Tom Mandel (futurist)

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Tom Mandel (1946 – April 6, 1995) was an American futurist. He was born in Chicago, Illinois. He dropped out of college twice and served in the United States Marine Corps in the Vietnam War for nine months in 1969.[1] In 1972, he was the first graduate of the "Futures program" at the University of Hawaii.[2] He then did some graduate work in cybernetics at San Jose State University and was hired as a futurist by SRI International (formerly the Stanford Research Institute) in Menlo Park, California, in 1975.[1]

Mandel's consulting practice focused on social trend analysis and forecasting for a wide range of consumer products and technology companies, and he published several scenarios reports in collaboration with the Values and Lifestyles (VALS) program at SRI and as a senior consultant in SRI's Business Intelligence Center.

In addition to his work at SRI, Mandel was an editor of Time Online[3] and "one of the most prolific citizens of the on-line community known as the Well,"[4] where he was considered "a central figure."[5] His experiences in that community became the basis of a magazine article[6] and a book[7] by Katie Hafner.

Mandel was "one of the first (if not the first) to share on-line, with a wide audience, his own experience of dying."[8] On March 25, 1995, he posted on The Well that he was dying of lung cancer. He died eleven days later on April 6, 1995 at Stanford University Hospital, listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with his wife Nana. He was 49.


  1. ^ a b Flynn, Laurie (February 20, 1994). "Seeing the future from computing to publishing, Tom Mandel has his eye on the wave after next". San Jose Mercury News. San Jose. p. 1F. 
  2. ^ Dator, Jim (May 19, 1997). "Letter to Kevin Kelly". University of Hawaii at Manoa. Archived from the original on January 2, 2002. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Elmer-DeWitt, Philip (April 9, 1995). "To Our Readers". Time Magazine. 
  4. ^ Akst, Daniel (1995-04-05). "A WELLness community that's part net, part encounter group". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  5. ^ Rheingold, Howard (2000-11-01). The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (revised ed.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. p. 326. ISBN 0-262-68121-8. 
  6. ^ Hafner, Katie (May 1997). "The Epic Saga of The Well". Wired. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ Hafner, Katie (2001). The Well: A Story of Love, Death & Real Life in the Seminal Online Community. Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-0846-8. 
  8. ^ Kuntz, Tom (1995-04-23). "Tom Mandel and friends: A death on-line shows a cyberspace with heart and soul". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 

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