Mark Hurst | Srivideo
Born/Date of Birth: 13 December 1972
Place of Birth: Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
Occupation: Tech consultant, writer, game designer, radio host
Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mark Hurst (born December 13, 1972) is a journalist, author, broadcaster, game designer, and Internet entrepreneur. He founded the GEL ("Good Experience Live") tech conference, and hosts a weekly technology-focused radio program, Techtonic, on WFMU. He is the author of two books about technology — one focused on information overload, the other on building customer-friendly products.
Hurst founded the annual Gel conference in 2003, and hosted the event annually in New York through 2016. Gel served to premiere a number of high-profile online projects, including Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, delivered the first-ever public presentation about the platform at Gel 2005.
Marissa Mayer, then a Google product manager and later CEO of Yahoo!, gave her first-ever stage presentation at Gel 2003, and a second presentation at Gel 2008.
Stewart Butterfield also spoke at Gel 2003, soon after which he cofounded Flickr with Caterina Fake. (Butterfield went on to cofound Slack a few years later.)
Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, presented the first-ever public presentation of the educational platform at Gel 2010. Khan Academy has since become a highly popular online education organization.
Gabriel Weinberg, founder of privacy-based search engine DuckDuckGo, debuted his platform at Gel 2013.
Presenters at Gel have included radio host Ira Glass, Improv Everywhere comedian Charlie Todd, health and nutrition academic Marion Nestle, Australian roboticist Rodney Brooks, science writer/futurist David Bodanis, music comedians the Gregory Brothers, NASA deputy administrator Dava Newman, author Marc Abrahams, technologist Anil Dash, composer/conductor Robert Kapilow, artist/photographer Rachel Sussman, artist/writer/animator Zina Saunders, game designer/author Jane McGonigal, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, and countless others.
In 2006, Hurst presented a European version of Gel, euroGel 2006, in Copenhagen, Denmark. At this conference, Jimmy Wales presented one of the first public talks in Europe about Wikipedia.
In 2009 Hurst presented a spinoff conference, Gel Health 2009, devoted to issues of health care, in New York.
Although no Gel conferences have been held since 2016, Hurst hosted two Skeptech forums at WFMU in 2017.
Creative Good and Internet projects
Hurst founded Creative Good, a tech consulting firm, in 1997. His Creative Good email newsletter is one of the longest continually published email newsletters in the world, having been launched in 1998. Many past columns are stored in the Creative Good blog.
Before launching Creative Good, Hurst, after graduating from MIT, had landed a job with web startup Yoyodyne, where he served as director of product development. "In the 18 months I spent at Yoyodyne," said Hurst, "I designed all the games and user interfaces that over a million Net users played. I designed email games, Web games, Shockwave, Java, real-time, chat, AOL, MSN, you name it. Any environment online, I was there." Seth Godin, Yoyodyne founder and president, described Hurst (in a 1997 New York Times profile about Hurst) as "one of the smartest people I have ever met, a person with a unique and correct vision of where interface is going." Hurst left Yoyodyne in January 1997 to found Creative Good.
In 2003, one year before the launch of Yelp, Hurst launched a restaurant-review site called AddYourOwn.com. A New York Times article about the platform explained, "Organized by neighborhood, the site allows anyone to add restaurant reviews or to freely edit existing ones. For now, it covers Manhattan and Brooklyn."
In 2011 Forbes managing editor Bruce Upbin called Hurst a "user experience jedimaster."
In 2019 writer Douglas Rushkoff wrote that Hurst "was one of the first to argue for a more appropriate engagement with our tech."
From 1991 to 1995 while a student at MIT, Hurst drew Firehose Tavern, a comic strip published in the MIT student newspaper, The Tech. Starting in 1994, The Tech began posting an archive of the comic strips on its website, making Firehose Tavern one of the first comics available on the Web.
Hurst has hosted Techtonic on WFMU since September 2017. He describes the show's theme as "our shift to a digital future." Hurst's guests have included such leading figures in tech evolution as entrepreneur Jaron Lanier, Prof. Safiya Noble, author Douglas Rushkoff, author Astra Taylor, Harvard Business School professor emerita Shoshana Zuboff, Meetup founder Scott Heiferman, journalists Clive Thompson and Tim Harford, and writer-film producer Jonathan Taplin.
Hurst is the author of Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload (2007). Besides the original English edition, the book was translated and published in Russia and China.
His second book was Customers Included: How to Transform Products, Companies, and the World - With a Single Step (2013, 2nd edition 2015). In 2015, Business Insider quoted Hurst's writing in an article about major retailers acknowledging the advantages of online customer reviews to better market their products.
Hurst grew up around the world as the son of a U.S. Navy officer. He's an Eagle Scout and holds bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science from MIT. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.
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