John Gruber

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This article is about the writer and UI designer. For the early LGBT rights activist known as John Gruber, see James Gruber. For other uses, see Jonathan Gruber.
John Gruber
John Gruber.jpeg
Born 1973 (age 41–42)
Occupation Columnist
Citizenship United States
Subject Design, Technology, Apple Inc.
Notable works Markdown, Daring Fireball, The Talk Show, Vesper
Spouse Amy Jane Gruber

John Gruber (born 1973) is a writer, blog publisher, UI designer, and the inventor of the Markdown publishing format. Gruber is from the greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area of the United States. He received his Bachelor of Science in computer science from Drexel University, and worked for Bare Bones Software from 2000 to 2002 and Joyent from 2005 to 2006.[1] He produces Daring Fireball,[2][3][4] a technology blog that has become his full-time job. Since 2013 Gruber works at Q Branch which he formed with his colleagues Brent Simmons and Dave Wiskus where they created the app Vesper.[5] He also hosts a podcast called The Talk Show.

Daring Fireball[edit] hosts Gruber's opinions in the form of a blog, and also some of Gruber's software. He first started publishing articles on Daring Fireball in 2002. In April 2006, it became Gruber's full-time job, funded by advertisement revenue, membership fees, T-shirt sales, and donations from software projects also hosted on the site, like Markdown.[6][7] Gruber has described his Daring Fireball writing as a "Mac column in the form of a weblog".[8] The site is written in the form of a tumblelog with occasional articles that discuss Apple products and issues in related consumer technology.

Common article subjects are the media's reflections on Apple (especially refuting of myths and misunderstandings), user interfaces (and the consistency thereof), software development, and emerging Mac applications. Gruber also runs a linklog called The Linked List, posting brief commentary between the longer articles on the front page.

Revenue models[edit]

The original Daring Fireball T-shirt

In order to make Daring Fireball a full time commitment the site needed to become viable. So in 2004, Gruber has solicited memberships,[9] where readers donate an amount of money annually to show support for Gruber's writing and also to gain access to other perks. The perks included more detailed feeds, but Gruber has downplayed the importance of the extra features, comparing them to "PBS tote bags".[10] Daring Fireball logo T-shirts are also sold, which include a membership and a discount on further T-shirts. All of the site's content is freely available, and in August 2007, Gruber made all of the site's feeds freely available as well, and each week the feed features a sponsor.[11]

Gruber's last account of his part-time Daring Fireball income called it a substantial side income, short of a full-time salary.[7] For most of the time when Daring Fireball was a part-time project, Gruber worked as an independent web designer; between late 2005 and April 2006, Gruber's main job was at Joyent where he helped with the TextDrive acquisition.

Since 2006,[12] the site displays advertisements from The Deck, an advertising network serving sites like A List Apart and 37signals in addition to Daring Fireball. In addition to this, many links carry Daring Fireball's referral ID, and the site's preferences include a choice of local Amazon store.

As of January 2015, Gruber charges US$9,500[13] per week for RSS feed sponsorship which includes a "promotional item during the week" and a "linked list item" to the sponsor at the end of the week.[14]

The Talk Show[edit]

Started in 2009 and originally co-hosted with Dan Benjamin the podcast featured conversations and commentary on current trends (mainly in tech) between the two hosts. That format persisted as the show helped establish the 5by5 Studios network on which it resided from 2010 to 2012.[15] After moving the podcast to Mule Radio Syndicate network in May 2012, Gruber changed the format becoming the sole host of the show with alternating guests each episode. Guests are mainly programmers, designers, analysts and journalists. Some recurring guests include: John Moltz, Marco Arment, Merlin Mann, Craig Hockenberry, John Siracusa, Rene Ritchie, MG Siegler, Ben Thompson, Joanna Stern, Brent Simmons, Om Malik, Jason Snell, Dave Wiskus, and many more. Apple Inc. SVP of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller appeared as guest on the live episode of The Talk Show during 2015 WWDC in San Francisco.

As of May 2014 The Talk Show has become independent and part of Daring Fireball.[16]

Speaking engagements[edit]

John Gruber has increasingly appeared as a conference speaker, starting in the United States but going worldwide in recent years.[17] His presentations focus on a subset of topics that he covers on Daring Fireball, mainly the intersection of Apple, movies, and the creative process.

