A Start-Up Slump Is really a Continue the Economy. Big Business Could be to Blame.

Unemployment has fallen, and the stock exchange has soared. Why has got the economic expansion because the recession been so tame, with sluggish productivity and, a minimum of until lately, anemic wage growth?

Economists repeat the answer, to some extent, are available in a start-up slump — a loss of the development of new companies — along with a growing knowledge of what’s behind it.

As many as 414,000 companies were created in 2015, the most recent year surveyed, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday. It had been a small increase from the year before, but well underneath the 558,000 companies had a baby in the year 2006, the prior year the current recession occur.

“We’re still inside a start-up funk,” stated Robert Litan, an economist and antitrust lawyer that has studied the problem. “Obviously the current recession had a great deal to use it, however you’re playing the conundrum: Why hasn’t there been any recovery?”

Many economists repeat the answer could lie within the rising power the greatest corporations, that they argue is stifling entrepreneurship by looking into making it simpler for incumbent companies to swat away challengers — otherwise to swallow them before they be a serious threat.

“You’ve got rising market power,” stated Marshall Steinbaum, an economist in the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank. “In general, which makes it challenging for new companies to contend with incumbents. Market power may be the story that explains everything.”

That argument comes in a potent political moment. Populists on the right and left have taken care of immediately growing public unease concerning the corporate giants that more and more dominate their offline and online lives. Polling data from Gallup along with other organizations shows a lengthy-running loss of confidence in banks along with other big companies — an issue unlikely to abate after high-profile data breaches at Equifax along with other companies.

The beginning-up slump has far-reaching implications. Small companies generally are frequently reported being an exemplar of monetary dynamism. But it’s start-ups — especially the little subset of firms that grow rapidly — which are key motorists of job creation and innovation, and also have in the past been a ladder in to the middle-class at a lower price-educated workers and immigrants.

Possibly most critical, start-ups play a vital role for making the economy in general more lucrative, because they invent new items and approaches, forcing existing companies to compete or take a backseat.

“Across the decades, youthful companies are true heavy hitters and also the consistent hitters when it comes to job creation,” stated Arnobio Morelix, an economist in the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit in Might, Mo., that studies and promotes entrepreneurship.

The beginning-up decline might defy expectations in age Uber and “Shark Tank.” But however counterproductive, the popularity is supported by multiple data sources and various economic studies.

In 1980, based on the Census Bureau data, roughly one out of eight companies have been founded previously year by 2015, that ratio had fallen to less than a single in 12. The downward trend cuts across regions and industries and, a minimum of since 2000, includes the beating heart of yankee entrepreneurship, hi-tech.

Even though the overall slump goes back greater than 3 decades, economists are most worried about a more modern trend. Within the 1980s and 1990s, the entrepreneurial slowdown was concentrated in sectors for example retail, where corner stores and regional brands appeared to be subsumed by national chains. That trend, though frequently painful for local neighborhoods, wasn’t always a continue productivity more generally.

Since about 2000, however, the slowdown has spread to areas of the economy more frequently connected rich in-growth entrepreneurship, such as the technology sector. That decline has coincided with a time period of weak productivity development in the U . s . States in general, a pattern which has consequently been implicated within the patterns of fitful wage gains and sluggish economic growth because the recession. Reserach has recommended the loss of entrepreneurship, as well as in other measures of economic dynamism, is a reason for the prolonged stagnation in productivity.

“We’ve got plenty of pieces since say dynamism went lower a great deal since 2000,” stated John Haltiwanger, a College of Maryland economist that has done a lot of the pioneering operate in the area. “Start-ups go lower a great deal since 2000, mainly in the high-tech sectors, and you will find more and more strong links to productivity.”

What’s behind the loss of entrepreneurship is less obvious. Economists along with other experts have pointed to a variety of possible explanations: The maturing of the people-boom generation leaves less Americans within their prime business-beginning years. The decline of community banks and also the collapse of the marketplace for home-equity loans might have managed to get tougher for would-be entrepreneurs to obtain access to capital. Elevated regulation, at both condition and federal levels, might be particularly troublesome for brand new companies that lack well-staffed compliance departments. Individuals along with other factors may may play a role, but none of them can fully explain the decline.

More lately, economists — especially although not solely around the left — have started pointing the finger at big business, especially in the number of firms that more and more dominate many industries.

Graphic Big Business, Getting Bigger The proportion of employees working in particular, medium and businesses within the U . s . States.

Evidence is basically circumstantial: The slump in entrepreneurship has coincided with a time period of growing concentration in virtually every major industry. Research from Mr. Haltiwanger and many co-authors finds that the most efficient information mill growing more gradually than previously, an indication that competitive pressures aren’t forcing companies to react as rapidly to new innovations.

A current working paper from economists at Princeton and College College London discovered that American information mill more and more in a position to demand prices well above their costs — which based on standard economic theory would lead new companies to go in the marketplace. Yet that is not happening.

“If we’re within an era of excessive profits, in competitive markets we’d see record firm entry, but we have seen the alternative,Inches stated Ian Hathaway, an economist that has studied the problem. That, Mr. Hathaway stated, shows that the marketplace isn’t truly competitive — that existing companies have discovered methods to block competitors.

Experts also indicate anecdotal examples that claim that an upswing of massive companies might be squelching competition. YouTube, Instagram and countless lower-profile start-ups made a decision to become unattainable to industry heavyweights like Google and Facebook instead of attempt to bring them on directly. The tech giants have likewise been charged with using only their platforms to favor their very own choices over individuals of competitors.

Most lately, Amazon . com freely known as for any putting in a bid war among metropolitan areas because of its second headquarters — hardly the type of have to have a new start-up might make. Mr. Morelix stated the Amazon . com example was particularly striking.

“We’re stating that it’s O.K. they shape the way a city charges taxes?” Mr. Morelix stated. “And what sort of rules they’ve? That needs to be terrifying to anybody that wishes a totally free market.”

In Washington, where for a long time politicians have recognized small companies while serving big ones, problems with competition and entrepreneurship are more and more drawing bipartisan attention. Several Republican presidential candidates known the beginning-up slump during last year’s primary campaign. Progressive Democrats for example Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have pressed for stricter enforcement of antitrust rules. Inside a speech in March, Ms. Klobuchar clearly tied the struggles of entrepreneurs to rising corporate concentration.

In This summer, entrepreneurs achieved an indication of political relevance: their very own advocacy group. The recently created Center for American Entrepreneurship will conduct research on the significance of new companies towards the economy and push for policies targeted at increasing the start-up rate. Its founding president, John Dearie, originates from big business — he was most lately the acting mind from the Financial Services Forum, addressing big banking institutions.

“Everybody loves entrepreneurship, but they’re unaware it’s in danger,Inches Mr. Dearie stated. “If new companies would be the engine of internet job creation, and when new companies would be the engine of innovation, and start up business creation reaches 30-year lows, that’s a nationwide emergency.”

United kingdom startup raises millions for driverless parking system

A British tech start-up aims to boost millions of pounds to construct an entire map of parking spaces to permit driverless cars to locate a place and set wardens bankrupt.

AppyParking, founded in 2013, has elevated £2.25m from two initial phase investors when preparing for an even bigger funding round the coming year.

The first cash injection originates from Aviva Ventures, the insurer’s tech arm, that is already a shareholder, and Breed Reply, a professional investor in so-known as Internet of products start-ups.

AppyParking founder and leader Dan Hubert stated the cash is needed purchase a laser survey of Britain’s kerbsides to produce accurate maps of where parking can be obtained.

The organization aims to collect nationwide data that it may target the kind of Google, Uber, Ford along with other carmakers within the race to autonomous vehicles. Mr Hubert stated tech giants was without the lack of ability to build the required relationships with councils that AppyParking intends to use becoming a seamless parking system.

Mr Hubert stated: “Some councils generate losses on parking enforcement.”

Key Questions Driverless cars

Drivers and driverless vehicle passengers covers parking digitally using a push of the dashboard button, he stated, removing the requirement for wardens along with other enforcement measures. AppyParking is piloting this type of system in Westminster, with sensors baked into parking spaces to identify when they’re occupied and permit instant cashless payment.

The machine also depends on the mobile network connections which are being suited to new vehicles, and put into existing commercial fleets.

AppyParking’s primary current service for motorists is really a smartphone application that gives info on parking limitations and tariffs.

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Chips Off the Old Block: Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

SAN FRANCISCO — We expect a lot from our computers these days. They should talk to us, recognize everything from faces to flowers, and maybe soon do the driving. All this artificial intelligence requires an enormous amount of computing power, stretching the limits of even the most modern machines.

Now, some of the world’s largest tech companies are taking a cue from biology as they respond to these growing demands. They are rethinking the very nature of computers and are building machines that look more like the human brain, where a central brain stem oversees the nervous system and offloads particular tasks — like hearing and seeing — to the surrounding cortex.

After years of stagnation, the computer is evolving again, and this behind-the-scenes migration to a new kind of machine will have broad and lasting implications. It will allow work on artificially intelligent systems to accelerate, so the dream of machines that can navigate the physical world by themselves can one day come true.

This migration could also diminish the power of Intel, the longtime giant of chip design and manufacturing, and fundamentally remake the $335 billion a year semiconductor industry that sits at the heart of all things tech, from the data centers that drive the internet to your iPhone to the virtual reality headsets and flying drones of tomorrow.

“This is an enormous change,” said John Hennessy, the former Stanford University president who wrote an authoritative book on computer design in the mid-1990s and is now a member of the board at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. “The existing approach is out of steam, and people are trying to re-architect the system.”

The existing approach has had a pretty nice run. For about half a century, computer makers have built systems around a single, do-it-all chip — the central processing unit — from a company like Intel, one of the world’s biggest semiconductor makers. That’s what you’ll find in the middle of your own laptop computer or smartphone.

Now, computer engineers are fashioning more complex systems. Rather than funneling all tasks through one beefy chip made by Intel, newer machines are dividing work into tiny pieces and spreading them among vast farms of simpler, specialized chips that consume less power.

Changes inside Google’s giant data centers are a harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the industry. Inside most of Google’s servers, there is still a central processor. But enormous banks of custom-built chips work alongside them, running the computer algorithms that drive speech recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence.

Google reached this point out of necessity. For years, the company had operated the world’s largest computer network — an empire of data centers and cables that stretched from California to Finland to Singapore. But for one Google researcher, it was much too small.

In 2011, Jeff Dean, one of the company’s most celebrated engineers, led a research team that explored the idea of neural networks — essentially computer algorithms that can learn tasks on their own. They could be useful for a number of things, like recognizing the words spoken into smartphones or the faces in a photograph.

In a matter of months, Mr. Dean and his team built a service that could recognize spoken words far more accurately than Google’s existing service. But there was a catch: If the world’s more than one billion phones that operated on Google’s Android software used the new service just three minutes a day, Mr. Dean realized, Google would have to double its data center capacity in order to support it.

“We need another Google,” Mr. Dean told Urs Hölzle, the Swiss-born computer scientist who oversaw the company’s data center empire, according to someone who attended the meeting. So Mr. Dean proposed an alternative: Google could build its own computer chip just for running this kind of artificial intelligence.

