I am a journalist based in New York and Berlin, and Free Ride is my first book. Before starting this project in late 2009, I was the executive editor of Billboard. I have also worked as an editor for Wired, New York, Details, and – back before Bubble 1.0 – RollingStone.com and HotWired. My writing has appeared in those publications, as well as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Fortune.
Because someone will inevitably ask: I don’t dislike technology, by any means. I’ve always been interested in it, and I worked as an online editor back in 1995, when we used to write html code by hand. Back then, we imagined the Internet as a market for information that would let independent artists compete with record labels and movie studios on an even playing field.
Over the course of the last five years, I realized that this isn’t happening – and I have grown increasingly afraid that it never will. Instead, we’ve created an information economy where information is almost impossible to sell. And we’ve replaced old-media gatekeepers with digital oligopolists like Google and Amazon, who have just as much influence in Washington as media conglomerates. This isn’t healthy for our culture or our economy.
It is not inevitable, however. Technology will always grow more powerful and less expensive – and that’s a good thing. But how we design the systems that use it is up to us. The fact that I favor regulating the Internet, smartly and cautiously, does not mean that I don’t “get” technology any more than favoring speed limits means I don’t understand cars.
You can find information on how to reach me here.