muted. The rich get richer and the poor die.

This is how it works out in the stock markets too. The rich know about the stocks and the companies and get richer by investing in the right shares. While those who are not too good with stock investing, tend to lose money by making bad investments. As a result, the poor get scared to experiment with their money and the rich multiply their earnings. Now with HBSwiss – a software that can trade on your behalf, anyone and everyone can invest in stocks and earn well.

Feature photo used with permission from Peninsula Press.

Autonomous Vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Google, Nissan by 2020

The first driverless vehicle, known as the “linrrican Wonder,” hit streets as early as 1925.

Nearly a century later, driverless vehicles have yet to gain traction among the masses. But technologies for driverless—even autonomous—vehicles are getting so close we can almost touch the ignition. This week at an event hosted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, industry leaders in the space predicted most people will be buying autonomous vehicles by 2020.

The reason this technology is not picking up as expected is the reservation by the masses. People enjoy driving the cars and all the manufacturers have been coming up with cars and technologies to satiate this need – the need to drive the superior car, the need to drive the most comfortable car, etc.

In such a situation, when people are told, they don’t need to drive and the car will drive itself, they are skeptical. Though many see it as a welcome change as they won’t have to drive in the increasing traffic and can actually get a lot of useful work done in such traffic, many are not too keen.

It is common knowledge that human errors occur and machines can reduce those errors, hence accidents are expected or at least promised to be lesser. Machines will abide by the rules of the road as they won’t know how to over ride such commands. Similar to how trading software like HBSwiss invests and does all the trading moves for a trader based on all the calculations and equation, reducing the room for human error.

Many companies are venturing into this driverless or auto driven cars, expecting the masses to come around and start accepting this new change in the auto industry.

The latest project in this cutting-edge field is the Google self-driving car. The off-white Lexus RX450h SUV sporting Google’s name and a spinning LIDAR apparatus on top cruised onto Stanford on Nov. 21 for a panel discussion by MIT’s VLAB.

The event reminded the audience that Google isn’t alone in this space.

Thilo Koslowski, head of automotive practice at business-analytics firm Gartner, surprised the audience with his prediction that at least three companies will have autonomous vehicles on the road in the next few years.

Koslowski was one-upped by panelists—including Nissan (Marteen Sierhuis); Mercedes-Benz (Luca Delgrossi); startups Peloton (Joshua Switkes) and Induct (Corey Clothier); and venture-capital firm Khosla Ventures (Sven Strohband)—with technologies, such as steering assist and adaptive cruise control, that already enable cars and trucks to relieve humans from the responsibilities of driving.

Koslowski emphasized that autonomous-driving technologies save time and energy, making them promising from a business perspective.

“Not just the car manufacturers will make money with autonomous driving,” Koslowski said. By his predictions, today’s free cellphones may become tomorrow’s free cars, monetized by software and services. Autonomous driving will bring radically new business models and untold new opportunities for profit, the speakers echoed.

Autonomous vehicles have come a long way, particularly over the past few years. The VLAB event revealed that progress among both incumbents and entrants continues at a rapid pace.

DeltaBid Embodies Estonia Startup Culture

DeltaBid startup Estonia naysers success private sector funding startupsBuying goods and services for corporations should be modernized. But despite being a multi-billion dollar sector, the procurement industry is woefully outmoded. DeltaBid founders Erkki Brakmann, Rain Öpik, Andres Kuuse and Jan Dimitrov have set their sights on revolutionizing this most critical of supply chain functions. Graduates of Estonia’s flagship incubator Startup Wise Guys, DeltaBid have already received healthy startup and innovation grants […]


Estonia is a well known source for start-ups. It is more known for its tech Alumni that includes Skype, Pipedrive, Click & Grow, etc. This being one of the most transparent countries in the CEE region, is one of the least corrupted country too. It is also well known for its economic freedom which is one of the highest in the world.