But what began inside data centers is starting to shift other parts of the tech landscape. Over the next few years, companies like Google, Apple and Samsung will build phones with specialized A.I. chips. Microsoft is designing such a chip specifically for an augmented-reality headset. And everyone from Google to Toyota is building autonomous cars that will need similar chips.

This trend toward specialty chips and a new computer architecture could lead to a “Cambrian explosion” of artificial intelligence, said Gill Pratt, who was a program manager at Darpa, a research arm of the United States Department of Defense, and now works on driverless cars at Toyota. As he sees it, machines that spread computations across vast numbers of tiny, low-power chips can operate more like the human brain, which efficiently uses the energy at its disposal.

“In the brain, energy efficiency is the key,” he said during a recent interview at Toyota’s new research center in Silicon Valley.

Change on the Horizon

There are many kinds of silicon chips. There are chips that store information. There are chips that perform basic tasks in toys and televisions. And there are chips that run various processes for computers, from the supercomputers used to create models for global warming to personal computers, internet servers and smartphones.

For years, the central processing units, or C.P.U.s, that ran PCs and similar devices were where the money was. And there had not been much need for change.

In accordance with Moore’s Law, the oft-quoted maxim from Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, the number of transistors on a computer chip had doubled every two years or so, and that provided steadily improved performance for decades. As performance improved, chips consumed about the same amount of power, according to another, lesser-known law of chip design called Dennard scaling, named for the longtime IBM researcher Robert Dennard.

By 2010, however, doubling the number of transistors was taking much longer than Moore’s Law predicted. Dennard’s scaling maxim had also been upended as chip designers ran into the limits of the physical materials they used to build processors. The result: If a company wanted more computing power, it could not just upgrade its processors. It needed more computers, more space and more electricity.

Researchers in industry and academia were working to extend Moore’s Law, exploring entirely new chip materials and design techniques. But Doug Burger, a researcher at Microsoft, had another idea: Rather than rely on the steady evolution of the central processor, as the industry had been doing since the 1960s, why not move some of the load onto specialized chips?

During his Christmas vacation in 2010, Mr. Burger, working with a few other chip researchers inside Microsoft, began exploring new hardware that could accelerate the performance of Bing, the company’s internet search engine.

At the time, Microsoft was just beginning to improve Bing using machine-learning algorithms (neural networks are a type of machine learning) that could improve search results by analyzing the way people used the service. Though these algorithms were less demanding than the neural networks that would later remake the internet, existing chips had trouble keeping up.

Mr. Burger and his team explored several options but eventually settled on something called Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or F.P.G.A.s.: chips that could be reprogrammed for new jobs on the fly. Microsoft builds software, like Windows, that runs on an Intel C.P.U. But such software cannot reprogram the chip, since it is hard-wired to perform only certain tasks.

With an F.P.G.A., Microsoft could change the way the chip works. It could program the chip to be really good at executing particular machine learning algorithms. Then, it could reprogram the chip to be really good at running logic that sends the millions and millions of data packets across its computer network. It was the same chip but it behaved in a different way.

Microsoft started to install the chips en masse in 2015. Now, just about every new server loaded into a Microsoft data center includes one of these programmable chips. They help choose the results when you search Bing, and they help Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-computing service, shuttle information across its network of underlying machines.

Teaching Computers to Listen

In fall 2016, another team of Microsoft researchers — mirroring the work done by Jeff Dean at Google — built a neural network that could, by one measure at least, recognize spoken words more accurately than the average human could.

Xuedong Huang, a speech-recognition specialist who was born in China, led the effort, and shortly after the team published a paper describing its work, he had dinner in the hills above Palo Alto, Calif., with his old friend Jen-Hsun Huang, (no relation), the chief executive of the chipmaker Nvidia. The men had reason to celebrate, and they toasted with a bottle of champagne.

Xuedong Huang and his fellow Microsoft researchers had trained their speech-recognition service using large numbers of specialty chips supplied by Nvidia, rather than relying heavily on ordinary Intel chips. Their breakthrough would not have been possible had they not made that change.

“We closed the gap with humans in about a year,” Microsoft’s Mr. Huang said. “If we didn’t have the weapon — the infrastructure — it would have taken at least five years.”

Because systems that rely on neural networks can learn largely on their own, they can evolve more quickly than traditional services. They are not as reliant on engineers writing endless lines of code that explain how they should behave.

But there is a wrinkle: Training neural networks this way requires extensive trial and error. To create one that is able to recognize words as well as a human can, researchers must train it repeatedly, tweaking the algorithms and improving the training data over and over. At any given time, this process unfolds over hundreds of algorithms. That requires enormous computing power, and if companies like Microsoft use standard-issue chips to do it, the process takes far too long because the chips cannot handle the load and too much electrical power is consumed.

So, the leading internet companies are now training their neural networks with help from another type of chip called a graphics processing unit, or G.P.U. These low-power chips — usually made by Nvidia — were originally designed to render images for games and other software, and they worked hand-in-hand with the chip — usually made by Intel — at the center of a computer. G.P.U.s can process the math required by neural networks far more efficiently than C.P.U.s.

Nvidia is thriving as a result, and it is now selling large numbers of G.P.U.s to the internet giants of the United States and the biggest online companies around the world, in China most notably. The company’s quarterly revenue from data center sales tripled to $409 million over the past year.

“This is a little like being right there at the beginning of the internet,” Jen-Hsun Huang said in a recent interview. In other words, the tech landscape is changing rapidly, and Nvidia is at the heart of that change.

Creating Specialized Chips

G.P.U.s are the primary vehicles that companies use to teach their neural networks a particular task, but that is only part of the process. Once a neural network is trained for a task, it must perform it, and that requires a different kind of computing power.

After training a speech-recognition algorithm, for example, Microsoft offers it up as an online service, and it actually starts identifying commands that people speak into their smartphones. G.P.U.s are not quite as efficient during this stage of the process. So, many companies are now building chips specifically to do what the other chips have learned.

Google built its own specialty chip, a Tensor Processing Unit, or T.P.U. Nvidia is building a similar chip. And Microsoft has reprogrammed specialized chips from Altera, which was acquired by Intel, so that it too can run neural networks more easily.

Other companies are following suit. Qualcomm, which specializes in chips for smartphones, and a number of start-ups are also working on A.I. chips, hoping to grab their piece of the rapidly expanding market. The tech research firm IDC predicts that revenue from servers equipped with alternative chips will reach $6.8 billion by 2021, about 10 percent of the overall server market.

Across Microsoft’s global network of machines, Mr. Burger pointed out, alternative chips are still a relatively modest part of the operation. And Bart Sano, the vice president of engineering who leads hardware and software development for Google’s network, said much the same about the chips deployed at its data centers.

Mike Mayberry, who leads Intel Labs, played down the shift toward alternative processors, perhaps because Intel controls more than 90 percent of the data-center market, making it by far the largest seller of traditional chips. He said that if central processors were modified the right way, they could handle new tasks without added help.

But this new breed of silicon is spreading rapidly, and Intel is increasingly a company in conflict with itself. It is in some ways denying that the market is changing, but nonetheless shifting its business to keep up with the change.

Two years ago, Intel spent $16.7 billion to acquire Altera, which builds the programmable chips that Microsoft uses. It was Intel’s largest acquisition ever. Last year, the company paid a reported $408 million buying Nervana, a company that was exploring a chip just for executing neural networks. Now, led by the Nervana team, Intel is developing a dedicated chip for training and executing neural networks.

“They have the traditional big-company problem,” said Bill Coughran, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital who spent nearly a decade helping to oversee Google’s online infrastructure, referring to Intel. “They need to figure out how to move into the new and growing areas without damaging their traditional business.”

Intel’s internal conflict is most apparent when company officials discuss the decline of Moore’s Law. During a recent interview with The New York Times, Naveen Rao, the Nervana founder and now an Intel executive, said Intel could squeeze “a few more years” out of Moore’s Law. Officially, the company’s position is that improvements in traditional chips will continue well into the next decade.

Mr. Mayberry of Intel also argued that the use of additional chips was not new. In the past, he said, computer makers used separate chips for tasks like processing audio.

But now the scope of the trend is significantly larger. And it is changing the market in new ways. Intel is competing not only with chipmakers like Nvidia and Qualcomm, but also with companies like Google and Microsoft.

Google is designing the second generation of its T.P.U. chips. Later this year, the company said, any business or developer that is a customer of its cloud-computing service will be able to use the new chips to run its software.

While this shift is happening mostly inside the massive data centers that underpin the internet, it is probably a matter of time before it permeates the broader industry.

The hope is that this new breed of mobile chip can help devices handle more, and more complex, tasks on their own, without calling back to distant data centers: phones recognizing spoken commands without accessing the internet; driverless cars recognizing the world around them with a speed and accuracy that is not possible now.

In other words, a driverless car needs cameras and radar and lasers. But it also needs a brain.

Lurid Lawsuit’s Quiet End Leaves Silicon Valley Start-Up Barely Dented

SAN FRANCISCO — At Upload, the parties never seemed to stop.

The start-up began by hosting impromptu gatherings to promote virtual reality as the next big thing. It quickly became an entertainment and news hub for the VR industry, hosting hundreds of events. The crowds were young and eager to network. Models did demos, and the liquor flowed.

The freewheeling atmosphere was not restricted to the evening hours. There was a “rampant sexual behavior and focus” in the Upload office that created “an unbearable environment,” a former employee, Elizabeth Scott, said in a lawsuit filed in May.

Elizabeth Scott, a former employee of Upload, sued the start-up in May, claiming “an unbearable environment.”

Ms. Scott said in her suit that the Upload office had a room with a bed “to encourage sexual intercourse at the workplace.” It was referred to as the kink room. Men who worked for the company were described in the suit as frequently talking about being so sexually aroused by female colleagues that it was impossible to concentrate. When Ms. Scott, Upload’s digital media manager, complained about the hostile atmosphere and other issues in March with her supervisor, she was fired, the suit said.

In a statement after the suit was filed, Upload said that “our employees are our greatest asset” and that “these allegations are entirely without merit.” The company said Upload’s chief executive, Taylor Freeman, and president, Will Mason, could not discuss the lawsuit and its specifics. On Friday, as this article neared publication, the men issued another statement that said, “We let you down and we are sorry.”

At a time when Silicon Valley is filled with tales of harassment and discrimination against women — just this week, the chief executive of the lending start-up Social Finance resigned amid accusations of sexual misbehavior — the purported behavior at Upload stands out. Ms. Scott said in the suit that while she was at a conference in San Jose, Calif., Mr. Freeman kicked her out of her room in Upload’s rented house so he could use it for sex.

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If the claims were striking, so was the response.

In contrast to the venture capitalists who were knocked off their perches this summer by harassment complaints, Upload was scarcely dented by the publicity surrounding Ms. Scott’s suit. Mr. Freeman and Mr. Mason were not forced to resign. Investors did not pull their money. The company’s events continued, if in terms that were a bit more muted.

A few weeks ago, the suit was crossed off Upload’s to-do list when it was quietly settled for a modest sum, said two people with knowledge of the case who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Both sides had an incentive to come to terms: Upload could say the problem was now in its past, and Ms. Scott, 26, got a victory of sorts without the risk of going to trial.

Shortly after Ms. Scott filed her suit, at least a half-dozen members of Upload’s team quit in solidarity, but they did not go public with their complaints. (At its peak, the company had about 20 to 25 employees.) In interviews, two of those who left described what happened but said that even though they were now working elsewhere, they did not want their names used.

