What Silicon Valley Can Learn from the Theranos Fraud Case


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The flip side of the startup story. Sometimes things go very wrong.

As for Holmes’s future, Angel said, “she is very tainted, so no public company would really want to have her on board.” At the same time, he described her as “very intelligent, very talented and a great salesperson, [who] will land on her feet eventually.” Guay agreed. “Any kind of public role where a company would put her forward as a spokesperson or as a person of importance — that’s going to be a non-starter, at least for a while.”

Guay wondered how things may have come to such a pass at Theranos. “In many fraud circumstances, they sometimes start with small lies, and then those small lies have to be backed up with bigger and bigger lies,” he said. “[It is about] understanding how that all evolved here — whether this was something that [Holmes] felt she had to do or wanted early on, and then she dug herself a hole that she couldn’t get out of. It’s hard to know exactly how that evolved.”

The complete article

Knowledge@Wharton

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What’s Behind One of the Biggest Financial Scams in History


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Story of a massive scandal. And how the biggies got away, again..

Knowledge@Wharton: Nobody has been doing any jail time because of this. That’s a disturbing pattern on a lot of fronts, because we’ve seen a similar result here in the U.S. after the financial crisis, and many of the other banking-related scandals that have occurred.

Enrich: You know what’s interesting? As part of the publicity for this book, I’ve done a tremendous amount of radio. And radio, as you know, can be very deeply polarized on both the right and the left in this country. So just as preparation for a lot of these interviews, I did some quick research: Is this a Trump radio station or Clinton or Bernie Sanders radio station? And I was expecting different slanted questions. You know what? Everyone’s asked the exact same thing, which is, ‘Why do the financial elites keep getting away with murder?’ It seems to be this really unifying theme across the country right now. It just makes people’s blood boil. There was so much public pressure on politicians and prosecutors after the crisis to find some individuals to hold to account for the massive harm that the banking industry caused to the country and to the economy, really to the world.

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The Benefits of Being a Misfit


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This is an interview of Walter Issacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci and others. He has useful suggestions for people aspiring to be more creative and innovative.

Grant: In closing, for an audience of students aspiring to be more creative, more innovative, are there any other tips that you would offer or myths to bust?

Isaacson: I’ll just tell you something small. The tongue of the woodpecker is three times longer than the beak. And when the woodpecker hits the bark at 10 times the force that would kill a human, the tongue wraps around the brain and cushions it, so the woodpecker can do woodpecking.

There’s absolutely no reason you need to know that. It is totally useless information, just as it was totally useless to Leonardo. But just like Leonardo, every now and then, it’s good to just know something for pure curiosity’s sake.

The complete interview

Knowledge@Wharton

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How Banking-as-a-Platform Propels Cross River Bank


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Banking industry is ripe for disruption. The interesting thing is that Banking comprises of a host of different services and each of these service lines can potentially have its own Uber or Airbnb.

Nair: You’ve been in this space for some time. What do you think are the most exciting trends in fintech?

Gade: Financial inclusion is probably the most exciting trend for me. … We are providing access to credit to more than 2.2 million people on an annual basis. This is a source of satisfaction that is very unique. … We are the settlement bank for a number of fintech players, and we execute anywhere between 3 million to 5 million transactions a week. That’s also a very big source of satisfaction. These numbers are important not because they’re associated with dollars and earnings, but more because we are providing people the ability to transfer money to their families, to their friends, on an international basis or even domestically.

The complete interview

Knowledge@Wharton

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Blockchain, the Bard and Building More Inclusion for Banking


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The world moves in cycles. Some new technology comes, rapid growth, negative repercussions, rules & regulations, stifling of business, and then something new comes up..

Our best bet to drive inclusion and catalyze necessary change is fintech and reg-tech innovation. We now see huge leaps in financial sector disruptors creating and transacting in “assets” and “stores of value” (e.g. cryptocurrencies), and furnishing technologies that drive transparency, and security and privacy –- the basic building blocks of secure financial intermediation.

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Steven Hopkins, Amit Sharma, John A. Squires & David N. Lawrence — Knowledge@Wharton 

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Is the Rise of Contract Workers Killing Upward Mobility?


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Employee cost is often looked as a sticky fixed expense. Having contract workers sounds like a solution. But, contracting might be costly for the company too.

Moreover, there is reason to believe that just as contract work is not a panacea for workers, it is also not a panacea for companies. “Contract workers have a fundamentally different relationship with the companies they work for than employees do,” says Gartenberg. “Just as companies under-invest in contractors, there are ample studies that suggest that contractors likewise under-invest in the companies. This could definitely hit the bottom line in areas like innovation and customer service.”

If we are in fact in the process of solidifying two distinct classes of workers — one employee in which firms invest, and another that is in a sense more disposable — what are we as a society losing?

“A lot,” says Gartenberg. “This is what the American Dream is built on — upward mobility. Contract work and outsourcing, among other factors, appear to be disrupting that engine, and it is not clear what the best policy response, if any, should be.”

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Why Amazon’s ‘1-Click’ Ordering Was a Game Changer


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The 1-Click technology will be remembered as “a very important event in the history of e-commerce,” said Hosanagar. “First, it was a very simple and intuitive system and generated a lot of controversy — could something so simple and obvious be patented? Second, it became an important part of the experience that Amazon offered and became a flag bearer for the convenient shopping experience that Amazon came to be known for. And finally, it showed how e-commerce was as much about technology and data as it was about retail.”

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Knowledge@Wharton

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