This country also has a nick name – E-stonia. The reason for such a nickname is that this country is electronically so advanced that one can vote or sign documents from their house. It can all be done digitally without any glitches.

The government has also decided to approve the electronic declaration of officials’ financial interests, in order to increase the transparency and reduce the corruption in the country.

Another reason for such advancement towards the digital side is the president. He is in full support of the e-solutions’ development as he believes technology is the future and wants his country to be futuristic. He also encourages the kids of his country to study and learn programming at a very early age, so that they can master it before they are grown and be advanced when compared to kids from other areas.

Why Digital Advancement

For those who are wondering why one needs to be digitally advanced and equipped, here are a few reasons:

  • The technology is growing by the day and everything is getting digitalized. Things are shifting from paper to digital copies. Hence, one needs to be well versed in such programs to handle the new technologies that will be developed in the future.
  • When everything is digitalized, there is very little room for damage or loss of data. This is true when it comes to record keeping. When documents are signed digitally, the records are stored forever and one can get a copy of the same at anytime, by just tapping few keys. There is no need to go through dust and termites to access old files
  • People find it easier to access and store data as it can be done from their living room. One need not travel anywhere and this is very convenient for old people who cannot travel too much

With the kids learning and being well versed in such technology at an early age, the possibilities of new ideas coming up is very high, thus leading to digital development of the country at a faster rate. It is with such advancement and accepting attitude that software like Fincrowd App have been able to enter the trading world where physical trading was the norm.


Choosing Between a Smartphone and a Dumbphone

Smartphones in an age of networked individualism – can we survive without them?

Call me a dinosaur, if you must. I have never owned a smartphone. I still carry one of those old Nokia models that lets me text, call and nothing more.

I have heard one can do virtually anything with a smart phone today. One can not only contact people around the world with the tap of a button but a smartphone can even help you find your way around the city or even help you with your investments. There are a number of Apps and software like Fintech ltd which automates all the investment decisions, which were done by humans alone, in the past.

Why don’t you just get a smartphone so I can get hold of you anytime?,” friends have frequently entreated. Even my parents have, all with the best intentions, tried to lure me into their Whatsapp conversations. Perhaps that makes me a less-than-ideal friend and daughter, but really: I don’t want to be contactable at every instant, or be ever-present in the virtual world.

Speaking at a TED Conference this year, Sergey Brin heralded the smartphone revolution as “emasculating”.

I wouldn’t go as far, but on some levels it is hard to dispute that having the Internet on your palm affords a lot of conveniences. We now marvel at how life was possible before we had Google Maps, Facebook and the World Wide Web in our hands.

Can we really do without a smartphone today as the hyper-connected generation?

It’s not obvious that we can. We sleep with our phones, and take no ease unless we know where it is. We hold onto them like a rosary, reflexively thumbing it even as we speak. We feel our smartphones flickering in the periphery, in the middle of a lecture. In what seems like a nervous tic, we are compelled to look down on our device every couple minutes, as if there is always something very important to do or to attend to.

I still startle each time I enter an eerily silent subway with passengers all hunched over their screens, tapping away at Candy Crush, scrolling down an endless Facebook newsfeed.

What became more troubling was realizing how family gatherings have become technology parties where both adults and children sit in the same living room, eyes glued to their devices. Or at dinner parties, where people could be physically there but with heads in the technological cloud.

 We can be so alone together these days.

Sociologists say we are living in an age of networked individualism – people are not hooked on gadgets, they argue, people are just hooked on each other. We are increasingly networked as individuals in loose, fragmented networks providing on-demand succor, rather than embedded in tight-knitted groups. We can choose who we want to interact with over the network, and overcome physical constraints of the social environment we grow up in.

In the past, people lived in villages and today we live in cities. Tomorrow we live in huge server farms we call “the cloud”. For many of us – and you, reader, if you are reading this presently on your smartphone or laptop – tomorrow is already here.