“A lot of people were afraid to be in the media,” said another former employee, Danny Bittman, who broke his silence with a piece in Medium this week in support of Ms. Scott. “We were scared of everything that was happening.”

Behind the scenes, in members-only Facebook groups and other forums, the virtual reality industry is still roiled. People have opinions, they just do not want to be caught uttering them.

“People privately assumed the worst — that the Upload allegations are all true,” said Kent Bye, who does a popular industry podcast, Voices of VR. “Or they assumed the opposite — that the allegations are salacious, crazy and can be ignored. Regardless, they don’t want to risk their career by publicly talking about a connecting node for the entire industry.”

In more than two dozen interviews for this story, even those inclined to see Upload in the most favorable light said it was the story of a company run by young, immature men who were flush with cash and did not know how to handle their power.

That is true of many Silicon Valley start-ups. Some grow out of it. Others, like Uber — which fired 20 employees this year in a harassment scandal that ultimately pushed out much of its top management team — do not until they are forced to.

The situation at Upload was particularly fraught because its principal product was parties. In the great tradition of Silicon Valley start-ups, the company was less interested in making a profit than in getting attention, said former employees. So the line between work and play, often fuzzy, was entirely erased.

The existence of the kink room became the enduring symbol of Upload as soon as Ms. Scott filed her suit. Employees of the porn site Kink.com came to an early Upload party and left behind a sign, said two people with knowledge of the events. It became the name of a room toward the front of the office, a narrow chamber equipped with a bed.

“There was a lack of leadership to cultivate a healthy work environment, and investors who failed to take a more active role in oversight,” Mr. Bye said. “The only way to resolve these sorts of problems is to confront them head on, and that is precisely what no one seemed prepared to do.”

Tech’s Fresh Start

Upload was founded in 2014 as entrepreneurs — many of them women — flocked to virtual reality. There was a feeling of vast potential in the young industry, a sense of being able to make a mark by moving quickly and meeting the right people.

Upload was the place to do it. Two of the founders — a third had dropped out — were in their mid-20s, with energy and ideas but not many credentials. Mr. Freeman, the chief executive, listed “backpacking in Europe” and “freelance user experience designer” on his résumé.

Before becoming Upload’s president, Mr. Mason was an intern at a Florida design studio. A 2014 graduate of Stetson University in Florida, he began an online petition at Change.org in 2015 to remove the school’s first female president, Wendy Libby, labeling her “cancer.” The petition got little support.

“I tend to be fairly passionate about things and wear my heart on my sleeve,” Mr. Mason explained in an email about his petition. “Looking back, there are definitely ways I would handle this differently.”

Although Upload’s ambitions were ill-defined, the company was popular from the start. It quickly raised $1.25 million. One of its most prominent early investors was Joe Kraus, a Silicon Valley veteran who is now at GV, Alphabet’s venture capital arm. Mr. Kraus, who invested $25,000 of his own money in Upload, was described by the company as an adviser. He declined to be interviewed.

Larger sums came from Shanda Group in China and, in a second funding round of $4.5 million, Colopl, a Japanese mobile gaming company. Colopl’s Shintaro Yamakami is the only non-Upload employee on the company’s board. A spokeswoman for Mr. Yamakami said he was currently “refraining from public relations activity.” A spokeswoman for Shanda, an investment firm, said, “We do not have comments to offer.”

Ms. Scott joined Upload in April 2016. She had graduated in 2012 from Emory University, where she was president of a group called the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention.

She declined to be interviewed. Her mother, Jenny Scott of Gainesville, Fla., said, “Elizabeth had several incidents growing up that targeted her physical safety and developed her sense of right and wrong.”

Ms. Scott, whose Facebook page describes her as “short, sassy & blonde. Take it or leave it,” managed the stories generated by Upload’s writing team on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, produced videos and handled relationships with software developers.

She said in the suit that she had other work, too: The women at Upload were required to do what were called “womanly tasks,” including cleaning up. They were also told to act like “mommies” to the men and help them with whatever they needed.

The suit presented a portrait of a deeply entitled male culture, one that clashed with the fresh start VR seemed to offer the tech industry. But Ms. Scott’s suit was the second in the virtual reality industry in just a few months to present such an unwelcoming picture.

Magic Leap, a VR start-up backed by Google and other high-profile investors, had been sued in February by a woman who said in her complaint that she had been hired to make the company more diverse and friendly to women.

The woman, Tannen Campbell, said in court papers that she had challenged Magic Leap “to acknowledge the depths of misogyny” in its culture that “renders it so dysfunctional” it threatened the company. The suit accused the company of gender discrimination and retaliation, which Magic Leap denied. It was settled in May.

Across the tech industry, sexual harassment appears to be ingrained. While the research is largely anecdotal and fragmentary, Chloe Hart, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Stanford University, said the subject came up often in 27 in-depth interviews she had with female engineers about their social interactions at work.

Two-thirds of the women, Ms. Hart said, had experienced unwanted sexual interactions, such as being groped or kissed, or hearing comments about the physical attractiveness of women colleagues and sexual jokes or references that made them uncomfortable. One-third talked about men they worked with expressing romantic interest that was not reciprocated.

This and other surveys suggest that in some ways, Silicon Valley has not evolved much over 50 years, even as more and younger women arrived.

Some young women said they did not expect much from Silicon Valley. Amanda Joan, a VR developer, said the “misogynistic and lewd culture” described in Ms. Scott’s suit was as common to Silicon Valley as heavy traffic and expensive housing.

“If I were to boycott every organization that exhibited such culture and behavior (publicly or behind closed doors), I would be severely limited in my options,” Ms. Joan wrote on LinkedIn last month. “Honestly, I wouldn’t hold my breath that there would be any left unless I moved to Wonder Woman’s home island.”

‘A Boisterous Culture’

About 11 months after Ms. Scott joined Upload, Ms. Scott said in her suit, she complained to a supervisor about the office atmosphere, about being shunned by Mr. Freeman and Mr. Mason and about being paid less for equal work and forced to perform menial and demeaning tasks. She was subsequently fired.

That was in March, after Mr. Freeman and Mr. Mason had been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of rising stars.

All the success on the surface masked a workplace where, one former employee said, “women are seen as the candy in the room.” At Upload events, VR technology was demonstrated by women hired from a company called Models in Tech. Ms. Scott’s suit said the founders tried to secure “submissive Asian women” for a fund-raising trip to Asia.

“Upload was a boisterous culture, a ‘bro’ culture,” said another former employee, Greg Gopman, in an interview. “Virtual reality is hyped and no one was hyping it more than Upload. Within the industry, they were loved for giving people attention in the most positive way. They had a lot of clout and were able to act as they wanted until someone called them out.”

Mr. Gopman, 33, is mentioned in Ms. Scott’s suit. Other male employees, the suit said, would talk about how he “refuses to wear a condom” and “has had sex with over 1,000 people.”

When asked about being mentioned in the suit, Mr. Gopman, who has drawn attention in tech circles before for criticizing homeless people, said he was not happy about it. “How am I going to get married some day if I have to explain that?” he asked. Upload declined to comment on its former employee.

Mr. Freeman, the chief executive, said in an interview that the company was moving on. The lesson he learned, he said, was that employees need to talk more, and that especially in times of trouble they need someone to hear their complaints. Under the agreement to end Ms. Scott’s suit, Mr. Freeman was precluded from discussing it.

“A lot of things could be avoided if there is an open line of communication,” he said. “Once you have five people, male or female, at a start-up you need external HR. Not having someone to go talk to about your potential concerns just makes it so much worse.”

He added, “We’re the strongest as a company that we’ve ever been because of this.”

As for Ms. Scott, she now works for a camera company. She told friends that she had numerous interviews with VR companies, but as soon as they found out she had filed suit against her previous employer, they all declined to hire her.

Sheriff’s Badge

A woman runs Upload now. Kind of.

Anne Ahola Ward, a specialist in increasing internet traffic, was a consultant to Upload. In June, when many of the employees were quitting, she proposed taking over. Her title is chief operating officer.

“Anne has had a lot of experience, and experience is a huge thing,” Mr. Freeman said. He demurred when asked whether she was the “adult supervision” that all start-ups are said to need. “We’re all adults here,” he said.

Ms. Ward, 38, is wry about the opportunity.

“I’m a woman in Silicon Valley,” she said. “Do you think someone would have handed me the keys to a start-up that wasn’t beleaguered?” Her husband asked the obvious question: Why aren’t you the chief executive? “The title isn’t important to me,” she said.

The kink room is now Ms. Ward’s office. There is no bed there. She has instituted mandatory anti-harassment training: a two-hour session led by an outside consultant. There is now a human resources department. People have formal job descriptions. And as a joke — but not quite — people in the office gave Ms. Ward a sheriff’s badge.

Correction: September 15, 2017

An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported Elizabeth Scott’s age. She is 26, not 27.

Bitcoin is really a fraud which will inflate, states JP Morgan boss

Bitcoin is really a fraud which will ultimately inflate, based on JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon, who stated digital currency was just fit to be used by drug dealers, murderers and individuals residing in places for example North Korea.

Speaking in a conference in New You are able to, in charge of America’s greatest bank stated he’d fire “in a second” anybody in the investment bank discovered to be buying and selling in bitcoin. “For two reasons: it’s against our rules, and they’re stupid. And both of them are harmful.”

Q&A

What’s bitcoin and it is it a poor investment?

Q&ampA

Bitcoin may be the first, and also the greatest, “cryptocurrency” – a decentralised tradable digital asset. It could be a bad investment may be the $70bn question (literally, since this is the current worth of all bitcoins around). Bitcoin are only able to be utilized for a medium of exchange as well as in practice continues to be much more essential for the dark economy of computer has for many legitimate uses. The possible lack of any central authority makes bitcoin remarkably resilient to censorship, corruption – or regulation. Which means it’s attracted a variety of backers, from libertarian monetarists who enjoy the thought of a currency without any inflation with no central bank, to drug dealers who choose the truth that it’s difficult (although not impossible) to follow a bitcoin transaction to an actual person.

He added: “The currency isn’t likely to work. You cannot possess a business where individuals can invent a currency from nothing and believe that those who are purchasing it are actually smart.

“If you had been in Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea or a lot of parts like this, or you were a medication dealer, a killer, things like that, you’re best doing the work in bitcoin than $ $ $ $,Inches he stated. “So there might be an industry for your, but it might be a restricted market.”

Bitcoin is really a virtual currency that emerged as a direct consequence from the economic crisis. It enables individuals to bypass banks and traditional payment processes to cover products or services. Banks along with other banking institutions happen to be worried about bitcoin’s early associations with money washing an internet-based crime, and contains not been adopted by government.

bitcoin

It’s greater than quadrupled in value since December, hitting about $4,700 recently before falling back. It fell by about 5% after Dimon’s comments on Wednesday to below $4,000.

“It is worse than tulip bulbs,” Dimon stated, talking about a famous market bubble in the 1600s. He predicted big losses for individuals purchasing bitcoin. “Don’t ask me to short it. It may be at $20,000 before happens, but it’ll eventually inflate,Inches he stated. “Honestly, I’m just shocked that anybody can’t view it for what it’s.Inches

However, the banker revealed his daughter had bought bitcoin: “It increased and she or he thinks she’s a genius now.”

