MIT and the Digital Economy

Speaker Bios


Erik Brynjolfsson PhD ’91

Schussel Family Professor of Management Science
Professor of Information Technology
Director, The MIT Center for Digital Business

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Schussel Family Professor of Management Science, a Professor of Information Technology, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Brynjolfsson explores how advances in information technology contribute to business performance and organizational change. He directs the MIT Center for Digital Business, a research initiative that analyzes the business uses of the Internet and other digital Technologies. His projects include a study of information worker productivity, a valuation method for intangible organizational capital, calibration of increased product variety online (a.k.a. the "long tail"), and an analysis of optimal pricing strategies for digital goods. In a related work, Brynjolfsson is assessing how investments in computers and networks alter economic growth, industry structure, and labor demand.Brynjolfsson holds an AB in applied mathematics from Harvard College, an SM in decision sciences from Harvard University, and a PhD in managerial economics from MIT.

Andrew McAfee ’88, ’89, LGO ’90

Associate Director, The MIT Center for Digital Business
Principal Research Scientist

Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the Center of Digital Business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studies the ways that information technology (IT) affects business. His research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves, and compete. At a higher level, McAfee’s work also investigates how computerization affects competition itself—the struggle among rivals for dominance and survival within an industry. He coined the phrase enterprise 2.0 and in 2009 published a book on the topic, Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools or Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 scholarly articles and case studies. McAfee has been named by the Ziff Davis technical publishing house as one of the 100 Most Influential People in IT.

David Schmittlein

John C Head III Dean, MIT Sloan School of Management

David Schmittlein is the John C Head III Dean and professor of marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His focus has been to broaden MIT Sloan’s global visibility, to work with the faculty in creating new high-quality management education programs, to develop enhanced educational opportunities for current students, and to develop and disseminate business knowledge that has impact and that will stand the test of time. He also has reached out to the many members of MIT’s alumni community to gain their valuable insights on MIT Sloan and management education. Prior to his appointment at MIT Sloan, Schmittlein was the Ira A. Lipman professor and professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from 1980 until 2007. He also served as interim dean during July 2007 and as deputy dean from 2000 to 2007, and was chair of the editorial board for Wharton School Publishing. His research assesses marketing processes and develops methods for improving marketing decisions. He is widely regarded for his work estimating the impact of a firm’s marketing actions, designing market and survey research, and creating effective communication strategies. Schmittlein has served as a consultant on these issues for numerous firms, including American Express, American Home Products, AT&T, Bausch & Lomb, Boston Scientific, Ford Motor Company, Gianni Versace S.p.A., Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Pfizer, Revlon, Siebe PLC, the Oakland Raiders, The Quaker Oats Co., and Time Warner. His work has been published in leading journals in marketing, management, economics, and statistics. In addition, he has been an area editor for Marketing Science and a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Interactive Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Letters, and Marketing Science. Schmittlein serves on the International Advisory Board for Groupe HEC, the Governing Board of the Indian School of Business, the International Advisory Board of Lingnan (University) College of Sun Yat-sen University, and the Advisory Board for the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University. He has served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Marketing and Branding. He has been a visiting professor in the faculty of economics at Tokyo University and a distinguished scholar in residence at Washington University’s John M. Olin School of Business. Schmittlein has received awards for his research, his editorial work, and his teaching. His observations and research have been cited often in the popular press, including Advertising Age, Business 2.0, BusinessWeek, China.com, Computerworld, Fortune, NPR’s Marketplace, People’s Daily Online, Reuters, The ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and USA Today. Schmittlein holds a BA in mathematics from Brown University and an MPhil and a PhD in business from Columbia University.

Jeremy Howard

President and Chief Scientist, Kaggle

Jeremy Howard is the president and chief scientist at Kaggle. Previously, he founded FastMail (sold to Opera Software) and Optimal Decisions (sold to ChoicePoint— now called LexisNexis Risk Solutions). Prior to that he worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Company and A.T. Kearney. Howard’s passion is applying algorithms to data. At FastMail, he used algorithms to automate nearly every part of the business—as a result the company only needed a total of three full time staff, and received over a million signups. Optimal Decisions was a business entirely built to commercialize a new algorithm he designed for the optimal pricing of insurance. Howard competes regularly in data mining competitions, which he uses to test himself and stay on the leading edge of machine learning and predictive modeling technology. He is currently ranked #1 on Kaggle’s overall competitor rankings, out of over 16,000 data scientists.