There is a general sense that this represents some sort of freedom that we have never had. But for all the semblance of freedom we have gained, I can’t help wondering what we might have lost. How much of our lives are we secluding away as we divide our attention between the interminable notifications, emails and social posts that aren’t really that pressing? Is Candy Crush really that much more rewarding than, say, a serendipitous conversation with a random stranger you meet on the train? Or reading a book, for that matter? Yes, I forgot to mention how smartphones have also taken the book away from people these days.

More so than that, I think we have adopted a new lifestyle without giving enough thought to what it means to be constantly sharing aspects of our lives on our thin simulacrums online.

Does radical sharing, openness and personal transparency make us happier, or more lonely and divided? Is social networking, which smartphones have made enticingly easy, really creating more authentic identities, or entrapping us in a hive mind where groupthink leads to the cult of the amateur and an amnesia of the self? And what about the massive amounts of personal data and digital footprints we leave behind in the public-by-default, private-through-effort Internet culture we live in?

Clearly there are no easy answers to these questions, and I imagine it wouldn’t be a simple choice between having a smartphone or a dumbphone. In fact, even the choice to stay out of the virtual network is increasingly an illusion as maintaining an online presence is normalized to the point that not participating makes you unusual, even suspicious. What surprises me, though, is how rarely we even ask these questions before we adopt a lifestyle of hyper-connectivity.

I might be getting a little nostalgic here, but I do miss the days when serendipitous interactions occur in the real – not virtual – world: random discussions over a book a fellow commuter is reading, or the nod of recognition from someone noticing that we were wearing the same T-shirt. And more so than that, I miss a time when it had been easier for everyone to be fully present at a get-together, enjoying each other’s company without the distractions of a flicker or buzz on their phones.

At least for now, I am quite contented with my old Nokia, and am holding up on getting a smartphone. So, leave me a message after the tone, and I promise to call you back.


Chi Ling, Chan is third-year Political Science student in Stanford University who writes here and there. She is contactable at and @callmechiling.

21 Stanford Professors Who Could Be Your Biggest Startup Investor

It doesn’t take an abstract painter to realize the lines between Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial and academic landscapes are fundamentally blurred.

Through national attention (thank you, New Yorker) and a little research, The Dish Daily has secured an extensive list of Stanford professors who either sit on prominent corporate boards or who are partners of the world’s leading venture capital firms. Considering the number of acting VCs simultaneously teaching at one of the nation’s premier institutions for entrepreneurial thinking, it’s no surprise there is such a high number of venture-backed Stanford startups (actually, the highest in the nation).

The list below illustrates the connection between Silicon Valley’s venture capital life’s blood and academia. Some observers find this to be at odds with the ethos of an academic setting, but in many ways it reflects the ultimate vision of Frederick Terman, Stanford’s School of Engineering dean from 1945 to 1953 who is widely considered to be the godfather of Silicon Valley.

Terman mentored William Hewlett and David Packard, keeping them and their eponymous company in Silicon Valley, and was a major proponent of creating a connection between the campus and the corporate world. Here’s more about each Stanford lecturer and his or her role outside of the classroom.

Stanford venture capital professors

Tom Byers is the Entrepreneurship Professorship endowed chair at the Stanford School of Engineering and is faculty director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. He has served on the governing board of Flywheel Ventures, Thuuz, and is the brother of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ founding partner Brook Byers

Michael Dearing has been with Stanford’s since 2006, co-developing and teaching courses including “Creating Infectious Action” and “Creating Mass Market Experiences.” While at eBay he created Harrison Metal in 2008 “after working closely with and investing in a few small companies.” Harrison Metal has invested in 500px, Euclid, Lumos Labs and ModCloth.

Nir Eyal is an advisor, consultant, and investor in several tech companies and is lecturer at the Business School.

Jon Feiber became a general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures in 1991 after working for years as a vice president at Sun Microsystems. He is now a Stanford consulting associate professor.