A week ago, Lady Mone launched a significant property rise in Dubai, priced in bitcoins, saying digital currency would be a growing market that may ‘t be overlooked.

a London property developer is allowing its tenants to pay for their deposits in bitcoin – the very first time the cryptocurrency has been utilized within the United kingdom residential homes market.

Through the finish of the year the Collective may also accept rent payments within the virtual currency. It stated the move was as a result of demand predominantly from worldwide customers.

Dimon’s critique from the currency coincided having a warning in the United kingdom financial regulator against a speculative craze in initial gold coin choices (ICOs), where internet start-ups are funded by investors using cryptocurrencies for example bitcoin.

Within an ICO, a trader pays in bitcoins to acquire a “coin” or “token” that’s essentially their be part of the firm.

The FCA stated anybody purchasing ICOs should be ready to lose all of their money. “ICOs are extremely high-risk, speculative investments,” it stated. “You should take heed to the potential risks involved … and eager to get rid of your whole stake.”

Yann Quelenn, an analyst in the online bank Swissquote, stated bitcoin “still has great potential”.

“We believe it is a potential safe place. Less than .01% from the world’s population includes a bitcoin wallet,” he stated. “If this could achieve 1%, the interest in bitcoin would skyrocket, since there are only 18m coins available.

“Cryptocurrencies really are a new asset class, one at war with fiat [paper] money, which war is going to be fought against on regulatory issues. Central banks want to preserve their monopoly on money, something they’re not going to forget about with no fight.”

Leader of Social Finance, a web-based Lending Start-Up, to Step Lower

Social Finance, a web-based loan provider that is among the more prominent financial technology start-ups, stated on Monday that it is co-founder and leader Mike Cagney planned to step lower through the finish of the season.

The resignation follows a suit over claims of sexual harassment in the Bay Area-based start-up, which is called SoFi. Several former employees stated that Mr. Cagney, 46, had inappropriate relationships with SoFi employees, which helped foment a toxic workplace culture.

Additionally, Mr. Cagney might have been overaggressive in expanding SoFi’s business, skirting risk and compliance controls, stated individuals with understanding from the situation, who requested to not be named because they weren’t approved to talk openly.

Inside a letter to employees, sent on Monday evening, Mr. Cagney authored that “the mixture of HR-related litigation and negative press have grown to be a distraction in the company’s core mission.” Mr. Cagney is walking lower as both leader and chairman, and the organization stated it’d begun searching to locate a new chief.

SoFi joins a summary of other technology start-ups that are also coping with workplace culture issues. This season, Uber, the ride-hailing company located in Bay Area, has grappled with claims of sexual harassment and questions over its business tactics, leading to a lot of it senior leaders — including its leader, Travis Kalanick — departing their positions. (Mr. Kalanick wasn’t personally charged with sexual harassment.) Vc’s who finance start-ups also have faced questions over sexual harassment of ladies entrepreneurs in recent several weeks.

The episodes have tarnished the look of Plastic Valley’s start-up ecosystem — that has lengthy colored itself like a host to innovation, ideas and progressive workplaces — also it raises concerns about whether these start-ups as well as their investors operate within sufficient quantity of constraints.

A spokesman for SoFi disputed the concept the organization had on an excessive amount of risk in the business. The spokesman also stated the board investigated a between Mr. Cagney, a married father of two, along with a former worker this year, also it found no proof of an intimate or sexual relationship. The organization arrived at funds following the analysis.

Mr. Cagney didn’t immediately react to an e-mail requesting comment.

SoFi began this year and started by providing online refinancing the loans of scholars. Since that time, it’s branched to offer mortgages and private loans, also it lately started the entire process of trying to get a banking license. The independently held company, that is worth greater than $4 billion, has elevated nearly $2 billion from investors, including SoftBank, Discovery Capital and Baseline Ventures.

For a long time, SoFi was heralded like a fast-growing start-in the financial technology industry, referred to as fintech. But questions began to come to light concerning the company’s workplace this season when SoFi was sued in August with a former worker at its primary satellite office, in Healdsburg, Calif. The worker stated he have been fired after complaining about managers sexually harassing their subordinates. SoFi stated this month it had become beginning an analysis in to the claims.

The suit didn’t initially name Mr. Cagney, but he was later added like a defendant. He’s accused within the suit of “empowering other managers to take part in sexual conduct at work.Inches

Interactive Feature Thinking about Everything Tech? The Bits e-newsletter could keep you updated around the latest from Plastic Valley and also the technology industry.

The main executive has lengthy been the touchstone of the organization and it is most character. Based on interviews using more than 30 people acquainted with the organization, Mr. Cagney frequently overstepped business and personal limitations. The folks requested to remain anonymous because they weren’t approved to go over the problem openly.

This Year, for instance, Mr. Cagney sent sexually explicit texts for an executive assistant named Laura Munoz, based on five individuals who saw the messages or discussed all of them with Mr. Cagney and Ms. Munoz. Several weeks later, the organization and board decided to pay Ms. Munoz a $75,000 settlement.

Ivo Labar, an attorney representing Ms. Munoz, stated matters were resolved between her and SoFi and declined further comment.

That very same year, Mr. Cagney went after rapport with another worker, and three colleagues stated they saw them holding hands.

The SoFi spokesman stated that the organization didn’t discuss personnel matters.

In SoFi’s loan business, a minumum of one from the company’s initial products might not have been what it really made an appearance. Based on interviews, sales documents and correspondence between investors and company executives, the organization stated it’d elevated $90 million indebted financing for among the loan items that it offered to investors this year.

That financing never required place. Some executives were upset concerning the misrepresentation towards the company’s sales teams and also to the investors. The problem was introduced towards the board, which made no changes.

SoFi eventually bought the loans away from investors. SoFi’s spokesman stated that “no consumers were injured within the process” of rectifying the problem.

Inside a statement on Monday, SoFi stated it funded $3.1 billion in loans within the second quarter, producing greater than $134 million in revenue. The organization stated it’d given greater than $20 billion to greater than 350,000 borrowers.

The organization also stated on Monday that Mr. Cagney could be replaced immediately because the company’s chairman by another board member, Tom Hutton, who’s an earlier investor in SoFi.

Mr. Cagney, a local from the Philadelphia area, majored in financial aspects in the College of California, Santa Cruz, before beginning his career at Wells Fargo. After climbing the ranks towards the buying and selling desk there, he left to start their own financial software company, after which their own hedge fund, Cabezon, in 2005. Quietly, he attended the company school at Stanford.

SoFi was produced this year by Mr. Cagney and 4 co-founders, all whom have been classmates at Stanford. Right from the start, Mr. Cagney clearly ran the show. But his behavior made an appearance to consider a toll around the people around him, and the co-founders left the organization one at a time. Now, Mr. Cagney is placed to follow along with them.

“I believe now’s the best here we are at SoFi to begin the quest for a brand new leader,” Mr. Cagney stated inside a statement. “I couldn’t become more happy with the organization we’ve built together, and that i expect to passing the baton to a different C.E.O. who are able to continue SoFi’s mission of revolutionizing personal finance, helping our people to obtain ahead and discover financial success.”

Can a Giant Science Fair Transform Kazakhstan’s Economy?

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — By day, the huge and gleaming sphere looks like the spaceship of aliens who may not have come in peace. At night, it blinks out a playful pattern of colors and boosterish slogans on its high-tech outer skin — a few parts light show, a few parts bumper sticker.

Known officially as the Nur Alem, the imposing silver globe is the symbol and centerpiece of Kazakhstan’s latest attempt at an “Open For Business” sign. Five years ago, the country won the rights to stage what is essentially the world’s largest science fair. More than 100 nations built pavilions on a once-empty corner of this capital city. The Kazakh government chipped in a reported $3 billion, and, after an 11th-hour, all-hands push, met a June 10 deadline to open Expo 2017.

The theme of the fair, which closes on Sunday, is “Future Energy.” That may sound like a stab at humor given that oil, gas and metals are the lifeblood of the country. But guided by the hand of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first and, so far, only president of this former Soviet Republic, Kazakhstan is trying for a dramatic economic makeover.

The country does not want to merely sell off state-owned assets. The goal is to wean the nation from a dependence on natural resources and to transform it into a financial hub, the Dubai of Central Asia. There are plans for a new stock exchange overseen by an independent judicial system. Tech start-ups will get the come-hither, too, with the hope of giving rise to Kazakhstan’s own version of Silicon Valley.

All of this will take foreign investors, and not enough of them have reached for their checkbooks yet. As a share of the country’s gross domestic product, net foreign investment has dropped to 3.5 percent, from a high of 13 percent in 2004, the World Bank reports.

Experts say that, despite talk of reform and transparency, Kazakhstan is still quietly controlled by shifting alliances among elites, all of them angling for prestige and riches in a soap opera scripted by the president. “You have to carefully assess who your Kazakh partners are and where they fit into the elite structure,” said Livia Paggi, a director at GPW, a political risk firm. “They can be bright and well connected, but if they fall out of political favor and lose their status, your business is at serious risk. In the worst case scenario, your asset could be seized.”

When Mr. Nazarbayev, 77, isn’t refereeing the never-ending tournament of clans, he is the nation’s stern and loving grandfather, a ruler whose style might be described as autocrat lite. He has many of the trappings of an old-school authoritarian, including a self-mythologizing museum, a spotty record on human rights and a glaring absence of genuine political opposition. The last time he ran for re-election, in 2015, he won 98 percent of the vote — a figure so high that he apologized the next day.

“But I could do nothing,” he said, during an Orwellian press conference at the time. “If I had intervened, I would have looked undemocratic, right?”

Nonetheless, Mr. Nazarbayev has devoted much of his political life to expanding Kazakhstan’s middle class, which has grown from just 9 percent of the population in the mid-2000s to 33 percent in 2014, according to the World Bank. To his people and to investors, he offers both opportunity and stability — at least for now. He has never articulated a plan of succession, a pressing matter given what the actuarial tables would say about a man who toiled for years as a steelworker in Ukraine, breathing dust and gas near a blast furnace.

Then there is Kazakhstan’s branding problem. Although it is wedged between China and Russia and has a land mass roughly four times the state of Texas, few outside the commodities business could pin it on a map. It is forever lumped with the other “stans” in the neighborhood, which are repressive by comparison. Kazakhstan’s big international breakout moment came as the butt of jokes by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who played Borat, a bigoted and clueless Kazakh, in a 2006 mockumentary.

Expo 2017 is a splashy attempt to change that image. Kazakhstan beat out Belgium for the rights to host the “specialized expo,” essentially a slightly scaled-down world’s fair. Most of the visitors are tourists, but the key audience here are business executives, government leaders and anyone else who could sink real money into a country that is eager to diversify.

Much is riding on the event. Too much, perhaps, given that it is in a city as remote and singular as Astana and devoted to a subject as bland as “future energy.” How many Westerners packed up their families and said, “Let’s fly to Kazakhstan and learn about biomass fuel”?

Very few, judging from three days spent walking the grounds not long ago.

Multimedia Infomercials

Most people enter Expo through the Mega Silk Way, a 1.5 million-square-foot mall. It is filled with Kazakhstan’s answers to Western staples: a restaurant that looks like Applebee’s, a computer retailer that resembles an Apple store. Anyone yearning for local flavor can dine at Rumi, with traditional decorations on the walls and horse meat on the menu.

