Married. Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, bachelor's and master's degrees.
Home—New York, NY.
Entrepreneur, consultant, public speaker, and writer. Founder and president, Creative Good (electronic commerce consulting firm), c. 1997—, and Good Experience (media company); has also worked for Yoyodyne Entertainment (online game company). Host, GEL conference (Good Experience Live).
Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of E-mail and Information Overload, Elevate (Charleston, SC), 2007.
Mark Hurst is the founder of the Creative Good consulting firm that helps make Internet technology easier to use for companies. Named one of the 1,000 most creative individuals in the U.S. by information technology pioneer Richard Saul Wurman, and Netrepreneur of the Year by InfoWorld magazine, Hurst commented on his consulting firm in an interview with Lou Rosenfeld on the ACIA Web site: "The mission of Creative Good was, and still is, to make the Web easier to use—so from day one I've tried to help companies make their Web sites easier, simpler, more useful, more relevant, more valuable to their customers." Hurst is also the author of Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of E-mail and Information Overload. Here the author addresses the experience of "digital overload"; that is, the overwhelming flood of e-mail, multiple list e-mails, documents in various file formats, and the distractions of cell phones and other digital devices that are part of modern life.
In an interview with Matthew Cornell on the Matt's Idea Blog, Hurst noted: "Five, ten or twenty years from now, the bits will increase exponentially: email, web, phones and PDAs. Without proper training, users everywhere will face an increasingly urgent problem of overload. Now is the moment to learn bit literacy. It's like getting in shape on a slow-moving treadmill before it speeds up to a sprinting pace."
Bit Literacy takes the how-to approach one step farther by offering an entirely new way of attaining productivity. In his interview with Rosenfeld, the author commented: "The customer experience will be increasingly holistic, made up of many more different interfaces and devices. The only constant in all this change will be the bit. The technology customer experience for the next ten years will be defined by the bit: its inherent properties, its seepage into all areas of life, its increasing numbers, and people's ability to engage all of that. I have developed a new perspective that allows people to engage and thrive within the bits: it's called ‘bit literacy.’"
The author offers his advice for users who have various levels of expertise and in a way so that readers can start implementing his advice immediately. In his guide to working more productively in the digital age, Hurst begins by providing an overall context of the digital age, providing an overview of the influx of digital information, the people who use such information, and the potential solution to the problems of managing these various sources of digital information. In the second part of the book, he focuses on practical advice, from managing incoming e-mail and to-do lists to naming and storing files. He also discusses other essentials to good management in the digital age and discusses the future of bit literacy.
"Today, it's harder and harder to be done. Just as we answer one email, two more come in," the author explained to Cornell. "Just as we finish one project, we are reminded that another is behind schedule. We only partially listen to the music or watch the video which is downloaded, because we're too busy downloading another to put in the queue. Bit literacy grants the possibility of being done not just occasionally, but on a regular basis in order to work more productively and enjoy a fuller life outside of work."
Writing a review of Bit Literacy on the Mark Bernstein Web site, Bernstein noted that many of the author's concerns may not apply to everyone who deals with e-mail or other electronic devices. However, Bernstein goes on to write that the author "has good ideas about ToDo lists" and that "the book makes an interesting if tangentially-argued case for giving an email account to your software applications."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, October, 2007, R.F. Conklin, review of Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of E-mail and Information Overload, p. 318
ACIA,http://argus-acia.com/ (August 30, 2000), Lou Rosenfeld, author interview.
Bit Literacy Web site,http://bitliteracy.com (April 15, 2008).
Mark Bernstein Web site,http://markbernstein.org/ (April 23, 2007), Mark Bernstein, review of Bit Literacy.
Matt's Idea Blog,http://ideamatt.blogspot.com/ (January 23, 2008), Matthew Cornell, author interview.