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...The start-up, Otto, existed for all of seven months before it was acquired by Uber Technologies Inc. During this time, Google’s car project experienced a larger employee exodus, with many key players leaving to start or join new companies. So whatever happens, it’s looking like Google has already lost the battle. Silicon Valley’s most valuable assets are its people, not its intellectual property. In the pharmaceutical industry, businesses revolve around patent licensing because it’s expensive and time-consuming to take a drug to market. For technology companies, the opposite is true—the industry evolves so quickly that today’s valuable property could be obsolete by tomorrow. ...Live Mint on April 13, 2017, 8:19 a.m.
...Bloomberg Every time a government sets out to abolish something people like, the well-liked thing moves to where it can’t be stopped. This has happened with prohibition, gambling, the war on drugs and digital piracy. Now it’s happening in China, where the government has been trying to crack down on bitcoin. As part of an effort to control capital outflows, the Chinese central bank required bitcoin exchanges to suspend withdrawals until they could update their compliance systems. Trading on the exchanges took a big hit, but the bitcoin activity resurfaced on less formal over-the-counter venues. Here’s a chart showing trading volume at LocalBitcoins, a site where users post “advertisements”—like on Craigslist—to buy or sell bitcoin for local currency: Blocking LocalBitcoins would be no solution, in part because people can use virtual private networks to access it anyway. ...Live Mint on Feb. 24, 2017, 10:12 a.m.
...Priyanka Parashar/Mint 2016 hasn’t been a brilliant year for Silicon Valley. Lawsuits and regulatory investigations have shed light on the antics of high-profile companies such as Theranos, Zenefits, Hampton Creek and Hyperloop One. Even outside of public scandal, dubious tactics abound. A recent Fortune column asks whether Silicon Valley pushes ethical boundaries too far. Has cutthroat competition led the righteous industry to lose sight of its moral values? Silicon Valley has an innovative and nuanced view of ethical boundaries. Y Combinator founder and investor Paul Graham wrote a guide explaining what his fund looks for when making investments. As he sees it, the most successful founders are the ones that “delight in breaking rules, but not rules that matter.” “Rules that matter” is a subjective idea, and it’s especially fuzzy in the minds of the young technologists who receive investor capital. ...Live Mint on Dec. 31, 2016, 12:37 p.m.
...Unfortunately, it might achieve nothing more than a lot of inconvenience. Criminals and corrupt officials often conduct business in cash, because it’s hard to trace. So in a sense it’s logical to assume that abolishing cash will help reduce criminal activity. Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden, after all, have extremely low cash usage rates and also lead the world in the lack of perceived corruption. This rationale has led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare a surprise cancellation of the nation’s two highest-denomination notes, effectively invalidating 86% of total currency in circulation. Anyone with outstanding notes must either deposit them in a bank and incur a tax, or exchange them for replacements in strictly limited sums. The move has already proven immensely disruptive, though not entirely to criminals. ...Live Mint on Nov. 22, 2016, 8:36 a.m.