Marc Porat

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Marc Porat
Uri Porat
Alma materColumbia University (BA)
Stanford University (PhD)
Occupation(s)entrepreneur, angel investor
Known forfounding General Magic, and coining the term "information economy"
RelativesRuth Porat (sister)

Marc Porat is a tech entrepreneur and angel investor. He is founder of six companies including General Magic. In the early 2000s, Porat was a member of a high-profile wave of tech executives who founded cleantech companies.[1][2] He launched three companies in the built environment: Serious Materials, Zeta Communities, and CalStar Cement and was a member of the U.S. China Green Energy Council.[3]

Early career[edit]

Porat was educated at Columbia College, where he graduated in 1972.[4]

He then continued his graduate studies at Stanford University and authored a pivotal work entitled The Information Economy[5][6] as his doctoral thesis in which he predicted the transition from a manufacturing-based U.S. economy to one based on information. Porat is credited with first identifying the U.S. as an "information society."[7] Later, his nephew Aaron Hurst defined and wrote about the "Purpose Economy" and credited Porat with the inspiration for predicting the rise of a new economy.[8]

After Stanford, Porat worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce and then served as a program director at the Aspen Institute and was later appointed executive director, Washington Activities of the Aspen Institute Program on Communications and Society.[9] While at Aspen, Porat produced the film The Information Society[10][11] for PBS.

After leaving the Aspen Institute, Porat co-founded Private Satellite Network (PSN).[12] The company was a direct broadcast satellite innovator that built and operated television and data networks for Fortune 500 companies and governments. The firm pioneered the use of small aperture rooftop antennas for videoconferencing. The company was sold and Porat joined Apple Computer.[13]

General Magic[edit]

Porat co-founded General Magic in 1990 with Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson from the original Mac team. The company built an early handheld communications device called Magic Link. Referred to then as a “personal intelligent communicator,” it was the precursor to the smart phone PDA.[14] The company also pioneered "intelligent agents."[15]

Porat served as CEO from 1990 to 1996 and took the company public in 1995 at a valuation of $834M. The stock doubled on the first day.[16]

The Built Environment[edit]

In 2002, Porat co-founded Serious Materials, a company manufacturing high-efficiency windows and drywall.[17] He then founded CalStar Products in 2007, a firm recovering energy from industrial waste streams. He also co-founded Zeta Communities (ZETA) in 2007,[18] a firm designing and manufacturings net-zero energy multifamily housing that won the Green Builder Home of the Year Award.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Porat was born to Frieda and Dan Porat in Israel and grew up in England.[20] He and his family moved to the United States, where his father worked at Harvard University and Stanford University's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.[21] Porat's sister, Ruth Porat, is the current CFO of Google.[22]


  1. ^ "Silicon Valley tech leaders are reinventing themselves for a cleantech revolution". January 19, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  2. ^ "Green Building Entrepreneur: Build Green or Face Catastrophe". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  3. ^ "Porat, Marc | US-China Green Energy Council". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  4. ^ "Columbia College Today". Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  5. ^ Porat, Mark Uri (May 1977). The Information Economy: Definition and Measurement. Washington, DC: United States Department of Commerce. OCLC 5184933.
  6. ^ Porat, Marc Uri (May 1977). "The Information Economy: Definition and Measurement". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Salvaggio, Jerry. "The Information Society: Economic, Social, and Structural Issues". Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  8. ^ "How Do You Create A New Economy Based On Purpose And Meaningful Relationships?". April 7, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  9. ^ "Aspen Institute Annual Meeting 1978" (PDF).
  10. ^ "The information society (on YouTube)". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021.
  11. ^ The information society, January 1, 1980, OCLC 8392652, retrieved August 30, 2015
  12. ^ "Private TV Networks Flourishing as Satellite Technology Advances". June 24, 1988. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  13. ^ "Growing Apple with the Macintosh: The Sculley Years". February 22, 2006. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  14. ^ Businessweek. "Marc Porat: Philosopher of the Shared Vision". {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  15. ^ Kline, David (1995). "I Want". Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  16. ^ Markoff, John (February 11, 1995). "COMPANY NEWS; General Magic Stock Surges on First Trading Day". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  17. ^ Review, MIT Technology. "Serious Materials - MIT Technology Review". Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  18. ^ "Startup Builders Make Waves in Recession's Wake". September 9, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  19. ^ "ZETA Communities wins green award for affordable, zero-energy townhome". Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  20. ^ "Marc Porat on Information Economy". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2020.ref>Shamah, David (March 2, 2015). "New Google CFO Ruth Porat's family a mirror of American Jewry". The Times of Israel. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  21. ^ D'Onfro, Jillian. "The incredible rise of Ruth Porat, CFO at one of the most valuable companies in the world". Business Insider. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  22. ^ Bergen, Mark (July 15, 2015). "Wall Street Is Downright Giddy for the Debut of Ruth Porat, Google's New CFO". Vox. Retrieved July 27, 2020.