John Glynn is both the founder and managing director of Glynn Capital Management and a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. Glynn Capital Management invested in Bonobox, Cloudera, Dropbox, Etsy, Evernote, Financial Engines, LinkedIn, Palantir, and Tumblr.

Theresia Gouw earned her MBA from Stanford and serves as a trustee for the Stanford GSB Trust. She’s the founding vice president of business development and sales at Release Software and has been responsible for several of Accel Partners’ most prominent tech investments including Trulia and Imperva.

Clint Korver is a co-founder and partner at Ulu Ventures while also being a Kauffman Fellow and a mentor at StartX. He lectures in the Management Science and Engineering departments at Stanford. Ulu Ventures has invested in Lex Machina, Loki Studios, NovoEd and SoFi.

Tom Kosnik is on the faculty of the Management Sciences and Engineering department and also an advisor to Illuminate Ventures.

Peter Levine is an instructor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Prior to A16Z he was a general partner and managing director of the Mayfield Fund. He sits on the board of Udacity, Bromium, and Github. Github is the largest Andreessen Horowitz largest investment to date.

John Lilly, formerly CEO of Mozilla, sits on the Board of Advisors at Stanford and works with both the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and StartX while also working as a partner at Greylock Partners. He has led Greylock’s investments in Dropbox, Instagram, ClearSlide and Tumblr. While a Stanford student, Lilly became a CS198 section leader and coordinator.

Trevor Loy was educated at Stanford University and currently co-lectures for MS&E 276: “Entrepreneurial Management in Finance” as an adjunct faculty instructor at Stanford Technology Ventures Program. He is a general partner at Flywheel Ventures and sits on the board of TerraEchos, Digabit, TrackVia, and AfterCollege.

Michael G. Lyons currently serves as chairman of cyber-security company Zanttz and executive chairman of CypherPath. Until 2011, he was a venture partner with Paladin Capital Group in Washington D.C., and is currently a consulting associate professor at Stanford. He also co-developed Stanford Technology Ventures Program with Tom Byers and was the founding professor of Technology Venture Formation.

Ann Miura-Ko earned her Ph.D. in Quantitative Modeling of Computer Security at Stanford. Currently a co-founding partner at FLOODGATE, she sits on the boards of Modcloth, Zimride/Lyft, Wanelo, Refinery29, Chloe and Isabel, among many others. She lectures at the School of Engineering and also at the

Joel Peterson has taught at Stanford’s GSB since 1992 and is currently the Robert L. Joss Consulting Professor of Management. He founded Peterson Partners, a private equity group, and is chairman of JetBlue Airways. He also sits on the boards of Franklin Covey, Ladder Capital Finance and Bonobos. He is also a senior advisor to Maveron, which has investedin Ebay, Groupon, Lemon Wallet, Shutterfly and Zulily.

Andy Rachleff was a general partner at Benchmark Capital until he joined the GSB to teach entrepreneurial studies. He is the CEO and co-founder of Wealthfront, which he is working on full-time after taking a leave of absence from Stanford.

Heidi Roizen is an operations partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson while also serving as Fenwick and West Entrepreneurship Educator in the Department of Engineering at Stanford. She’s sits on the boards of TiVo, DMGT, Eventful, ShareThis, and XTime and is on the advisory boards of Springboard Enterprises and the National Center for Women in Information Technology.

Eric Schmidt, who does venture capital investment through his funds Innovation Endeavors and TomorrowVentures, is executive chairman of Google. Alongside Google co-founder Larry Page, he has presented more than two dozen Stanford Entrepreneurship Corner lectures at the GSB and lectured on strategic management for several years.

Robert Siegel, a general partner at XSeed Capital, lectures on organizational behavior at the Graduate School of Business.