Tim O’Reilly

Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc., thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. Over the years, O’Reilly has built a culture where sustainable innovation is a key tenet of business philosophy. His active engagement with technology communities both drives the company’s product development and informs its marketing. O’Reilly is on the board of Safari Books Online and is a partner in O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. He graduated from Harvard College in 1975 with a B.A. cum laude in classics. His honors thesis explored the tension between mysticism and logic in Plato’s dialogues. Any discussion of O’Reilly is incomplete without a fuller understanding of the company he founded. O’Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, research, and conferences. Since 1978, O’Reilly has been a chronicler and catalyst of leading-edge development, honing in on the technology trends that really matter and galvanizing their adoption by amplifying “faint signals” from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism. Publisher of the iconic “animal books” for software developers, creator of the first commercial website (GNN), organizer of the summit meeting that gave the open source software movement its name, leader in Gov 2.0 “government as a platform” efforts, and prime instigator of the DIY revolution through its MAKE magazine and Craftzine.com, O’Reilly Media continually concocts new ways to connect people with the information they need.

Carl Shapiro, ’76, PhD ’81

Transamerica Professor of Business Strategy, Haas School of Business, The University of California, Berkeley

Carl Shapiro is the Transamerica Professor of Business Strategy in the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. Shapiro had the honor of serving as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during 2011– 12. For the two years immediately prior to that, he was the deputy assistant attorney general for economics at the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice; he also held that position during 1995–96. From 1998 to 2008, Shapiro served as the director of the Institute of Business and Economic Research at UC Berkeley. He has been editor and co-editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, among other honors. Shapiro earned his PhD in economics at MIT in 1981, taught at Princeton University during the 1980s, and has been on the Berkeley faculty since 1990. Shapiro has published extensively in the areas of industrial organization, competition policy, patents, the economics of innovation, and competitive strategy. His current research interests include competition policy, the economics of innovation, the design and use of patents, housing finance, and energy and environmental economics. Shapiro is the co-author, with Hal R. Varian, of Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy, published by the Harvard Business School Press. Information Rules has received critical acclaim for its application of economic principles to the information economy and has been widely read by managers and adopted for classroom use.

Thomas M. Siebel

Chairman and CEO, C3 Energy

Thomas M. Siebel is the chairman and chief executive officer of C3 Energy, an energy efficiency and smart grid analytics software company. Siebel was the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Siebel Systems, one of the world’s leading software companies, which merged with Oracle Corporation in January 2006. Founded in 1993, Siebel Systems rapidly became a leader in application software with more than 8,000 employees in 32 countries, over 4,500 corporate customers, and annual revenue in excess of $2 billion. He served as chief executive officer of Gain Technology, a multimedia software company that merged with Sybase in December 1992. From 1984 through 1990, he was an executive at Oracle Corporation, where he held a number of senior management positions. Siebel serves on the board of advisors for the Stanford University College of Engineering, the University of Illinois College of Engineering, and the University of California at Berkeley College of Engineering. He is a director of the University of Illinois Foundation and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and is the chairman of the board for the American Agora Foundation. Mr. Siebel is the chairman of the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, Meth Project Foundation, and the Siebel Scholars Foundation. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in history, an MBA, and a Master of Science in computer science. The Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, founded in 1996, funds projects to support the homeless and underprivileged, educational and research programs, methamphetamine abuse prevention, and alternative energy solutions. The Siebel Foundation created the Siebel Scholars Foundation, the Dearborn Scholars Fund in Montana, and the Meth Project Foundation. The Siebel Scholars Foundation endows scholarship funds at 11 leading universities for graduate students in computer science, business, and bioengineering who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and leadership. The Meth Project, a strategic philanthropic project to reduce methamphetamine abuse, received a White House Commendation in 2006 as the Most Influential Drug Program.

