FRANK ROSE is the author most recently of The Sea We Swim In: How Stories Work in a Data-Driven World, just published in the US and the UK and recently featured in the New York Times Book Review’s “New & Notable” column. His previous book, The Art of Im­mer­sion: How the Digital Gen­era­tion Is Remak­ing Holly­wood, Mad­ison Ave­nue, and the Way We Tell Stories, was a landmark work that showed how technology is chang­ing the age-old art of storytelling. Sparked by a decade of re­porting on media and technology for Wired, it has been called “a grand trip” by New Scientist and “a new media bible” by the Italian daily la Re­pubblica.
A senior fellow at Colum­bia University School of the Arts, Frank teach­es global busi­ness execu­tives as faculty director of the execu­tive edu­ca­tion seminar Strategic Story­telling, presented in part­nership with Colum­bia Business School. He is also awards director of Columbia’s pioneer­ing Digital Story­telling Lab, where in 2016 he launched the annual Digital Dozen: Break­throughs in Story­telling awards to honor the most innovative approaches to narra­tive from the past year.
Frank speaks fre­quently on the power of im­mersive story­telling. He has given key­notes at ad:tech Syd­ney, the Film4 Innovation Summit, The Guar­dian’s Changing Media Summit, and Shef­field Doc/Fest; debated the future of media at South by South­west, MIT, Ars Elec­tronica, and the Politecnico di Milano; and lec­tured at Stanford, USC, and NYU. He has addressed global mar­keting summits at Timber­land and Uni­lever, joined R&D sym­po­sia at the Mu­seum of Modern Art and the BBC, taken part in speak­er series at Goo­gle and Lu­casfilm, and led workshops at L’Oréal, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and the United Nations.
A native of Virginia, Frank graduated from Wash­ington & Lee with a degree in journalism and moved soon after to New York. He got his start covering the punk scene at CBGB for The Village Voice, chronicling the emergence of Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Talking Heads. During this period he partnered with photographer George Bennett on Real Men: Sex and Style in an Uncertain Age, a book about styles of masculinity that featured profiles of seven men—a military cadet, a punk rocker, a professional hockey player, a gay designer, a steelworker, a playboy stockbroker and a Hollywood actor. After that, as a contributing editor at Esquire in the early ’80s, he docu­mented a variety of highly idio­syn­cratic sub­cultures—New Wave in New York, generals and bu­reaucrats in the Pentagon, Chris­tian surfers in southern California, entre­preneurs in Silicon Valley. One of the first national maga­zine writers to start reporting on digital tech­nology, he waded into the cont­roversy around arti­ficial intel­ligence with Into the Heart of the Mind, a Bay Area best-seller about researchers at Berke­ley trying to pro­gram a com­puter with common sense.
In his next book, West of Eden: The End of Innocence at Apple Computer, Frank delved into the cult of Mac­intosh and the power struggle between Steve Jobs and John Sculley that ended with Jobs being expelled from the company. Now avail­able in an updated edition, it too became a Bay Area best-seller and was named one of the ten best busi­ness books of 1989 by Businessweek. He then turned his atten­tion to Holly­wood, becoming a contributing writer at the movie magazine Premiere and profiling such figures as Tim Burton and Jeffrey Katzen­berg. Acting on the suggestion of legendary “su­peragent” Sue Mengers, he turned a story on turmoil at William Morris into The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden His­tory of Show Business, a multi-generational saga of loyalty and betrayal at what was once the leading talent shop in Hollywood.
In 1997 he became a contributing writer at Fortune, where he broadened his focus from Holly­wood to the global media con­glomerates that dominated it—News Corp., Walt Disney, Time Warner, Sony, Viacom, and Universal—and the often ego-driven moguls who controlled them. Two years later he joined Wired as a contributing editor and over the next decade covered such stories as Samsung and the rise of the South Korean techno-state, the posthumous career of Philip K. Dick in Hollywood, and the making of James Cameron’s Avatar. When he realized as a result of this reporting that digital technology was changing the way we tell stories—that it was making them nonlinear, participatory and immersive—he left Wired to write The Art of Immersion.
Frank’s essays and reporting have also appeared in The New York Times Book Review and The New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, New York, The New Yorker online, Rolling Stone, strategy+business, Travel+Leisure (where he was a contributing editor in the late ’90s) and Vanity Fair. In addition to his speaking, consulting and academic work, he currently contributes to The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and other publications. He lives in the East Village of Manhattan and travels as widely as possible. ♦