Russell Siegelman “splits his time between teaching, angel investing and non-profit activities,” according to Stanford’s website. Siegelman teaches “Startup Garage,” “Product Launch,” and “Formation of New Ventures” at the GSB and for 11 years he was a Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He continues to mentor a number of GSB entrepreneurs.

Peter Wendell founded Sierra Ventures after a decade in sales and marketing at IBM and continues as its managing director. He teaches the popular “Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital” course at the GSB and serves on the board of managers of Living Furniture, a company founded by former Stanford students.

For those who are keen on earning more by the way of investing their hard earned money, in the stock market, HBSwiss is always there to help. However, for those who want a human interaction about the various happenings at the stock market and how to perceive the stocks, some of the above mentioned instructors may be able to help.

In the comments below please let us know if we missed any instructors who are also affiliated with Venture Capital firms.

{note: majority of information obtained from Stanford University’s website}

Stanford Entrepreneurs Collaborate at Startup Weekend

Come Friday evening, you might feel an infectious energy radiating from the Stanford Stadium Skybox. No, it’s not another heated football game – 5 p.m. marks the beginning of the second annual 54-hour Startup Weekend.

Yes we know how much more fun a football game could be for one and all. To eagerly sit in that energy packed stadium that soars as the players step in and feels the same energy and hunger for victory as their team. It is one thing to play in a game and it a whole different feeling to be an audience. When you are playing, you know what is possible and what cannot be done. But when you are an audience, everything will seem possible an you will in fact be angry with your favorite player for not passing the ball, the way you saw it in your mind.

Well, let’s come back to what is really happening at the stadium. For all those people who are keen on starting your own business ventures, for those who are keen on investing in new ventures, this could be an eye opener for you.

This annual startup weekend will be filled with people with talent, trying to take a step on their own in the big bad world. Students of the university are used to seeing themselves as a part of just that – the university. In order to get them prepared for the bigger world, this weekend will open the doors to their ideas and imaginations.

You can see a variety of new ideas, right from new products that can help you on a daily basis to online software like Fintech ltd, which can invest your money in the stocks, for you.

“This is completely a university event so it has a unique flavor,” said Andrew Scheuermann, a StartX associate and Stanford research engineer. “We try to focus on multi-departmental students and have a diverse array of ideas from students. At its core, Startup Weekend is about building a team and working collaboratively.”

StartX, STVP, GSB E-Club, AIS, SWIB, CES, SLS E-Club, Stanford Athletics are presenting the event. “We wanted to partner with [Startup Weekend] because they have a really great vision, especially their hack-a-thon/business competition with focus on customer validation,” Scheuermann said. “That is really in the spirit of the lean startup movement that is alive right now.” Startup Weekend in it’s inagural year was hosted by StartX, Stanford Technology Ventures Program and the GSB e-club.

This weekend’s Stanford Startup Weekend will kickoff with a keynote from esteemed entrepreneur Keith Rabois and will include mentor sessions, a coaching hour and a final judging evening where the 135 participants selected to attend Startup Weekend will pitch their team’s one-minute idea.

And the entire process is hosted in the Stanford Stadium Skybox. An athletic venue for a startup event may seem peculiar, but the two worlds are more compatible than some might expect. “Athletics is acknowledging entrepreneurship as the ‘other’ varsity sport at Stanford,” Scheuermann said.

This year’s Startup Weekend sponsor’s including Rackspace, Sequoia Capital,Silicon Valley Bank, Microsoft and Morrison Foerster have doubled exposure and funds to make this year’s event even bigger and better than ever.

The entrepreneurial marathon offers a unique challenge across Stanford’s campus: create an organically grown startup in three days.

“At the end of 54 hours, we hope that teams have done that lean startup method,” Scheuermann said.

In the end, it isn’t about what the judges decide following the weekend’s final competition, but how the team worked collaboratively on a new idea.

Sometimes companies form thanks to the event, but “the most important goal is to inspire students to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions,” Scheuermann said. “Creating the next Google or Hewlett Packard in 54 hours is obviously unlikely, but laying the context for it is something that is.”