The fairgrounds look pristine, and touring the premises is like strolling through an updated United Nations as reimagined by a big box retailer. Many countries used their pavilions for elaborate, multimedia infomercials. Vietnam promoted its economy, Georgia extolled its wine and Belarus went for a hard-core real estate spiel, pitching a huge industrial park it is building with the Chinese.

In an effort to appear environmentally minded, Saudi Arabia showed a film on an IMAX-size screen with a montage that included men drinking bottled water and the words, “We sustain.” Thailand highlighted the energy uses of animal waste, with the life-size rear end of an animatronic elephant, complete with a waggling tail, hovering over a convincing reproduction of a large dung patty.

“No step,” an unnecessary sign nearby said.

For sheer production values, Russia’s pavilion was hard to beat, although it was essentially a long claim to the rights to mine natural resources in the Arctic — something that seemed wildly tin-eared in this setting. The country even displayed a block of “old arctic ice,” which, after watching films of melting floes all over Expo, made you want to yell, “Put it back!”

The true ambitions behind Expo will only become apparent after it ends. The plan is to transform several of the buildings into Kazakhstan’s Wall Street. The main attraction of the Astana International Financial Centre will be a stock exchange, created in partnership with Nasdaq, and a legal center for addressing financial disputes, to be governed by British common law.

The financial center goes beyond what has been tried here before. But Kazakhstan already has a stock exchange, and it has talked about selling off a greater share of state-owned assets in the past. To foreign investors, this new plan sounds very familiar. What has changed, government officials say, is the context.

“When the price of oil was $100 a barrel, it was difficult to convince anyone to think another way,” said Kairat Kelimbetov, governor of the financial center. “The price of oil is $50 a barrel, and we don’t think it is ever coming back. Now is the time to wake up.”

For years, Kazakhstan had a terrible case of the resource curse, Mr. Kelimbetov said, referring to the paradoxical plague of the easy money that can come to any country with fortunes that are simply buried in the ground. But the curse is over here, and so far, that has brought only new curses.

After growing for years, Kazakhstan’s middle class is shrinking, and the poverty rate has inched close to 20 percent, up from 16 percent in 2014, a World Bank report says. Average monthly wages, which now equal about $421, have fallen slightly for two years straight.

A series of sudden drops in the value of the Kazakh currency, the tenge, helped drive the inflation rate to 14 percent last year and added to the pain. The worst of the drops occurred in 2015, after the country’s central bank introduced a free floating exchange rate. The tenge fell 25 percent against the dollar in a single day.

For an economy that soared by 13 percent soon after the turn of the century, the 1 percent rise in G.D.P. last year was a dismal comedown. The problem is that Kazakhstan remains addicted to oil and gas, which now account for nearly 60 percent of all exported goods and services. Sanctions against Russia, which has long been Kazakhstan’s main trading partner, have hurt too.

The country has hired advisers, including Tony Blair Associates, the consulting firm led by the former British prime minister, to reform its economy and make it more welcoming to Western investors. On paper, the efforts have paid off: The country rose 16 spots, to 35th in world, in one year on the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business rankings.

Other lists are less flattering to Kazakhstan: It tied with Russia for 131st on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. The problem goes well beyond perceptions, as Expo 2017 itself demonstrated. The man initially in charge of the project, Talgat Ermegiyayev, was arrested in 2015, and then tried and convicted of embezzlement. The case startled the public, in part because Mr. Ermegiyayev’s family had a long personal relationship and business ties to the president and his children.

The case looked, to all the world, like a crackdown, and proof that Mr. Nazarbayev would no longer tolerate impropriety, even by insiders. But little about Kazakhstan’s gilded clans is straightforward.

Vera Kobalia, Expo’s former deputy chairwoman, said in an interview that the public account of Mr. Ermegiyayev’s fall was a charade. Reached by phone at her new job in Indonesia, she said that Mr. Ermegiyayev’s troubles began when an executive from a music channel in Russia asked Expo to advertise and sponsor an awards show.

Nyet, said Expo staff members. The marketing budget had already been entirely allocated.

So the Russian executive called a member of the president’s inner circle, who then called Expo employees, Ms. Kobalia said. Mr. Ermegiyayev had no choice. The twist is that the deal with the music channel was used against Mr. Ermegiyayev at his embezzlement trial.

“Ermegiyayev was really a scapegoat to write off the funds that disappeared during the first phase of construction of Expo,” said Ms. Kobalia, a former minister of the economy in Georgia, who quit her job at Expo after little more than a month. “I personally told him to speak openly in the court or to journalists about everything he knew, but he believed until the last minute that the president would save him.”

Novelty and Scale

The bold, attention-seeking gesture that is Expo is actually dwarfed by the bold, attention-seeking city where Expo is being held. Astana is Mr. Nazarbayev’s most improbable creation. In 1994, he announced that the nation’s capital would move 755 miles north from its original seat, Almaty, a city dense with history, culture and people.

The decision seemed ludicrous at first. Before bureaucrats started to relocate in droves, Astana was a crumbling outpost in the middle of the windswept steppe, swarming with mosquitoes in the summer and a tormenting 20 degrees below zero for much of the winter. There was one hotel and one restaurant.

Construction has yet to end, and clearly, the subtle charm of a walkable metropolis is not to Mr. Nazarbayev’s taste. He likes his streets wide and his buildings striking, ornate and spread around like they fell off a Monopoly board. Some look like they have been collected, souvenir-style, from all over the world. You drive down a street and think: That looks just like the home of the Bolshoi Ballet.

“That’s exactly what it is,” a guide explains.

More specifically, it is a rendering of the original in Moscow, repurposed for the nearly 700,000-square-foot Astana Opera House. Moscow also inspired the neo-Stalinist Triumph Astana, home to offices, shops and apartments and a dead ringer for the Triumph Palace in Moscow.

Elsewhere, there are structures fashioned after Chinese pagodas, Indian mausoleums, Ottoman mosques and the pyramids of Egypt. The white marble presidential palace looks like the White House, if the White House had a blue dome and were set in an industrial park.

For sheer quirkiness, nothing touches the 350-foot Bayterek Tower, which local residents have nicknamed Chupa Chups because of its resemblance to a lollipop. It offers a panoramic view of Astana and a podium where visitors can place a hand over a golden mold of Mr. Nazarbayev’s meaty palm. For a time, upon contact, Kazakhstan’s national anthem would suddenly blast from loudspeakers, at a volume loud enough to make people wonder if they had been punked.

Astana is what you get when a city builder with money to spare tries desperately to wow through novelty and scale. Or maybe it is an effort to compensate for Kazakhstan’s years of obscurity, when the czars of Imperial Russia, and then the premiers of the Soviet Union, all but sealed this place off from the world.

A few of the empire’s most famous undesirables spent part of their exile here: Fyodor Dostoyevsky after he ticked offNicholas I, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn after he ticked off Stalin. When it wasn’t used for state-mandated timeouts, Kazakhstan was the Soviet Union’s location of choice for outsize Cold War projects. Most lethally, it was where nuclear weapons were tested by the dozens, with shockingly little regard for basic safeguards, like evacuating residents.

When Kazakhstan achieved independence, in 1991, it aspired to create a presidential democracy based on the French model. But Mr. Nazarbayev, who rose to power through the Soviet ranks, has always seemed to have one foot in the system that created him and another in a system he hopes to create.

On the positive side, the Nazarbayev era has been relatively free of ethnic or religious strife. About 70 percent of Kazakhs are Muslims, and there are gorgeous mosques all over Astana. But the country is officially secular. A high premium is placed here on tolerance.

The influence of the Soviet system shines through in discussions about who will govern next, understandably a topic of constant speculation. Occasionally, names of potential successors are floated in the newspaper: A daughter! A nephew! A mayor! Whether these are legitimate candidates or people being backstabbed by rivals is unclear. It is no secret that Mr. Nazarbayev punishes anyone he believes is vying for his chair.

He has also nurtured the sort of cult of personality that crops up only around despots. If that cult has a headquarters it is the Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a building stuffed with more than 40,000 objects from Mr. Nazarbayev’s life. One room is devoted to his nomadic, horseback riding ancestors. Less is said about his father, a shepherd.

Plenty of Kazakhs roll their eyes at all of this. But the question here is always, “Compared to what?” Compared to Turkmenistan, this country is free and prosperous. Compared to France, it is not.

To Westerners, the economy has long seemed like a casino where the games are mostly rigged. Ten to 20 alliances control every financial venture worth backing. The trick is getting their attention.

“This is a country where everything is possible,” veterans of business here like to say, “and everything is impossible.”

Promises for Capitalism

While tourists traipsed through pavilions, a parallel Expo was unfolding above their heads. The second floor of many of the buildings were hosting panel discussions that doubled as schmoozing opportunities. An event titled “Transforming the Financial Services of Kazakhstan” was held one afternoon in a conference room above Britain’s pavilion. An audience of about 20 men and women in suits listened to upbeat projections about how Kazakhstan could become the financial technology center of a new Silk Road.

The only skeptical note came from an earnest young man named Bekarys Nurumbetov, who is leads the marketing department of Kazakhtelecom, the nation’s phone and broadband goliath. After the session, he explained why he was not buying all the happy talk.

“There are no financial tech companies entering Kazakhstan,” he said, sipping bottled water over a plate of canapés. “They’re not interested in a business with low margins and high cost and competing with banks that are supported by the government.”

The problem is not corruption. “The government is O.K. with the way things are now,” Mr. Nurumbetov explained. “And the banks don’t want change because they don’t want to lose market share.”

Banks don’t trust consumers, he continued, and consumers don’t trust credit cards. So e-commerce companies, for example, face high and baffling hurdles.

Consider the case of Lamoda, a website that sells high-end fashion. When Alexios Shaw helped start it in 2011, he did not need just good-quality clothing and an efficient warehouse. He needed 100 couriers across the country to deliver products — and to make change.

“It was a cash on delivery business,” Mr. Shaw said. “Instead of paying in advance with a credit card, everyone paid with cash. You can’t use FedEx or the post office and leave a box at the door.”

Delivering pants the same way that Domino’s delivers pizza is a challenge. Couriers end up with thousands of dollars worth of bills at day’s end, a logistical hassle beyond the issue of trust. Just as bad, customers try on clothing while couriers wait and hand back what they don’t want. That is not simply time consuming.

“The biggest problem was having a ton of goods out of stock,” Mr. Shaw said. “A lot of inventory was just sort of flying around Siberia.”

Several conversations like this reveal the vast gap between the country as it is now marketed and the country as it actually functions. Which is why Expo brings to mind another of the Soviet Union’s grandiose schemes for Kazakhstan: the Virgin Lands Campaign.

It began in the mid-1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev decided the steppe here could produce enough corn and wheat to match the production of the United States. Millions of acres were sown by hundreds of thousands of workers who poured in from Russia and Ukraine.

Kazakhs could have told their maximum leader that his dreams were doomed. This northern region of Kazakhstan has long been called Akmola, which translates to “white grave,” a reference to the hard and chalky ground beneath the earth’s crust.

The Virgin Lands Campaign found Kazakhstan’s agrarian limits. Expo and its aftermath promise to do the same for capitalism. It will be a challenge, say foreigners here, as tough as the soil.

Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Spreads His Gospel of ‘Radical Transparency’

As thousands of Egyptians took to the streets during the Arab Spring protests of 2011, Ray Dalio, a hedge fund billionaire, decided to sail the Nile River with some friends, including some other financiers.

It was a risky place to be, with the Middle East convulsed, and Mr. Dalio’s trip raised concerns at the Connecticut headquarters of his company, Bridgewater Associates. But his security team couldn’t get him to change his plans, so they set up a special team to track him and his group by GPS, hoping to keep him out of trouble.

You could say that Mr. Dalio was applying one of his very own rules, known internally as Principle 188: “If you make a plan, follow through!”

Over four decades, Mr. Dalio, 68, has built Bridgewater, which has $160 billion in assets, into the largest hedge fund firm in the world — bigger than the next two largest hedge funds combined. He manages money for some of the largest companies, big public pensions, sovereign wealth funds and even some central banks. He has become a financier-statesman, of sorts, consulting with political leaders in China, the Middle East and elsewhere.

He has also built an unusual and confrontational workplace at Bridgewater, where employees hold each other to account by following a strict set of rules that he created, “Principles.” He began developing the rules, which number more than 200, two decades ago based on his life experiences.

Some, like advising employees not to “tolerate badness,” are self-evident. Others — “look for people who sparkle”; “be willing to ‘shoot the people you love’” — are more unconventional.

All of the rules celebrate what Mr. Dalio calls “radical transparency” in the workplace, and the search for the ideal employee. Those ideals stand in stark contrast to Bridgewater’s reputation as particularly secretive when it come to its trading, even for an industry where secrecy about investing is the norm.

Now, Mr. Dalio hopes that others will embrace his ideas about the future of work as he embarks on a big public push to promote his Principles. But is corporate America ready for his sometimes contradictory vision of radical transparency?

On Sept. 19, Simon & Schuster will publish “Principles: Life & Work,” a 567-page book written with editing help from a former GQ magazine writer that combines Mr. Dalio’s rules with a memoir. He is also working on a smartphone app — once called the Book of the Future — to help other business leaders apply the Principles.

The effort to establish Mr. Dalio as a business icon in the vein of Steve Jobs or Warren E. Buffett comes even as questions persist about Bridgewater’s unusual culture. The firm videotapes nearly everything that goes on there for future case studies, and employees are given homework and graded on their understanding of Principles.

In interviews with nearly 50 current and former Bridgewater employees, including several chosen by Mr. Dalio, The New York Times found that he is driven to enforce his rules to ensure that they survive at the firm. Some senior executives have been taken to task in “public hangings” — one of the Principles meant to “deter bad behavior” — when they break the rules. Other employees have been pushed to tears.

The Times also found that Bridgewater’s investment process is largely a secret not only to investors but to most of the firm’s 1,500 employees. No more than a dozen people have a full sense of how the firm trades.

Even employees who left with a positive experience describe a workplace that is rigid and sometimes oppressive.

“Is it a hedge fund, or a social experiment?” said Tim Bradley, a technology consultant who worked at Bridgewater for a year in 2010.

At a time when workplace culture — whether at Silicon Valley start-ups, Wall Street banks or factories — can attract intense public scrutiny, Mr. Dalio’s pitch to other businesses that they can adopt the Bridgewater model could be a tough sell.

Mr. Dalio declined to comment for this article. In the past, he has dismissed criticism of the firm as exaggerations by disgruntled workers and “distorted news.”

Bridgewater, in a statement, said that people either thrived in the firm’s “unique culture” or “they dislike it and decide to move on.”

The Principles at Work

Nestled amid pine trees and hidden from the main road, the serene setting of Bridgewater’s headquarters in Westport, Conn., is beloved by employees. Many also find the work intellectually stimulating.

Plucked from top schools, most of those hired by the firm arrive with little or no expertise in the world of finance. They work hard, and party equally hard at off-site retreats sometimes held at the Lookout, a firm-owned guesthouse where meals are cooked by Bridgewater chefs, or at Mr. Dalio’s house in Vermont.

“Bridgewater definitely changed me and I would say for the better,” says Owen B. Jennings, who was hired as an investment associate in 2011 after graduating from Dartmouth College.

Others describe a darker side of the firm’s culture. Turnover is high — a third of employees are said to leave within the first two years, a figure the firm does not dispute. Some who have left said they became disenchanted with the constant blunt feedback, questioning of their actions, lack of privacy and need to adhere to Mr. Dalio’s rules.

Nearly all of the current and former employees interviewed declined to speak on the record for fear of retribution because of the firm’s strict nondisclosure agreements. The Times reviewed documents from a dozen lawsuits and complaints filed against the firm by former employees, and documents obtained from public agencies through Freedom of Information Act requests.

The picture that emerges is that life at Bridgewater is demanding, with a heavy focus on maintaining Mr. Dalio’s rules.

Interactive Feature | Read a Selection of Principles

Each day, employees are tested and graded on their knowledge of the Principles. They walk around with iPads loaded with the rules and an interactive rating system called “dots” to evaluate peers and supervisors. The ratings feed into each employee’s permanent record, called the “baseball card.”

Two dozen Principles “captains” are responsible for enforcing the rules. Another group, “overseers,” some of whom report to Mr. Dalio, monitor department heads.

The video cameras that record daily interactions for future case studies are so ubiquitous that employees joke about “the men in the walls.”

Meetings occasionally last for hours, sometimes simply because of a debate over why certain subjects are on the agenda or the quality of an employee’s presentation. Workers described being publicly berated for not completing homework assignments related to the firm’s culture or, sometimes, for “below-the-bar thinking.”

In one of the firm’s more memorable case studies — videotaped episodes of events at Bridgewater that employees review and analyze — a female employee burst into tears during a group interrogation. “I have never seen so many smart people in a room who never get anything done,” Mr. Bradley said.

Bridgewater said “it would be misleading to characterize” the firm as a place where employees are publicly berated.

The app that Mr. Dalio is developing will include some videotaped Bridgewater case studies but only ones that employees have agreed can be shared with the outside world.

Mr. Dalio, a devotee of Transcendental Meditation, considers confrontation part of a quest for getting to the truth and determining an employee’s “believability.” Because, as Mr. Dalio once explained in a Principle known in-house as No. 194, only “believable” people “have the right to have opinions.”

James Cordes, who was hired several years ago as an internal adviser to the Bridgewater management committee, said Mr. Dalio, “was a purist; you had to go all in.”

Mr. Dalio has talked about the firm as a place devoid of office politics, where employees don’t talk behind each other’s backs. But some former employees contend Mr. Dalio has simply created a different kind of office politics, one that rewards those who play by his rules.

The firm’s top executives, like Mr. Dalio, see things differently. “This is a deeply analytical place,” said Brian Kreiter, a member of Bridgewater’s management committee. “When something goes wrong in any part of our business it gets debated vigorously with reference to our shared understanding, systems, and principles.”

“We want this place to be an idea meritocracy,” he said.

But in Mr. Dalio’s quest to create an environment that values data, emotional intelligence can be stripped out of business decisions, said Robin Levine, a former employee who now runs a job-matching platform she and another Bridgewater alumna founded. “If you read through the Principles, there is more emphasis on the individual.” Ms. Levine added that working at Bridgewater did foster good interpersonal relationships.

Yet some incidents of raucous behavior at off-site retreats have led employees to complain.

In one 2012 episode, at Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York, several dozen junior associates watched a fireside chat that started in humor, and then took a turn when Greg Jensen, one of Mr. Dalio’s lieutenants and a co-chief investment officer, was asked by another employee to describe the time that he and Mr. Dalio sat naked together in a sauna during a trip to Japan.

After the retreat, several employees said they were made uncomfortable by some of what had gone on that weekend, including skinny dipping and heavy drinking by some who were there.

Three years ago, another top executive took a group of young interns to a strip club. Again, some employees complained about the outing later and the episode became a case study to be discussed internally.

These incidents have spilled into public view over the past year, leading to concern about the firm’s image. The impact on recruiting has become a topic of discussion within the firm, according to an internal document reviewed by The Times. One manager wrote in the document that Bridgewater had become “a place that is difficult to hire for and lukewarm to join.”

Last year, the firm resolved a complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board over its restrictive employment contracts.

Mark Carey, an employment lawyer who has represented five Bridgewater employees in disputes over the past two years, said that Mr. Dalio had created an environment that could deter employees from speaking up about workplace problems.

“This whole transparency and truth-seeking thing is juxtaposed with the fact that they intentionally secretize all interactions with employees from public view,” Mr. Carey said.

Mr. Dalio has acknowledged that the firm’s culture is not for everyone. Of his rules, he writes in his book, “I don’t expect you to follow them blindly.” The firm said, “While there could be some concern that media distortions might impact recruiting, the firm just had one of its best recruiting classes ever.”

Bridgewater also notes that business leaders like Bill Gates and Jamie Dimon have praised Mr. Dalio’s book.

Robert Kegan, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education who spent a week at Bridgewater doing research, likened Mr. Dalio to a great inventor. “Every critical thing you’ve heard about Bridgewater could be true and it still doesn’t take away from the basic project itself,” Professor Kegan said,

Mr. Dalio was contributing to “ as dramatic a transformation as the industrial revolution,” he added, referring to the Bridgewater founder’s vision of the future of work.

Investment Machine

Some hedge fund managers get museum wings named after them for making large donations. Others have hospital wards dedicated in their honor. Mr. Dalio had a species of coral — Eknomisis dalioi — named for him in 2011 because of his involvement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

His beginnings were more humble.

He grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, the son of a jazz musician. He earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Long Island University before heading off to Harvard Business School. After graduating, he landed at a small brokerage firm that was led at the time by Sanford I. Weill, who would later forge Citigroup.

Mr. Dalio didn’t last long. He punched his boss in the face and brought a stripper to a corporate event. He was fired and then formed Bridgewater in 1975, working out of his two-bedroom Manhattan apartment.

He married Barbara Gabaldoni, a descendant of the Whitneys and the Vanderbilts, and the couple moved to Wilton, Conn. For a time, Bridgewater was so small that it was run out of their home.

Early clients included the pension funds for the World Bank and Eastman Kodak. The firm gained a dedicated following on Wall Street because of its deeply researched daily economic note, Daily Observations.

After profiting on the stock market crash of 1987, Mr. Dalio started to become known beyond Wall Street. The next year, he appeared in an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” called “Do foreigners own America?”

In 1991, Bridgewater started one of its flagship funds, Pure Alpha, which makes bets based on the direction of global economic trends. Five years later, it started All Weather, a fund that pioneered a steady, low-risk strategy called risk parity.

As for Principles, the concept flowed from Mr. Dalio’s early practice of jotting down his observations about how markets worked. He moved on to writing down his thoughts on how employees should interact in the workplace.

In the mid-2000s, he had just a few dozen Principles, but the number quickly grew along with Bridgewater’s head count. Ultimately, Mr. Dalio compiled his rules into a little white book. All employees carried hard copies before Principles became available on the firm’s iPads.

It wasn’t until the financial crisis of a decade ago that Bridgewater made the big leagues. The firm saw before most in the industry that trouble was brewing in the mortgage market and at investment firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. So when the stock market tumbled in 2008 and most hedge funds recorded big losses, Bridgewater’s Pure Alpha fund made for its investors. Its success led more money to pour in.

