I'm an entrepreneur, writer and geek living in New York City, obsessed with the way technology shapes and transforms society, media, government and culture. My work is focused on directing the massive impact of new technologies on helping those who most need opportunities, and my writing tells the story of how this happens. And some silliness happens along the way.
Here's a bio of me:
Anil Dash is cofounder and CEO of ThinkUp, a new app that helps make sure all the time we spend online or social networks isn't wasted. Dash is also cofounder of Activate, the consultancy which helps define strategy for the most important companies in technology and media.
He is recognized as one of the earliest and most influential technologists in social media. Described as a "blogging pioneer" by the New Yorker, he has been publishing his site Dashes.com continuously since 1999, earning recognition as a Webby honoree and acting as a platform for his activism as well as his thoughts on technology, policy, pop culture and media. In 2013, Time named @anildash one of the best accounts on Twitter, and some of its nearly half million followers agree.
Dash serves on the board of Stack Exchange, the Data & Society Research Institute, and the New York Tech Meetup, where he was the first person elected by its members to serve on the board of the largest organized technology community in the United States. Dash has been a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Wired magazine and also advises a number of startups and non-profits, including respected new publisher Vox Media, noted education non-profit DonorsChoose and the Aspen Institute's Task Force on Learning and the Internet
Prior to his current roles, Dash founded Expert Labs with backing from the MacArthur Foundation to encourage the public to collaborate with lawmakers in the White House and federal agencies, created digital works that were exhibited in the New Museum of Contemporary Art, had his personal blog posts cited in hundreds of academic papers, worked in new media development for the Village Voice, and helped start Six Apart, the company that transformed blogging from a core group of geeks to the main method of publishing online. Dash has never played a round of golf, drank a cup of coffee, or graduated from college.
Feel free to use this 650 x 650 headshot image of me if you, for some reason, need a photo of me.
The highest use of new technologies is to empower and connect people who aren't born with the privilege of access to the institutions that define our culture, so I am trying to make that my life's work. Best of all, I get to have a lot of fun doing things I love.
What I Do:
Media & the Arts
ThinkUp: I'm the co-founder (with Gina Trapani) and CEO of ThinkUp, which shows you how to get more meaning from your social networks. Our mission is to make sure all the time we spend online and on our phones isn't wasted, and we're building a company, a community and a culture to support that mission.
Activate: I am Co-Founder and Managing Director at Activate, a new kind of strategy consultancy that advises companies about the opportunities at the intersection of technology and media.
We help many of the biggest media companies and consumer brands in the world evolve and grow their businesses and I lead the areas of our practice that focus on applying emerging technologies and startup-style techniques to help reinvent their businesses.
Dashes.com: I'm the publisher, editor and owner of Dashes.com, my personal blog where I've been publishing continuously since 1999. This site was a Webby honoree in 2010 in the Personal Blog category, and in combination with my presence on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook gives me a way to share my unfiltered (and, often, completely ridiculous) thoughts directly with hundreds of thousands of people, including my friends and family.
Stack Exchange: I'm a member of the board of directors of Stack Exchange, a profoundly useful and deeply engaging collection of question-and-answer communities that provide insights on topics ranging from computer programming to gardening.
NY Tech Meetup: In 2011 I became the first member of the board of the NY Tech Meetup to be elected by its members. NYTM is the largest trade group advocating on behalf of the Internet startup industry, helping make New York City the most vibrant and innovative technology community in the world.
Data & Society Research Institute: I serve on the board of this newly-launched think tank focused on addressing the social and ethical issues that arise from all of the data generated and collected by new technologies.
Vox Media: I'm a technical advisor to Vox Media (formerly SB Nation), assisting in their development of a media company where passionate writers are given a platform to reach communities in an innovative new way through sites like SB Nation and The Verge.
DonorsChoose: I'm a member of the National Advisory Council of respected educational nonprofit DonorsChoose, which is pioneering a fundamentally new way of engaging people in supporting classroom education to directly help students in need.
Readability: I advise Readability in their mission to offer a fundamental improvement to the experience of reading, across all modern platforms from the web to mobile devices, while rewarding readers, writers and publishers.
Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet: I'm a member of this Task Force focused on the future of education and how new technologies will have an impact on the way we learn.
Greedhead Music: I advise Greedhead's work in creating a new kind of record label, including their launch of the career of their flagship act, Das Racist.
MLKSHK: I advised MLKSHK as its brilliant mom-and-pop team worked to build a warm, thoughtful community of creative people sharing images and media in a fun and delightful way.
United Nations: I've been a United Nations Social Media Envoy, helping get the word out in the battle against malaria.
Acquired by Facebook, 2014
Project Completed, 2012
In 2009, I founded Expert Labs under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and with the backing of the MacArthur Foundation.During the 3 years of our experiment, we worked closely with lawmakers from the municipal and state level all the way to the White House and members of Congress to drive direct public feedback on laws through social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Merged with Say Media, 2010
Six Apart: I was the first employee of Six Apart, helping launch the company and its Movable Type and TypePad platforms, which were used to build sites from Gawker to the Huffington Post. I led business development and helped the company as it defined blogging and grew to over 200 employees worldwide. In 2010, Six Apart became Say Media, which now reaches over 400 million people worldwide.
Acquired by Etsy, 2013
Mixel: I advised Lascaux, the company behind the collage app Mixel, from its inception through a pivot that moved it from the iPad to the iPhone and to its team eventually joining Etsy. The Mixel app continues to be maintained by Etsy, and the team is now involved in leading Etsy's embrace of mobile platforms.
Acquired by Causes, 2013
Votizen: I advised Votizen as they worked to help passionate people campaign together to fight for the issues and candidates they care about. Votizen was acquired by Causes.com and the team continues its work on public engagement with governance as part of that company.
Acquired by Google, 2012
Oink: I advised Milk, Inc. on their effort to create Oink, an app for recording and sharing all the experiences and products you enjoy in a day. The Milk team was acquired by Google in 2012.
None of the organizations mentioned here are responsible for anything you see on this site. You might get a better understanding of what I do by looking at these videos and press articles about me and my work. Or you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to this site to keep up with me online.
You can see a list of recent press mentions and quotes on Google News, see published mentions of me on this Amazon.com Search, and see academic citations of my work via Google Scholar. Some highlights:
- Salon talked extensively about using social media to make the world better, based around an article I published in February 2014.
- The New York Observer named me one of its Tech Insurgents in November 2012.
- This New York Times piece on being happier about technology quotes me and also has a nice mention of my son.
- A detailed interview from March 2011 offers a colophon of sorts for this site and my work overall.
- A detailed profile in .net from October 2010
- A few quotes in the New Yorker profile of Nick Denton from October 2010
- A quote in this New Yorker story about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg from September 2010
- A profile in Fast Company's "Who's Next" from February 2010
- A New York Times One-on-One interview from January 2010
- A featured set of video interviews by Big Think from August 2009
- A quote in the New York Times Sunday Magazine's "On Language" column from August 2009
- A New York magazine roundtable from June 2009
- A video feature in Rocketboom's coverage of "Battledecks" in 2008
- Featured articles in the September 2006 and March 2007 issues of Wired
- A notorious New York Times piece from June 2005
- A Wired News story from July 2004
- A profile in New York magazine from November 2003
- An extensive video segment on PBS from January 2003, one of the first-ever televised segments on blogging