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. The highest use of new technologies is to empower people who aren't privileged with access to the institutions that define our culture, so I am trying to make that my life's work. My writing here and elsewhere is an attempt to document those efforts, along with some fun detours into pop culture and policy. I get to do many fun things in a broad range of disciplines, and I am really grateful for those opportunities!
Here's a bio of me:
Anil Dash is cofounder and CEO of ThinkUp, a new app that offers deeper insights into our social networks. Dash is also cofounder of Activate, the consultancy which defines strategy for the most important companies in technology and media. Described as a "blogging pioneer" by the New Yorker, he has published his blog Dashes.com continuously since 1999, earning recognition as a Webby honoree. In 2013, Time named @anildash one of the best accounts on Twitter, and some of its half million followers agree.
Dash serves on the board of Stack Exchange, the Data & Society Research Institute, and the NY Tech Meetup, the largest technology trade group in the United States. Dash has been a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Wired and he advises startups and non-profits including Medium and DonorsChoose. Dash's digital works have been exhibited in the New Museum of Contemporary Art and he co-created monegraph, the first system to use bitcoin technology to verify digital artworks as originals.
Prior to his current roles, Dash founded the non-profit Expert Labs, backed by the MacArthur Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), to collaborate with the White House and federal agencies in encouraging public engagement in policy making. He also helped start Six Apart, the company that helped invent and popularize much of the early technology behind blogs.
Dash is based in New York City, where he lives with his wife Alaina Browne and their son Malcolm. Dash is the only person who is quoted in both Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail" and in Toure's Prince biography "I Would Die 4 U", and 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.
What I Do:
Media & the Arts
ThinkUp: I'm the co-founder (with Gina Trapani) and CEO of ThinkUp. ThinkUp is a smart, simple app that analyzes your activity on Facebook and Twitter. Each day, ThinkUp offers you fun and surprising insights your social networks don’t give you. 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: Stack Exchange makes the Internet better with its network of question-and-answer communities on topics ranging from computer programming to photography, while connecting people in the tech industry to employment opportunities. I have served as a member of the board since 2011.
NY Tech Meetup: The NY Tech Meetup 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. In 2011, I became the first director to be elected to the NYTM board by its members.
Data & Society Research Institute: This think tank focuses on addressing the social and ethical issues that arise from the data generated and collected by new technologies. I have served on the board since its inception in 2013.
Medium: Medium is one of the most innovative and influential publishing platforms on the Internet today. I advise the company as it advances the state of the art in web publishing, and contribute as a writer to its featured collection, The Message.
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.
Trello: Trello is a flexible and fun way to manage projects, for everything from simple todo lists to complex team efforts. I made a small angel investment because it's a tool I use every day.
MLKSHK: MLKSHK is a warm, thoughtful community of creative people sharing images and media in a fun and delightful way, built by a mom-and-pop team. I have advised the site since its launch.
Vox Media: I'm a technical advisor to Vox Media, 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 Vox, SB Nation, and The Verge.
Wired: Wired is one of the most respected and popular general interest titles in the history of magazines. As a contributing editor, my monthly opinion column covered the impact technology has on society.
Report Completed, 2014
Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet: I was invited to be 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. The Task Force's final recommendations have been shared broadly with educators, students, parents, policy makers and the private sector.
Acquired by Facebook, 2014
Branch: Branch built a beautiful platform to encourage civil, productive, personal conversations on the web, through their apps Branch and Potluck. I advised the team until their acquisition by Facebook.
Acquired by Etsy, 2013
Mixel: Mixel was one of the most innovative and expressive early apps on the iPad. I advised Lascaux, the company behind the collage app Mixel, from its inception through its team eventually joining Etsy.
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.
Acquired by Causes, 2013
Votizen: Votizen worked to help people campaign together for the issues and candidates they care about. I was ostensibly an advisor to Votizen, but it was acquired by Causes.com before I made any substantive contributions.
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.
Merged with Say Media, 2010
Six Apart: Six Apart was the company that created Movable Type and TypePad as the first professional blogging tools, used to build sites from Gawker to the Huffington Post. I was the first employee, led business development and helped the company grow to over 200 employees worldwide. In 2010, Six Apart became part of Say Media.
Readability: I advised 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.
United Nations: The United Nations launched its Social Media Envoy program to help get the word out in the battle against malaria, and I was honored to take part as one of the first members of the program.
Greedhead Music: Greedhead's work in creating a new kind of record label, including their launch of the career of their flagship act, Das Racist, set a new standard in the music industry. I advised the label in its early days.
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:
- Vanity Fair profiled me as the first in its series of looks at online personalities, in November 2014.
- 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