Vivek Ranadivé, ’79, SM ’80

Chairman and CEO, TIBCO Software

Vivek Ranadivé founded TIBCO in 1997 with the vision of bringing real-time technology into the mainstream. His acclaimed New York Times business bestseller, The Power of Now: How Winning Companies Sense and Respond to Change Using Real-time Technology (1999), has been widely used in academia and been the subject of numerous interviews. His subsequent book, The Power to Predict (2006), shows the impact of predictive business on mainstream companies from Procter & Gamble to Harrah’s and reveals how companies can break new ground in their quest to anticipate customers’ needs, create new opportunities, and predict and sidestep unwelcome surprises. Ranadivé has appeared as a featured expert on real-time computing on CNBC and in publications such as The Economist, Fast Company, and Red Herring. Ranadivé has consistently been recognized as a visionary for the future of business integration, securing him a place in InfoWorld’s 2002 Top Ten Technology Innovators. He was recognized by Ernst & Young as a 2002 Software Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2008, he was named the South Asian CEO of the Year by SAMBAA. He was also featured in “Annals of Innovation: How David Beats Goliath,” a New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, as an example of innovators who win by “breaking the rules.” Prior to founding TIBCO, Ranadivé was president and founder of a UNIX consulting company. Previously, he held management and engineering positions with Ford Motor Company, M/A-Com Linkabit, and Fortune Systems. Ranadivé is a frequent presenter on such topics as the future of integration, enabling real-time business, and unleashing the power of information across enterprises to become more competitive. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar. He received both a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in electrical engineering from MIT.

David Verrill, SM ’87

Executive Director, The MIT Center for Digital Business

David Verrill is the executive director of The MIT Center for Digital Business at MIT Sloan School of Management. Verrill’s professional career began as a research scientist at the Center for Blood Research in Boston focusing on the MHC of genetically engineered mice. After receiving his master’s degree from MIT Sloan in 1987, he spent a decade at MIT helping industry connect with the Institute. In 1996, he joined Xerox as manager of International Sales and Business Development for the adaptive products division before it was sold. In 1998, Verrill joined third party marketing firm Winchester International Group as managing director. In 2000, Winchester helped found the Hub Angels, an early stage investment group in Boston. Verrill sits on the board of several early stage companies in the Boston area, and is chairman of the Angel Capital Association. He was educated at Bowdoin College and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Douglas Leone, SM ’88

Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital

Doug Leone is managing partner at Sequoia Capital, one of the most successful venture capital firms in the world. Doug’s current portfolio includes Birst, CafePress, Despegar, Hayneedle, Medallia, MedExpress, RingCentral, ServiceNow, and Zirmed. Other investments include Abrizio, Alantec, Arbor/Hyperion, Aruba Networks, Assured Access, Crescendo, Guardent, INS, Meraki, Netezza, Rackspace, Rhapsody, and Sentient. Prior to joining Sequoia in 1988, Leone held sales and sales management positions at SunMicrosystems, HP and Prime Computer. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Cornell, an MS in industrial engineering fromColumbia University, and an SM in management from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Sramana Mitra, SM ’95

Founder, One Million by One Million (1M/1M)

Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog “Sramana Mitra on Strategy”, and is the author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Mitra has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.

Gokul Rajaram, MBA ’01

Product Director, Ads, Facebook

Gokul Rajaram is product director of ads at Facebook. He helps drive Facebook’s advertising product strategy and roadmap. His company, Chai Labs, a semantic technology company, was acquired by Facebook in 2010. Prior to founding Chai Labs, Rajaram was product management director at Google, where he helped start Google’s Adsense partner business and other key products. He has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, an MS in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.Tech in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, where he was awarded the President of India’s Gold Medal for being class valedictorian.

Rodney Brooks

Founder, Chairman, and CTO, Rethink Robotics
Panasonic Professor of Robotics (emeritus), MIT

Rodney Brooks is the Panasonic Professor of Robotics (emeritus) at MIT. He is a robotics entrepreneur and the founder, chairman, and CTO of Rethink Robotics, Inc. He also has a collection of formers. He is a founder, former board member, former chairman, and former CTO (1991–2008) of iRobot Corp (Nasdaq: IRBT), which has delivered over eight million consumer robots, and over four thousand military robots. Brooks is the former director (1997-2007) of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and then the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). In his 27 years on the active faculty at MIT and Stanford, he carried out research in robotics, developing the behavior-based approach to robotics, developed the first mobile robots that could interact with people, the first humanoid robots in the United States, and made basic contributions to computer vision and artificial life, and was active in developing technology for planetary rovers. He supervised 27 wonderful PhD’s and is eternally grateful for those experiences. Brooks is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a founding fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS), a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the other AAAS), a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a corresponding member of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) and a foreign fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). He received his PhD from Stanford in 1981, in Computer Science, and before that, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in pure mathematics at the Flinders University of South Australia. Early in his career he held post-doctoral positions at Carnegie Mellon University and at MIT.

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