Since it began, Pure Alpha has made investors an annual average return after fees of 11.9 percent, slightly better than the 9.5 percent average yearly return for the Standard & Poor’s 500. The All Weather fund has given investors an annual return of 7.9 percent return since it began.

In an industry known for producing flameouts, the consistent returns have drawn investors to Bridgewater despite Mr. Dalio’s idiosyncratic leadership style, which has included frequent management shake-ups. Most recently, Mr. Dalio ousted Jon Rubinstein, a former top Apple executive, in March after hiring him just 10 months earlier as the firm’s co-chief executive officer, because he was not a “culture fit.”

“It is a culture that is not for everyone but not one that would dissuade me from investing,” said John Longo, a finance professor at Rutgers University School of Business.

Yet much of the firm’s vaunted investing machine remains shrouded in mystery, even to those working at Bridgewater. On Wall Street, how the firm makes its money long has been a source of envy and debate because it goes to great lengths to conceal its trades from competitors.

As one of the first hedge funds to embrace quantitative analysis, Bridgewater bases almost all of its trades on algorithms derived from decades of market observations. The firm trades in many diverse markets, including the Japanese yen, Treasury securities and gold.

There is little room at Bridgewater for intuition and fast-paced trading. Unlike their counterparts at other big hedge funds who are responsible for trade ideas, many Bridgewater traders simply press buttons that execute trades. Many of those positions are held for several months at a time.

Only a small number of top executives who occupy Mr. Dalio’s “circle of trust” have a complete picture of the firm’s trading strategy from start to finish. Another half-dozen employees on what is called Signals team, which decides how the firm should adjust its trading, sign long-term noncompete agreements.

To avoid any inadvertent leaking of trading information, Bridgewater has a general policy that discourages the 450 employees who work on the investment side of the firm from socializing with those employed at Wall Street firms it trades with.

“Not only is the information kept confidential with respect to the public at large, it is not even openly disseminated within Bridgewater,” Nella Domenici, the firm’s chief financial officer, wrote in an effort to get the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, a Bridgewater investor, to deny a public records request by The Times.

World Traveler

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Mr. Dalio appeared on a panel with two senior Russian officials: Kirill Dmitriev, the executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and Igor Shuvalov, the first deputy prime minister of Russia. The panel came as a political firestorm was spreading in the United States over intelligence reports that Russia had meddled in the presidential elections.

“It would be better if the sanctions were lifted,” for Russia’s economic and financial development, Mr. Dalio told the audience, while adding that Russia had already made adjustments to be less dependent on foreign investment.

The message appeared to please his panelists. Mr. Dmitriev said he hoped to organize a delegation to Russia later in the year, “containing the largest funds and companies from the U.S.,” adding, “we would love to have Ray and other people there as dialogue partners.”

In his book, Mr. Dalio writes a good deal about his world travels, particularly his meetings with foreign leaders and economic thinkers. The meetings have not only informed Bridgewater’s trading style, but also have shaped Mr. Dalio’s views about how to manage his people and the firm.

But no foreign country and its leadership is as important to Mr. Dalio than China, which he first visited in 1984 and where his son Matthew lived for several years. Mr. Dalio has often met with the country’s senior leaders during his frequent visits there. In 2015, he was one of a few business leaders to attend a state dinner at the White House in honor of president Xi Jinping.

Over the years, Mr. Dalio has geared up for the day when China opens itself up more fully to foreign investment firms, securing hard-to-get licenses in order to expand its investment business.

Last year, Bridgewater became the third global investment firm to receive a license for a wholly owned foreign owned enterprise, allowing it to set up an entity to manage money for Chinese institutional investors and, potentially, to engage in foreign currency trading. The firm received the approval just weeks before China stopped issuing licenses to foreign investors.

Months later, Mr. Dalio met with Pan Gongsheng, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China who is also an administrator of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, which is responsible for managing China’s foreign exchange currency reserves.

In 2014, the Dalio Foundation, an $750 million enterprise, established a separate charity in China, Beijing Dalio Public Welfare Foundation, to support child welfare, education and “social organization innovation.” As recently as 2015, the charity’s chairman was Wang Jianxi, who, according to Bloomberg data, is a vice chairman of SAFE Investments.

Bridgewater has a relationship with SAFE and the China Investment Corporation, China’s sovereign wealth fund, and has advised both government entities.

Mr. Dalio’s travels to China have continued even as he promotes himself as a management guru. A recent trip became fodder for a June meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he told a small audience of prominent money managers — including William A. Ackman and Jim Chanos, a China bear — that the country’s economy was in safe hands with its policy makers.

And, Mr. Dalio writes in his book, one of his close counselors, not only on China, but on big ideas about the wider world, is Wang Qishan, one of the most powerful men in China and the nation’s anti-corruption czar.

Every time Mr. Dalio goes to China, he meets with Mr. Wang. The two men, Mr. Dalio writes, discuss subjects as varied as artificial intelligence and the implications of Julius Caesar’s rise to power. Mr. Dalio, who refers to Mr. Wang as one of his heroes, said that his advice had helped in the planning for Bridgewater’s future.

“Every time I speak with Mr. Wang, I feel I get closer to cracking the unifying code that unlocks the laws of the universe,” Mr. Dalio writes. Such interactions, were “thrilling to me.”

What Amazon’s HQ2 plan will get right: Slowly move the jobs towards the workers

One disconnect within the American economy nowadays requires the a large number of high-having to pay jobs in metropolitan areas for example New You are able to, Boston, San antonio and Bay Area without workers to fill them. One offender: housing shortages brought on by zoning along with other limitations making it impossible, or too costly, for workers to maneuver to those metropolitan areas to consider individuals jobs.

Based on one broadly reported study, this housing shortage has reduced economic output by 9 %, costing the typical American household $6,700 in forgone earnings.

The “zoning is strangling the economy” story has caught the interest of conservatives who dislike regulation, liberals who worry about affordable housing, and environmentalists who would like everybody to reside in walkable metropolitan areas. Unsurprisingly, it has additionally been accepted through the technology sector, where the majority of the unfilled tasks are found, in addition to by construction and property industries wanting to build then sell more housing.

There’s a nascent political movement — YIMBYism, as with “Yes Within My Backyard-ism” — which in California is near winning approval for any law allowing the condition to override local design and ecological reviews in communities that neglect to meet condition-set housing production goals.

Before we hurry to show every Bay Area right into a Houston, however, we have to make a list of if the better strategy wouldn’t be to maneuver the roles to workers instead of slowly move the workers towards the jobs.

That appears is the approach taken by among the country’s most effective companies, Amazon . com.com, which announced earlier this week it would spend $5 billion to produce a second, “equal” headquarters campus somewhere apart from its home base in San antonio. Instead of watch for San antonio to resolve its housing and congestion problems, Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s leader (and who owns The Washington Publish) made the decision to assist create another San antonio someplace where his company’s spectacular growth could be easier and inexpensively covered.

The economical argument for moving the employees towards the jobs is the fact that personnel are more lucrative and innovative in companies situated in metropolitan areas dense with individuals along with other companies. A few of the advantages of “agglomeration” relate to the convenience that companies will find a broader selection of competing suppliers. Even the ease that companies and skilled workers will find one another. Inside a high-tech economy, particularly, the greatest effect may range from ease that workers and corporations study from one another and develop new ideas and disseminate that know-how.

As urbanist Richard Florida authored lately within the Atlantic, “superstar cities” for example New You are able to, London and Bay Area create a disproportionate share from the world’s innovation, attract a disproportionate share of capital and investment, possess a disproportionate share of cutting-edge companies and therefore are the place to find a disproportionate share from the world’s talent.

“They are not only the places in which the most ambitious and many gifted people wish to be — they’re where they feel they should be,Inches Florida authored.

“Land-use controls to limit the development of these effective metropolitan areas implies that Americans more and more reside in places making it simple to build, not in places with greater amounts of productivity,” writes Erectile dysfunction Glaeser, the Harvard College economist.

Inside a recent essay, Glaeser noted that in 3 decades inside the duration of 1880 to 1920, Chicago’s population increased by typically 56,000 every year. Which was a period by which American metropolitan areas were absorbing countless workers from rural places that their output was limited. By supplying them operate in greater productivity factories in metropolitan areas for example Chicago, the American economy achieved rapid growth.

Today, Glaeser states, that process continues to be stymied. As opposed to Chicago from the earlier era, he notes, San Francisco’s population in the past 3 decades is continuing to grow by typically only 4,200 each year.

For me personally, however, the concept that everybody should proceed to super metropolitan areas is misguided on several levels.

It comes down to the faulty economic assumption that workers’ wages are a precise way of measuring their productivity. If your artist from Dallas, earning $14.50 an hour or so at Obvious Funnel Communications, moves to Bay Area, where she earns $34.75 an hour or so at Facebook, economic theory states her output each hour has magically elevated 140 percent. Remember, this is actually the same worker, with similar skills, doing roughly exactly the same work. However, because she’s doing that actually work at Facebook in Bay Area, the marketplace declares her try to be far more valuable.

One good reason for that greater pay is the fact that because housing and anything else costs a lot more in Bay Area, Facebook doesn’t have choice but to pay for more to draw in and retain workers. But essential is always that, due to its dominant market position, Facebook are able to afford to pay for greater wages while still earning an above-average profit because of its shareholders. A business without such market power inside a more competitive industry could have been made to move elsewhere.

This hardly appears just like a technique for growing economic output and productivity. Rather, it appears as though a method to have an economy according to imperfect competition and unproductive putting in a bid wars that generates greater incomes as well as greater prices — in a nutshell, a recipe for inflation.

It’s also not obvious that loosening zoning limitations will bring substantial decrease in housing prices. As my George Mason College friend Tyler Cowen has written, probably the most likely effect could be a rise in the marketplace worth of rezoned land, developing a windfall for current landowners instead of affordable prices for housing built at individuals locations. Even zoning enemies for example Glaeser acknowledge that the development tax or “inclusionary zoning” — requiring developers to create aside a particular number of a task for reasonable housing — could be needed to make sure that looser zoning results in lower housing prices.

Another false assumption is it does not matter what size a metropolitan area is, which makes it bigger and denser will certainly make it more lucrative.

To begin with, the denser it’s, the greater costly it might be to construct housing. Construction costs inevitably rise as structures grow taller, parking garages go much deeper, and much more activity must be displaced during construction. These greater costs eat into whatever productivity gains might accrue otherwise.

Higher, however, would be the cost and impossibility of adding infrastructure to deal with all individuals new residents.

To include ability to its already bursting-at-the-seams subway system, for instance, New You are able to spent $4.4 billion and required ten years to create the very first two-mile stretch (three stops) of the new subway line around the East Side of Manhattan. The following 1.5-mile stretch will definitely cost another $6 billion and will not be finished before 2027. Given such cost tags and time horizons, subway planners are scrambling to locate different ways to maneuver more and more people around. Their latest idea: Increase hurry-hour capacity by 25 % by removing all of the seats from subway cars.

Or think about the situation of Pennsylvania Station, which greets 600,000 New You are able to commuters and visitors every day using its dingy mixture of inconvenience and unpleasantness. After decades of dialogue and unsuccessful initiatives, the town and condition have to do with to start a $1.6 billion expansion in to the old Farley Publish Business building nearby which will finally give a enjoyable space for riders but won’t add the track and tunnel capacity anxiously required to handle more commuters. That new capacity will definitely cost many vast amounts of dollars.