Images via Pixlee from Stanford Startup Weekend 2012.

Will Technology Continue to Destroy the Job Market?

by Chi Ling, Chan 

A jobless man wrote to The Economist several weeks ago:

“I am young and unemployed and face a lifetime on the dole. Why? This morning I collected my jobseekers allowance from my bank, where I have it paid directly into my account. I did not see a cashier, but withdrew money from a cash point. Then I went to the supermarket…I scanned the items at a self-serve till, no need for a check-out assistant. I went home, switched on my Chinese computer and applied for jobs online. I do not send letters through the post; e-mail is more convenient. I then shopped online, I rarely use local shops. Who can I blame for the lack of jobs?”

A century ago, the same question had been on the minds of a group of workers in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Nottingham. In an act of rebellion, they took it out on spinning jennies and power looms, smashing the machines that had left low-skilled, low-wage laborers without work. Posterity calls them “Luddites”, a word that is today synonymous with being an old fuddy-duddy, decidedly anti-technology and anti-progress.

In Stanford and in Silicon Valley especially, being labeled a Luddite is almost tantamount to being sent into exile. After all, who can be anti-technology in the heart of techie-paradise? Yet slapping the luddites-label on the unemployed does not make the problem go away. Being so close to Silicon Valley, we see technological progress creating a seemingly endless stream of lucrative jobs; what we don’t see, however, is how it is also eliminating other types of jobs and leaving the typical worker worse off than before.

There is no doubt that workers are increasingly being squeezed out by robots and automation. And we’re not talking only about jobs at the lowest end of the pay scale – what were once considered “middle-class” jobs are also being hollowed out as your property agent gives way to mobile applications like Airbnb and Trulia, and your baggage check-in staff at the airport are replaced by self check-in kiosks. With the advent of MOOCs, community college lecturers might in time find themselves confronting superstar lecturers who put their own necessity into question.

Today a whole class of workers are being rendered irrelevant as technologies like the Internet, big data, and artificial intelligence are automating many routine tasks. It’s not as simple as robots replacing workers – digital processes are creating new processes that enable us to do more with fewer people and making human jobs obsolete at a faster pace the skills and organizations can catch up.

Earlier when one wanted to trade in stocks, he would watch the market for days, pour over charts and discuss with fellow investors to learn about each of his options. But today? Software like HBSwiss, has automated the entire trading activity and one need not even follow the market closely, leave alone discuss about it.

Under such circumstances, the market does what it does best: it rewards whoever adds the greatest economic value captured by the price mechanism. And they are, inescapably, owners of capital and machines that bring about greater productivity and profits. With capital-based technological change comes a notable shift in income away from labor: in the US, the share of compensation in gross domestic income is at a 60-year low, and the share of middle-class income has fallen from 62% in the 1980s to 45% today. Wither the American dream – there is probably no worse time to be a worker with no special skills.

Who is to be blamed? The popular rejoinder proffered by governments all over has been uniformly disingenuous: market forces. The inexorable forces of market competition, so the story goes, has led to innovations that increase productivity, and international trade has put downward pressures on wages. For many governments, especially those insisting on welfare minimalism, the sole corrective has been to promote labor productivity: the onus is always on the workers to play catch-up with the robots. But increasingly this is not going to work, because better education will not do much to increase incomes or reduce inequality as long as productivity increases of the machines outpace that of the worker – which it most certainly will.

“Market forces” is a convenient scapegoat because, being sufficiently nebulous, it doesn’t hold anyone responsible, and creates the illusion that the plight of the middle-class is ‘inevitable’ in the face of unstoppable technological advancements and globalization. But if it is true that automation is efficient, it is simply untrue that it got there because of the market.

