My Personal Blog: www.robhof.com
My Forbes Blog: The New Persuaders
2010 – present
I started The New Persuaders, a blog on Forbes.com, to write about the collision of advertising and the Internet. I track emerging trends in digital marketing across paid, earned, and owned media, focusing on both startups and established firms such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo. I also write about how technology companies such as Apple are shaking up the media establishment.
MIT Technology Review
2010 – present
I write features on a variety of technology topics, including Internet media and advertising, television, social networks, manufacturing, and artificial intelligence.
2009 – present
I write news and features for various publications such as Forbes and MIT Technology Review and write on my personal blog about the Internet, online media and advertising, startups and entrepreneurship, innovation, the technology economy, management, and other topics.
Silicon Valley Bureau Chief
2002 – 2009
* I led BusinessWeek’s San Francisco bureau, directly managing three people and collaborating with three others who worked on BusinessWeek Online and the magazine’s investigative group. In this role, I helped ensure that bureau members got the resources they needed, made sure they focused on stories that readers and editors wanted, and served as liaison with New York editors and other correspondents.
* I wrote feature and news stories for the magazine on a variety of technology- and innovation-related topics, including the Internet, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Amazon.com, eBay, Web startups, entrepreneurship, technology policy, and Silicon Valley. I specialized in in-depth analytical pieces, stories that identify new trends and emerging concepts before they’re widely known, and richly reported profiles of corporations and people.
* I contributed news stories and features to BusinessWeek Online and regularly posted on the Tech Beat blog; edited stories and served as first reader on bureau members’ stories as needed; helped keep BusinessWeek on the cutting edge of new technologies and publishing formats such as blogs and Twitter.
1988 – 2002
* I wrote features, news stories, and commentaries on a wide variety of topics, including semiconductors, computers, science, retail, people, and politics, as well as a monthly column on technology-related developments. Covered Intel, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon.com, eBay, and other companies as regular beats.
1983 – 1988
* I wrote and edited features, news stories, and a small-business column for a regional newspaper owned by Tribune Co. Also edited the business section.
San Jose State University
* Wrote for university magazines.
* Co-founded weekly campus-community newspaper; wrote, edited, and created the graphic design.
* Apple’s Next Innovation: Many Apple customers and investors alike have long bet on television as Apple’s next big product. In a January/February 2013 feature in MIT Technology Review, I found that the company has more pieces in place for a move into television than most people realize. But producing a TV set also involves a raft of challenges, making a launch unlikely in the near term. Indeed, a subsequent analyst report concluded that it may not appear until 2014.
* Deep Learning: An emerging branch of artificial intelligence is producing remarkable breakthroughs in image and speech recognition. This lead feature for MIT Technology Review’s annual list of 10 breakthrough technologies in the May/June 2013 issue offered a detailed explanation of how it works in new products such as Google’s voice search and what’s coming next from companies such as Google that are vacuuming up research talent.
* You Are the Ad: After emerging from a privacy scandal, Facebook is suddenly online advertising’s next great hope. Its goal: turning us all into marketers. This inside look at the social network’s booming advertising business for MIT’s Technology Review magazine’s May/June 2011 issue revealed that Facebook has much more to do before it can fulfill the astonishing expectations of its investors.
* Searching for the Future of Television: Google and the geeks from Silicon Valley aim to revolutionize the 70-year-old TV industry. Conquering the Internet was easy in comparison. The 2011 cover story for Technology Review dove deep into the turbulent world of television to examine the big changes and battles coming as the Internet infiltrates the last great mass medium.
* Can Google Stay on Top of the Web?: Through unprecedented access to the company’s top search engineers, my 2009 feature story for BusinessWeek took the deepest dive yet into how Google stays ahead of rivals.
* Is Google Too Powerful?: This 2007 cover story anticipated the current backlash against the Internet search company’s power.
* The Power of Us: Mass collaboration on the Internet is shaking up business: This examination of the emerging world of online collaboration, peer production, and social media beat similar stories in the New York Times and other major media and presaged today’s runaway Web successes such as Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, and Wikipedia.
* Virtual World, Real Money: The first major media look at the virtual world Second Life, this cover story analyzed how online games not only are becoming real economies but also how they could change the nature of work and business.
* The Quest for the Next Big Thing: After the dot-com bust, I spent months prowling Silicon Valley and beyond to discover and articulate what later indeed proved to be the next big thing even before it had a name, let alone world-beating market leaders: social media such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
* Inside an Internet IPO: My cover story during the halcyon dot-com era was the most detailed, close-up look yet at the inner workings of tech’s wealth creation machine, told through the personal, poignant and sometimes humorous experiences of one startup’s founders.
* The Sad Saga of Silicon Graphics: A meticulously reported investigation of a tech highflier’s struggles, my cover story presaged by several months the company’s subsequent spiral into irrevocable decline.
* Game Changers: A close look at what’s behind the rapid rise in popularity of social games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars, the 2010 feature story also explored how the game mechanics they employ are making their way into new realms such as work and health care.