  • Oct 2006 — C4[0], Chicago: "the HIG is dead"[18]
  • Mar 2007 — SXSW, Austin: "Design Aesthetic of the Indie Developer"[19]
  • Mar 2008 — SXSW, Austin: "Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Great Design Hurts"[19]
  • Jan 2009 — Macworld Expo, San Francisco: "The Auteur theory of design"[20]
  • Mar 2009 — SXSW, Austin: "149 Surprising Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog With Credibility!"[19]
  • Feb 2010 — Macworld Expo, San Francisco: "Apple’s Top 10 Issues"[21]
  • Mar 2010 — SXSW, Austin: "Online Advertising: Losing the Race to the Bottom"[19]
  • Sep 2010 — dConstruct, Brighton (United Kingdom): "The Auteur theory of design"[22]
  • Jan 2011 — Macworld Expo, San Francisco: "Gruber, Engst, Moren on the future of the Mac"[23]
  • Feb 2011 — webstock, Wellington (New Zealand): "The Gap Theory of UI Design"[24]
  • Mar 2011 — SXSW, Austin: "15 Slides, Three Writers, Three Ways — One Hour"[19]
  • Oct 2011 — Çingleton, Montréal: "Keynote"[25]
  • Sep 2012 — Guest on Charlie Rose[26]
  • Jan 2013 — Macworld/iWorld, San Francisco: "iCloud, App Stores, and Other Things To Fear: Has Apple Forgotten Power Users?"[27][28]
  • Feb 2013 — webstock, Wellington (New Zealand): "In praise of Pac-Man: lessons all designers can learn from the perfect video game"[24]
  • Oct 2014 — XOXO[29]
  • Oct 2014 — Çingleton 4, Montréal[30]
  • Jun 2015 — Layers, San Francisco: "In Conversation with Susan Kare"


  1. ^ "John Gruber: A Mix of the Technical, the Artful, the Thoughtful, and the Absurd". 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  2. ^ "The blogosphere: Are blogs worth the hype?". CNET News. 2004-08-10. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  3. ^ "'s Blog 100". CNET News. 2005-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  4. ^ "Laptop nation". Macworld. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  5. ^ "Vesper". 
  6. ^ Gruber, John (2006-04-20). "Initiative". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  7. ^ a b Gruber, John (2005-10-27). "Membership Numbers". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  8. ^ Gruber, John (2003-07-08). "Independent Days". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  9. ^ Gruber, John. "Membership Information". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  10. ^ Gruber, John (2004-06-16). "Something Daring". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  11. ^ Gruber, John (2007-08-16). "Feedback". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  12. ^ Gruber, John (2006-02-02). "Bedecked". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  13. ^ "Daring Fireball: RSS Feed Sponsorship". 
  14. ^ Gruber, John. "Sponsorship". Daring Fireball. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  15. ^ The Talk Show on 5by5 | url=
  16. ^ Mark Webster (16 February 2011). "Webstock: An interview with the Daring Fireball". The New Zealand Herald. 
  17. ^ The Seasons of Daring Fireball, retrieved 2012-08-21 
  18. ^ " C4: Chicago Mac Developer Conference". 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  19. ^ a b c d e "Past SXSW Interactive Festival Speakers". Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  20. ^ Stross, Randall (2011-07-23). "What Apple Has That Google Doesn’t: An Auteur". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  21. ^ "Gruber grills Apple on its top 10 issues". Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  22. ^ "Speakers | dConstruct 2010". Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  23. ^ "Gruber, Engst, Moren on the Mac's future". Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  24. ^ a b "John Gruber - Webstock". Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  25. ^ John Gruber - Çingleton 2011 in Çingleton 2011, retrieved 2015-08-18 
  26. ^ "IPhone 5; Jeffrey Toobin; Karen Elliott House". Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  27. ^ Panzarino, Matthew. "OS X Mavericks, iCloud and the rise of the populist file system". Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  28. ^ "Macworld/iWorld 2013". 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  29. ^ Conference · XOXO 2014, retrieved 2015-05-13 
  30. ^ Çingleton 2014 - John Gruber, retrieved 2015-08-18 

External links[edit]