Robert X. Cringely
Robert X. Cringely
January 28, 1953
|Education||BA, College of Wooster, 1975|
MA, Stanford University
|Occupation||Journalist, Technology writer|
|Known for||InfoWorld column|
Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date
Mark Stephens was the third author to contribute to Infoworld under the Cringely pseudonym, the first two being Rory J. O'Connor and then Laurie Flynn. The original column, the first computer "gossip" column, was started by Mark Garetz and called According to Garetz; it was later taken over by John C. Dvorak. During Stephens' lengthy tenure (1987–1995), the character of Cringely changed dramatically (morphing from a private eye type to a slick, womanizing tech insider) and became an increasingly popular tech pundit after he published the book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date (1992, ISBN 0-88730-855-4).
After a financial disagreement in 1995, Stephens was dismissed from Infoworld and was promptly sued by IDG to prevent him from continuing to use the Cringely trademark. A settlement was reached out of court that allowed him to use the name, so long as he did not contribute to competing technology magazines.
InfoWorld.com continued to publish the "Robert X. Cringely" Notes From the Field column as a blog, written by a string of journalists including news editor and senior journalist, Mark Jones from around 2000-2003 and technology journalist Daniel Tynan until August 3, 2015.
Stephens was born in 1953, in Apple Creek, Ohio. He earned a bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1975 and a Master's degree in Communication from Stanford University in 1979, where he also pursued work toward a doctorate. He served on the "Public's Right to Information Task Force" as part of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island. He has claimed he was employee #12 at Apple, Inc., though Daniel Kottke also claims this number.
Stephens' writing as Robert X. Cringely regularly appears in publications such as Forbes, Newsweek, Success, The New York Times, Upside, and Worth. Stephens has also appeared as Cringely in two documentaries based on his writings: Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996) and Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet (1998) and in a three-part documentary on PBS called Plane Crazy, in which he attempted to build an aircraft in 30 days and fly it when completed. The project quickly fell behind schedule and he became angry with the film crew. Eventually, he admitted defeat and the aircraft was cut up by Cringely. In the final episode, he builds an existing kit designed and assisted by Fisher Aero.
As Cringely, Stephens produced and hosted an Internet television show called NerdTV (2005–06) for PBS and, until late 2008, wrote an online column for the PBS website called I, Cringely: The Pulpit. On November 14, 2008, Stephens announced that he would stop contributing columns to PBS as of that December 15. He indicated that the move was his own decision "and not that of PBS, which has been nothing but good to me these many years". He also blogged for the Technology Evangelist site during 2007.
Today, his writings can be found at his own I, Cringely site.
- Tynan, Daniel. "Notes From the Field". Infoworld.
- Liesl Schillinger (December 1998). "The Double Life of Robert X. Cringely". WIRED. Vol. 6, no. 12.
- Robert X. Cringely at IMDb
- President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island (1979-10-30). Report of The President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island (Report). p. 166. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
- "Three Mile Island Lessons for COVID-19: FEMA and Me". I, Cringely. Cringely.com. April 15, 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
- "Triumph of the Nerds: Q & A with Bob Cringely". PBS.
- "Interview: Apple Employee No. 12 Dan Kottke on Company's Earliest Days and the College Steve Jobs".
- "Now For Something Completely Different". PBS. November 14, 2008.
- "Cringely blogged for this site during 2007". Technology Evangelist. 2007. Archived from the original on 2013-02-04.
- "Cringely's official website". I, Cringely.