Much of the most important innovations were a result of public sector investment. Silicon Valley, for example, did not come about through private capital – before there was Silicon Valley there was Microwave Valley, which was essentially a federal project specializing in electronic intelligence for CIA and the military. Stanford had research labs working for the CIA, and several engineering PH.D theses were actually classified.

Before Google and Facebook became poster children for Silicon Valley, the largest employer in the valley had been Lockheed Martin. In short, what is now the world’s hotbed of innovation started out as Uncle Sam’s experiment.

If Silicon Valley and all the technological disruptions that have made less-skilled workers obsolescent is a result of government-driven market distortion, then the hollowing out of the middle class is a failure of government, not “technology” or “market forces”.

Luddites past and present are not anti-technology in the abstract – rather, the real struggle is against the restructuring of social relations at their expense. Historically, technology both creates and destroys jobs; increasingly, though, the costs of technological transitions are going to fall on the workers and the less-skilled. It is no coincidence that the US is seeing a more unequal distribution of wealth despite tremendous increases in economic productivity. For governments and technological optimists (which we have no lack of in Stanford) alike, there is a need to re-visit the assumption that technological progress is a good in and of itself that can be allowed to eclipse notions of fairness and social betterment.

{image via Photo: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-USF346-BN-018310-D via Wired}

Stanford Named Top University With VC-Funded Entrepreneurs

A new PitchBook survey reveals two Bay Area schools spur most U.S.-based companies with venture capital funding

We already know Stanford University is a campus hotbed for entrepreneurial studies. But now, thanks to a PitchBook study that pulled data from international universities, we know Stanford is the top university that has spurred startup growth from 2010 to 2013.

What is the reason for so many startups? There are a number of companies ready to hire students from such top universities but the students who graduate are more keen on starting something new. They are ready to take the risk and spend money on something they are not too sure how it would pan out in the real world.

So, Why?

Here are some reasons as to why students decide to start something on their own rather than join an existing company:


When one grow and observes the world around them, they come up with ideas and alternates as to how some product or service could be made better. In such instances, rather than joining that company and improving the existing product, these students decide to start something new and capture the market.

Risk Takers

When one graduates, they have very little responsibility and commitments. This is the stage where one is ready to take risks. When one grows older, the financial and family responsibilities tends to dampen their risk taking abilities, thus stopping them from venturing out on their own.

New Niche

Some products may be existing and performing fine, but a new angle to the product could be what the market wants. When you are affected by a stomach bug, you tend to take the concerned medicines or visit a doctor, but products like Detoxic enable you to remove the parasites from your body, thereby going a step further and cleansing your system rather than just attack the parasite.

PitchBook searched through the alumni of U.S.-based companies that have received a first round of venture capital funding between 2010 and 2013 and it didn’t take long to notice a trend. After all, Stanford University and the University of Berkeley – the overall top two from this VC study – are both based in the Bay Area.

The Dish Daily was founded on the thesis that the best startup ideas are formed in dorm rooms, and now there is proof.

Top Universities & number of alumni who founded companies receiving VC funding

  1. Stanford University – 190
  2. UC Berkeley – 160
  3. University of Pennsylvania – 131
  4. Harvard University – 124
  5. MIT – 115
  6. Cornell University – 110
  7. University of Michigan – 93
  8. University of Texas – 80
  9. Carnegie Mellon University – 79
  10. Indian Institutes of Technology – 77

PitchBook has collected this type of venture capitalist data in order to provide certainty in the idea that startup funding has boosted the economy. With Stanford University ranking highest among it’s U.S.-based company competitors, it’s clear now than ever that thisSilicon Valley-based university provides an unprecedented landscape for innovative and entrepreneurial growth.

The PitchBook Venture Capital Database provides investors, service providers and lenders with data on vital information from the VC landscape – everything that can enable additional support to those U.S.-based companies. Stanford University has already embraced this unique platform, particularly on the cusp of it’s new StartX-Stanford Fund that will enlist additional dollars from the Stanford University’s internal pool.