Alec Ross (author)


Alec Ross (born November 30, 1971) is an American technology policy expert who was Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the duration of her term as Secretary of State.[1] After leaving the Department of State in 2013 he joined the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University as a Senior Fellow.[2] Ross is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Industries of the Future and The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People – and the Fight for Our Future.[3][4][5] The Industries of the Future has been translated to twenty-four languages, and was named the 2016 Book of the Year by the TriBeCa Film Festival's Disruptive Innovation Foundation.[6][7][8] Ross was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.[9][10] He is a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Bologna Business School.[11] He is also a Board Partner at Amplo, a global venture capital firm.[12]

Alec Ross
Alec Ross, state dept.jpg
Personal details
Born (1971-11-30) November 30, 1971 (age 50)
Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationNorthwestern University (BA)
WebsiteOfficial website


Ross was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia.[13] His father was a lawyer and his mother was a paralegal.[14] At age 12 he moved to Italy for a year to live with his grandfather, Ray DePaulo, who was the commercial minister at the U.S. embassy in Rome.[14] Ross attended college at Northwestern University.[15]

After graduating in 1994 from Northwestern University with a B.A. in history,[14] Ross moved to Baltimore to work at Booker T. Washington Middle School as a Teach for America AmeriCorps Member.[14][15][16] Ross taught for two years and then accepted a position as special assistant to the president of the Enterprise Foundation. He focused on developing business, technology and fundraising strategies.[17]

In 2000, he co-founded One Economy, a global nonprofit that uses innovative approaches to deliver the power of technology and information about education, jobs, health care and other vital issues to low-income people.[1]

Government serviceEdit

Ross teaching at Oxford University

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Ross played a key role in developing then-Sen. Barack Obama's technology and innovation plan, convening more than 500 advisors in the process of cultivating the candidate's innovation agenda.[7][18]

In April 2009, Ross joined the State Department as Senior Advisor on Innovation.[19] Hillary Clinton described his work by saying that "Alec Ross has been my right hand on all that we're doing for internet freedom." Alec worked with Hillary Clinton instituting Civil Society 2.0.[20]

Through his work at the State Department, Ross institutionalized ways to use Web video and social networking sites.[21] In 2009 he told U.S. News and World Report, "It's about how can you reach large numbers of people who otherwise would be difficult to impossible to reach."[22] Ross argued that governments using modern communications technologies can be more creative and responsive in how they enable people to engage directly with each other and with other countries.[23]

Ross also drove efforts to aid other countries through digital development initiatives like wiring schools, adding wireless capacity to public works, text-message reminders to HIV patients, and leap frogging communities from cash culture to mobile banking. During the Libyan uprising, Ross drove the State Department's efforts to "restore communication networks in rebel-held territories such as Benghazi, working with the late Amb. Chris Stevens, to fight the Internet blackout imposed by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi."[24] Ross' team also "provided communications technologies to opposition members in the Syrian border areas and trained NGOs on how to avoid the regime's censorship and cyber snooping."[24]

During his tenure at the State Department, Ross was a vocal critic of efforts to control or surveil the internet.

In addition to concerns over countries increasing surveillance capabilities, Ross highlighted cases where businesses prioritized profit motives over the potential harms of technologies. In 2011, he publicly "criticised the developers of internet surveillance equipment who were willing to sell their services to repressive regimes and allow governments to censor their citizens.”[25]

Political careerEdit

In April 2017, Ross launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Maryland in 2018.[26][27] In February 2018 he announced as his running mate Julie Verratti, a craft brewery co-owner, former Senior Advisor at the Small Business Administration, and LGBT political activist.[28][29] In June 2018, Ross finished seventh in the nine candidate Democratic primary with 2.4% of the votes.[30]

Personal lifeEdit

Ross lives in Baltimore, Maryland and in Italy with his wife, Felicity, and their three children: Colton, Tehle, and Sawyer.[13][31]



  • 2021: Alec Ross. The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People – and the Fight for Our Future. Henry Holt and Co.[32]
  • 2016: Alec Ross. The Industries of the Future. Simon & Schuster.


  • 2021: "The Pentagon's Army of Nerds." The Atlantic.[33]
  • 2016: Our Children and the Next Economy by Alec Ross.[34]
  • 2016: "The Language Barrier is About to Fall." The Wall Street Journal.[35]
  • 2013: Alec Ross. Light Up the West Bank: Want to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process? Start with 3G. Foreign Policy.[36]
  • 2012: Alec Ross. How connective tech boosts political change. CNN.[37]
  • 2011: Alec Ross and Ben Scott. 21st Century Statecraft. NATO Review.[38]
  • 2010: Alec Ross. Internet Freedom: Historic Roots and the Road Forward. The SAIS Review of International Affairs Volume 30, Number 2, Summer-Fall.[39]
  • 2007: Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross. A Laptop in Every Backpack with Simon Rosenberg. NDN Globalization Initiative.[40]


  • Distinguished Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State[41]
  • 2020 National Consumers Union, Massimiliano Dona Award[42]
  • Book of the Year, The TriBeCa Film Festival's Disruptive Innovation Foundation (2016)[8]
  • Disruptive Innovation Award, The TriBeCa Film Festival's Disruptive Innovation Foundation (2013)[43]
  • Oxford Internet Institute OII Award (2013)[44]
  • TriBeCa Film Festival Disruptive Innovator Award (2012)[45]

