I write, talk and consult for a living. I am paid to say what I think, and not what I am paid to say. However the tangled web of friends, sponsors, clients, fans, and agents behind my actions may impact what I say. I will attempt to illuminate these relations as succinctly as I can.
I am an independent author. I write magazine articles as a freelancer, even for Wired. When Wired has a masthead I am listed as Senior Maverick; that title entails no operational duties or privileges or payment. I supply Wired with ideas, suggestions, and occasional articles, but I claim no credit or blame for what is being published in the final magazine, outside of my own words. I contribute to other national magazines on a for-hire basis. No magazine has ever requested that I cover a subject in a particular way; nor would I agree to such a request.
My literary agent is John Brockman, who is also a publisher himself of the Edge forum. My wife works for 23andMe, the biotech company. I don’t write about biotech much, and would not write about 23andMe.
I am sometimes paid to speak, and sometimes in the larger industry that I write about. I choose the subject and the substance of my talks. I have never been asked to channel or restrain my opinions, nor would I agree to such. I am represented by Stern Speakers who book my speaking engagements.
Some of my blogs may carry advertising. Those ads are selected by algorithms. Our newsletters may carry paid sponsors, which is self-managed. I have no direct relationship or agreement with any advertiser or sponsor. Some of my blogs, Cool Tools for example, are enrolled in Amazon.com’s affiliate program. I get a small commission when readers purchase something from an Amazon link on my site. More about how that works is disclosed on the FAQ for Cool Tools, which also goes into detail about my policy regarding reviewing products.
I cover the high-tech industry and will often write about or mention individual companies. I maintain an independent view in my coverage of particular companies because my financial investments are held jointly with my wife and with two exceptions we do not own individual stocks of our choosing; the majority of our holdings are either in mutual funds or index funds run by professionals. The exceptions are seed investments in Prosetta, InCarda and Dance, three biotech startups.
I serve as an unpaid board member (Co-Chair) for the non-profit Long Now Foundation. While I have served on other profit and non-profit boards in the past, this is my only active position currently. I previously was a network member of GBN, a consultancy, but GBN is now defunct; currently, I do no consulting.
Updated March 2022