Ben Rattray

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Ben Rattray
Ben Rattray 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Rattray in 2012
Benjamin Michael Rattray

(1980-06-16) June 16, 1980 (age 39)
ResidenceSan Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Alma materStanford University
London School of Economics
Awards2012 Time 100 list member
2012 Fortune 40 Under 40 Rising Young Business Leaders list member
2014 Commonwealth Club of California 21st Century Visionary Award

Benjamin Michael "Ben" Rattray[1] (born June 16, 1980) is the founder and CEO of the online petition website, which he founded in 2007. Rattray was included in the 2012 Time 100 list of the world's most influential people,[2] listed as one of Fortune's 40 Under 40 rising young business leaders of 2012,[3] and given the Commonwealth Club of California's 21st Century Visionary Award in 2014.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Rattray was born in 1980 in Santa Barbara, California, the son of Judy (née McCaffrey), a county sales manager at First American Title, and Michael Rattray, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County. He has one older sibling, Zack, and three younger siblings, Lindsay, Nick, and Tyler.

At Dos Pueblos High School, Rattray was "sporty and handsome" and "a homecoming king". He wanted to grow up to be an investment banker, then retire at age 35 and go into politics.[5]

Rattray attended Stanford University during the technology boom of the early 2000s, studying political science and economics.[6] He changed career paths to focus on "the pursuit of effective collective action" after comments one of his brothers had made when revealing his homosexuality.[5] He later attended the London School of Economics.[7]

Rattray lives in San Francisco.[8][edit]

Rattray launched from his house in 2007. The site has gone through multiple iterations, starting as a social network for social activism,[9] changing into a cause-based blogging platform,[10] then transitioning to a petition platform in 2011.[11]

The goal of, according to Rattray, is to "change the balance of power between individuals and large organizations."[12]

"The power unlocked when people have the capacity to more rapidly and effectively organize with others is unprecedented in human history", Rattray wrote in an e-mail to staff members. "But what's needed for this to be truly transformational is a solution that turns people-power from a force that is episodically realized to one that is deeply embedded in our political and social lives — something that makes people-power pervasive and sustained."[12]

In February 2012, Rattray stated that was "growing more each month than the total we had in the first four years", with more than 10,000 petitions being started each month on the site, and that in 2011 the company's employees had grown from 20 to 100.[13] announced a $15 million round of investment led by the Omidyar Network in May 2013 and said its staff had grown to 170 people in 18 countries.[14]


  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.
  2. ^ Katchpole, Molly (2012-04-18). "Ben Rattray - 2012 TIME 100: The Most Influential People in the World". Time. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  3. ^ VanderMey, Anne (11 October 2012). "40 Under 40". Fortune. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  4. ^ " Tech for Good". Commonwealth Club of California. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b Ed Pilkington (2012-04-13). " thrust into spotlight in wake of Trayvon Martin case". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  6. ^ "Online petitions crack through board rooms, capitals". Fox News. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  7. ^ Marieke van der Vaart (2011-07-01). "U.S. petition website helps Saudi women hit the highways". Washington Times. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  8. ^ Mattioli, Dana (2007-08-21). "Q&A: Ben Rattray of". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  9. ^ " Social Network For Social Activism". 2007-02-07. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  10. ^ " moves from social media to blogging in order to raise cause awareness". VentureBeat. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  11. ^ "Online petitions: Shifting the power to consumers". Baltimore Sun. 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  12. ^ a b Ylan Q. Mui (2012-01-23). " emerges as influential advocate on issues from bullying to bank fees". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  13. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (2012-02-04). "After Recess: Change the World". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Empson, Rip (21 May 2013). "With $15M From Omidyar And 35M+ Users, Wants To Prove Socially-Minded Startups Can Attract Big Numbers". TechCrunch. Retrieved 1 July 2013.

External links[edit]