And it is not only New You are able to. Bay Area, Boston, La, San antonio — individuals highly productive metropolitan areas held out as candidates for more densification — all suffer exactly the same double gridlock: the transportation gridlock which comes from getting so many people and not enough infrastructure, and also the political gridlock that results as voters balk in the astronomical cost and inconvenience required to solve the transportation gridlock. Techies fantasize that self-driving (or flying!) cars would be the answer, as the crunchy granola crowd looks to Uber and bike lanes. However the huge numbers of people who really reside in these places have a problem imagining the way they could absorb the extra residents, even when there have been homes to allow them to reside in.

Ironically, one good reason that such metropolitan areas grew to become such economic engines is they were considered desirable places to reside through the well-educated, ambitious experts who start and populate innovative companies — the “creative class,” as Florida described them. These cosmopolitans possess a strong preference for towns that provide ethnic diversity, cultural sophistication and walkable neighborhoods with vintage housing stock, good restaurants as well as an undercurrent of hip and awesome. The final place this elite may wish to live is within a metropolitan jungle of cement canyons and-rise towers.

There’s an alternate, obviously, to creating highly productive dense metropolitan areas even denser: Create much more of them.

Even though you accept the concept that the artist could be more productive employed by Facebook, there’s nothing that stops Facebook from opening a brand new campus inside a somewhat smaller sized city with sufficient hip and awesome to draw in the creative class. Consider Denver/Boulder, Chicago, Miami. Consider Austin Ann Arbor, Mi. and also the two Portlands (Or and Maine). Consider Nashville, Pittsburgh or Washington, D.C.

Granted, these metropolitan areas might not have exactly the same power of big growing companies, entrepreneurial start-ups and financiers. But living costs and conducting business in individuals metropolitan areas is considerably lower, they still have ample room to develop, plus they can take shape additional public infrastructure faster and cheaper.

Actually, as Amazon’s HQ2 announcement demonstrates, it’s already happening. Also it should let you know something which in San antonio, the response to Amazon’s announcement was a combination of concern and relief.

“It provides for us just a little space to construct good mass transit, ensure affordable housing and open pathways into greater education for future years workforce,” Lisa Herbold, part of Seattle’s left-leaning city council, told the San antonio Occasions.

“Not every millennial wants or needs to reside in Brooklyn or even the Mission [District],” stated Joel Kotkin, a professor of urban studies at Chapman College in California. Recently, he notes, the heavy movement of tech and business service jobs is to less expensive metro areas for example Nashville and Dallas. And many of individuals jobs will be in the suburban areas.

Additionally to moving try to these second-tier metropolitan areas, there’s also the potential of creating nearby “satellite” metropolitan areas.

The very best example I’m able to consider is appropriate within Washington. Imagine the number of high-wage jobs might be added when there were regular high-speed train plan to an expanded Union Station from Baltimore, Richmond and Ernest, where you can find still lots of old industrial structures and rowhouses that may be switched into affordable and hip urban residences. Train commuting is when New You are able to, London and Paris could attain the economic benefits of agglomeration without getting to show themselves into high-rise jungles. With plenty of purchase of infrastructure, other metropolitan areas could perform the same. (Note to Bezos: Take a look at Baltimore).

I probably have our greatest and many productive metropolitan areas can and really should build more housing — particularly, less expensive middle- and dealing-class housing for anyone who already live there.

Obviously, you will find limits — economic, political, social — to just how much density many people are prepared to accept. The purpose of getting a more potent and much more productive economy would be to convey more enjoyable lives, and for many people, which means residing in places with human scale, whether that’s a metropolitan neighborhood of lofts and brownstones, a leafy streetcar suburb or perhaps a wooded exurban acre with lots of room for any swing set along with a vegetable garden.

The easiest method to create such environments isn’t to avoid individuals from using zoning along with other tools to produce the neighborhoods they need. Rather, it’s to purchase the general public infrastructure essential to make such choices possible.

Why a 24-Year-Old Chipmaker Is among Tech’s Hot Prospects

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Engineers at CTA.ai, an imaging-technology start-in Belgium, are attempting to popularize a far more comfortable option to the colonoscopy. To do this, they’re using computer chips which are most widely known to gaming fans.

The chips are created through the Plastic Valley company Nvidia. Its technology might help sift quickly through images taken by pill-size sensors that patients swallow, allowing doctors to identify intestinal disorders 70 % quicker than when they pored over videos. Consequently, procedures are less expensive and diagnoses tend to be more accurate, stated Mateusz Marmolowski, CTA’s leader.

Healthcare applications such as the one CTA is pioneering are among Nvidia’s many new targets. Their chips — referred to as graphics processing units, or GPUs — have found homes in drones, robots, self-driving cars, servers, supercomputers and virtual-reality gear. A vital reason behind their spread is when quickly the chips are designed for complex artificial-intelligence tasks like image, facial and speech recognition.

Excitement in regards to a.I. applications has switched 24-year-old Nvidia into among the technology sector’s hottest companies. Its stock-market price has grown greater than sevenfold previously 2 yrs, topping $100 billion, and it is revenue leaped 56 percent in the newest quarter.

Nvidia’s success causes it to be stick out inside a nick industry which has possessed a steady loss of sales of private computers along with a slowing sought after for smartphones. Apple, the world’s largest nick producer along with a maker from the semiconductors which have lengthy been the brains of machines like Computers, had revenue development of just 9 % in the newest quarter.

“They are simply cruising,” Hendes Mosesmann, an analyst at Rosenblatt Securities, stated of Nvidia, that they has tracked because it went public in 1999.

Driving the surge is Jen-Hsun Huang, an Nvidia founder and also the company’s leader, whose proper instincts, demanding personality and dark clothes prompt comparisons to Jobs.

Mr. Huang — who, like Mr. Jobs at Apple, pressed for any striking headquarters building, which Nvidia will quickly occupy — designed a pivotal gamble greater than ten years ago on a number of modifications and software developments to ensure that GPUs could handle chores beyond drawing images on the monitor.

“The cost to the organization was incredible,” stated Mr. Huang, 54, who believed that Nvidia had spent $500 million annually around the effort, known broadly as CUDA (for compute unified device architecture), once the company’s total revenue was around $3 billion. Nvidia puts its total paying for turning GPUs into more general-purpose computing tools at nearly $10 billion since CUDA was introduced.

Mr. Huang bet on CUDA because the computing landscape was undergoing broad changes. Apple rose to dominance mainly due to enhancements in computing speed that supported what is known Moore’s Law: the observation that, through the majority of the industry’s history, manufacturers packed two times as numerous transistors onto chips roughly every 2 yrs. Individuals enhancements in speed have finally slowed.

The slowdown brought designers to begin dreaming up more specialized chips that may work alongside Apple processors and wring more advantages of the miniaturization of nick circuitry. Nvidia, which repurposed existing chips rather of beginning on your own, were built with a big jump. Having its chips and software it developed included in the CUDA effort, the organization progressively produced a technology platform that grew to become well-liked by many programmers and firms.

“They really were well brought,” stated John L. Hennessy, a pc researcher who walked lower as Stanford University’s president this past year.

Now, Nvidia chips are pushing into new corporate applications. German business software giant SAP, for instance, is rolling out a man-made-intelligence technique known as deep learning and taking advantage of Nvidia GPUs for tasks like speeding up accounts-payable processes and matching resumes to job openings.

SAP has additionally shown Nvidia-powered software to place company logos in broadcasts of sports like basketball or soccer, so advertisers can find out about their brands’ exposure during games and do something to try and improve it.

“That couldn’t be achieved before,” stated Juergen Mueller, SAP’s chief innovation officer.

Such applications go beyond the initial ambitions of Mr. Huang, who had been born in Taiwan and studied electrical engineering at Or Condition College and Stanford before you take jobs at Plastic Valley chipmakers. He began Nvidia with Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem in 1993, aiming initially to assist Computers offer visual effects to rival individuals of dedicated gaming consoles.

Interactive Feature Thinking about Everything Tech? The Bits e-newsletter could keep you updated around the latest from Plastic Valley and also the technology industry.

Their original product would be a dud, Mr. Malachowsky stated, and also the graphics market attracted a mob of rivals.

But Nvidia retooled its products and strategy and progressively separated itself in the competition to get the obvious leader within the GPU-accelerator cards utilized in gaming Computers.

GPUs generate triangles to create framelike structures, simulating objects and applying colors to pixels on the screen. To achieve that, many simple instructions should be performed in parallel, and that’s why graphics chips evolved with lots of small processors. A brand new GPU announced by Nvidia in May, known as Volta, has greater than 5,000 such processors a brand new, high-finish Apple server nick, by comparison, just 28 bigger, general-purpose processor cores.

Nvidia started its CUDA push in 2004 after hiring Ian Buck, a Stanford doctorate student and company intern who’d labored on the programming challenge that involved which makes it simpler to harness a GPU’s many calculating engines. Nvidia soon made changes to the chips and developed software aids, including support for the standard programming language as opposed to the arcane tools accustomed to issue instructions to graphics chips.

The organization built CUDA into consumer GPUs and-finish products. That call was critical, Mr. Buck stated, since it meant researchers and students who owned laptops or desktop Computers for gaming could tinker on software in campus labs and college dorms. Nvidia also convinced many universities to provide courses in the new programming techniques.

Programmers progressively adopted GPUs for applications utilized in, amongst other things, climate modeling and gas and oil discovery. A brand new phase started this year after Canadian researchers started to use CUDA and GPUs to abnormally large neural systems, the numerous-layered software needed for deep learning.

Individuals systems are educated to perform methods like recognizing a face by contact with countless images rather of through definitions established by programmers. Prior to the emergence of GPUs, Mr. Buck stated, training this type of system usually takes a whole semester.

Along with the new technology, researchers are now able to complete the procedure in days, days or perhaps hrs.

“I can’t imagine how we’d get it done without needing GPUs,” stated Silvio Savarese, an affiliate professor at Stanford who directs the SAIL-Toyota Center for any.I. Research in the college.

Competitors reason that the A.I. fight among chipmakers has barely begun.

Apple, whose standard chips are broadly employed for A.I. tasks, has additionally spent heavily to purchase Altera, a maker of programmable chips start-ups focusing on deep learning and machine vision and also the Israeli vehicle technology supplier Mobileye.

Google lately unveiled the 2nd form of an internally created a.I. nick that helped beat the world’s best player from the game Go. Looking giant claims the nick has significant advantages over GPUs in certain applications. Start-ups like Wave Computing make similar claims.

But Nvidia won’t be simple to dislodge. For just one factor, the organization are able to afford to invest greater than the majority of its A.I. rivals on chips — Mr. Huang believed Nvidia had plowed a business record $3 billion into Volta — due to the steady flow of revenue in the still-growing gaming market.

Nvidia stated greater than 500,000 developers are actually using GPUs. And the organization expects other chipmakers to increase its group of followers once it freely distributes a wide open-source nick design they are able to use for low-finish deep learning applications — light-bulbs or cameras, for example — that it doesn’t intend to target itself.

A.I., Mr. Huang stated, “will affect every company on the planet. We won’t address everything.Inches