External linksEdit

  • 2021 C-SPAN The Raging 2020s: Alec Ross in conversation with Hillary Clinton
  • 2021 Barron's interview with Alec Ross
  • 2021 Bloomberg, The Five Best Books of 2021 According to Asia's Richest Man: Mukesh Ambani on The Raging 2020s
  • 2021 The Wall Street Journal, Business Leaders Share Their Favorite Books of 2021: David M. Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, on The Raging 2020s
  • 2018 Baltimore Sun Profile of Alec Ross
  • 2016 They Made Him a Moron: Evgeny Morozov's Profile of Alec Ross
  • 2016 The Industries of the Future: Charlie Rose interview
  • 2016 Ross on the Future of Work, CNN interview


  1. ^ a b Kang, Cecilia (April 6, 2009), "Diplomatic Efforts Get Tech Support", The Washington Post.
  2. ^ "Alec Ross - Columbia University - Senior Fellow". Aspen Institute. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  3. ^ The Industries of the Future. Simon & Schuster. February 2, 2016. ISBN 9781442399549. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "Best Sellers". The New York Times. February 29, 2016. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Hill, Andrew (April 11, 2021). "A reading list to prepare for a post-pandemic age". Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  6. ^ "The Industries of the Future". Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  7. ^ a b McCauley, Mary Carole (June 18, 2016). "Book by Baltimore-based tech futurist makes global splash". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Carmody, Bill (April 24, 2016). "20 Most Disruptive Innovators of 2016". Inc. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  9. ^ "Alec Ross | Official Publisher Page". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Patrick, Anna (March 27, 2016). "Charleston native, author Alec Ross to speak at Taylor Books". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  11. ^ "Ross Alec". BBS - Bologna Business School. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  12. ^ Geron, Tomio (May 22, 2019). "Susan Rice, Other Politicos Join Venture Firm Amplo". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Wood, Pamela. "Democrat Alec Ross, tech expert and author, says as Maryland governor he'll focus on 'what's next'". Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d Conconi, Chuck, "WL Feature: Alec Ross, Digital Diplomat", Washington Life, March 25, 2010
  15. ^ a b Kurtz, Josh (March 7, 2017). "SCOOP: Baltimore tech entrepreneur ponders run for governor in 2018". Maryland Matters. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  16. ^ Philipsen, Klaus (March 30, 2017). "A Governor from Baltimore?". Community Architect Daily blog. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  17. ^ "Innovator Alec Ross Joins State Dept.," National Journal, April 6, 2009. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 11, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Hillary Clinton Launches "21st Century Statecraft" Initiative by State Department", TechPresident, May 13, 2009.
  19. ^ "The Creative List: New Media", Washington Life, November 8, 2009.
  20. ^ Speech by Hillary Clinton, November 3, 2009. Found w/reference to Ross at:
  21. ^ "Obama's Geek Squad", Wired, June 18, 2009.
  22. ^ " Hillary Clinton Turns State Department Tech-Friendly", U.S. News & World Report, June 15, 2009.
  23. ^ "P2P2G: The rise of e-diplomacy", Politico, June 4, 2009.
  24. ^ a b Rogin, Josh (March 14, 2013). "Tech guru Alec Ross leaves the State Department". Foreign Policy. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  25. ^ Wilson, Cherry (November 2, 2011). "Clinton adviser makes Twitter attack on surveillance equipment firms". The Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  26. ^ "Alec Ross for Governor". Alec Ross for Governor of Maryland. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  27. ^ Kamisar, Ben (April 26, 2017). "Former State Department adviser announces run for Maryland governor". The Hill. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  28. ^ "Gubernatorial Candidate Alec Ross picks craft brewery owner Julie Verratti as his running mate". WMAR-TV. February 19, 2018. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  29. ^ Cox, Erin (February 19, 2018). "Democrat Alec Ross picks Montgomery County brewer as running mate". The Baltimore Sun.
  30. ^ "Official 2018 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for Governor / Lt. Governor". Maryland State Board of Elections. Annapolis, Maryland: State Board of Elections. July 31, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  31. ^ ORSI, LUCA (November 2, 2020). "Elezioni Usa 2020, Alec Ross "La mia Bologna a stelle e strisce"". il Resto del Carlino (in Italian). Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  32. ^ "The Raging 2020s | Alec Ross | Macmillan". US Macmillan. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  33. ^ Ross, Alec (September 12, 2021). "The Pentagon's Army of Nerds". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  34. ^ ""Our Children and the Next Economy" by Alec Ross - Omnivoracious - The Amazon Book Review". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  35. ^ Ross, Alec (January 29, 2016). "The Language Barrier Is About to Fall". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  36. ^ Ross, Alec (June 18, 2013). "Light Up the West Bank: Want to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process? Start with 3G". Foreign Policy. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  37. ^ Ross, Alec (June 20, 2012). "How connective tech boosts political change". CNN. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  38. ^ Ross, Alec; Ben Scott (2011). "21st Century Statecraft". NATO Review. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  39. ^ Ross, Alec (Summer–Fall 2010). "Internet Freedom: Historic Roots and the Road Forward. The SAIS Review of International Affairs". 30 (2). Retrieved November 17, 2011. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  40. ^ Rosenberg, Simon; Alec Ross (May 1, 2007). "Rosenberg". NDN Globalization Initiative. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  41. ^ "The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs".
  42. ^ "PREMIO DONA: ad Alec Ross e all'agenzia Adnkronos il riconoscimento 2020". Unione Nazionale Consumatori (in Italian). November 12, 2020. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  43. ^ Dale, Austin (April 3, 2012). "Tribeca to Honor Justin Bieber, Edward Burns and Others with Disruptive Innovation Awards". Indie Wire. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  44. ^ "Oxford Internet Institute Honours Internet Pioneers, John Seely-Brown, Alec Ross, Max Schrems and Galaxy Zoo Co-founder, Chris Lintott". Oxford Internet Institute. October 24, 2013.
  45. ^ "Tribeca to Honor Justin Bieber, Edward Burns and Others with Disruptive Innovation Awards". Indiewire. April 3, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2015.