Schwartz, Evan I.
SCHWARTZ, Evan I.
PERSONAL: Male. Education: Union College, B.S. (computer science).
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Journalist and author. Editor for Business Week.
AWARDS, HONORS: (With Business Week team) National Magazine Award and Computer Press award; Computer Press Award for Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web.
Digital Darwinism: Seven Breakthrough Business Strategies for Surviving in the Cutthroat Web Economy, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Wired, and Technology Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Evan I. Schwartz is a journalist whose specialty is technology. In addition to contributing to magazines and newspapers, he has written a number of books, including Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web. Schwartz offers a history and review of the way in which the Web works and demonstrates that there is no guarantee that the usual business marketing methods will be successful with the newest medium. He provides case studies about Web sites of a range of businesses, from Playboy, to Saturn, to Amazon.com in demonstrating that there is more to building a successful site than getting hits. "While Schwartz's book isn't a how-to, it is fascinating reading," wrote John Frazer Dobson in Computer Shopper.
Schwartz continues his investigation into making money on the Web with Digital Darwinism: Seven Breakthrough Business Strategies for Surviving in the Cutthroat Web Economy. Each of the chapters ends with a survival guide that reviews the lessons learned. Although the book is aimed at commerce on the Internet, it contains relevant information for marketing a broader range of bricks-and-mortar businesses. In an EContent review, Deborah Lynne Wiley called Schwartz's writing "excellent. … I particularly liked how each chapter included examples of different organizations that had their own twist on implementing the chapter's designated strategy—and not always successfully, either."
Lewis Perdue wrote in Barron's that Schwartz provides "some tantalizing case histories and analysis, some of which are mind-boggling. I mean, who ever heard of allowing prices to fluctuate freely with supply and demand? That just plays bloody hell with spreadsheets and projections, right? Well, if you don't do this, somebody else will and will eat your market share before lunch, Schwartz asserts."
In reviewing the volume in Latin Trade, Andres Hernandez Alende wrote that "Schwartz does not focus on economic Darwinism from an ethical perspective, but rather as a tangible reality. He neither questions it nor defends it: He simply explains it. But that is precisely what gives his work its value. … Schwartz not only provides a weapon to wield in the battle for survival, he brings a sense of balance and common sense to the natural selection of the electronic marketplace."
Schwartz spent several years researching the lives of Philo T. Farnsworth and David Sarnoff in writing The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and theBirth of Television. "Schwartz's yarn has the rich sweep of good fiction," said Lew McCreary for Darwin online, "built as it is on themes of innocence, virtue, greed and power."
The story is a sad one and begins with Farnsworth, who at age fourteen, invented the first unique car key. Until that time, one was the same as another. At the same age, while working in his father's fields, he conceptualized how pictures could be transmitted line by line and produced by sending electrons through a vacuum tube. Farnsworth, who spent just one year in college, at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, devoured science books and revered the great inventors, such as Bell, Edison, Morse, and the Wright brothers. He was twenty when he set up his tiny lab in San Francisco.
It took several years for him to develop a primitive system, and David Sarnoff, the young head of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) sent his chief television engineer, Vladimir Zworykin to see what Farnsworth had accomplished after Farnsworth successfully demonstrated his television system on September 27, 1927. At the time RCA held all the critical patents for radio, forcing all other companies to pay royalties. Schwartz argues that, because Sarnoff did not believe in paying royalties to an individual inventor, he instructed Zworykin to copy Farnsworth's patented work. RCA then took Farnsworth to court, challenging his patents, but lost, and Farnsworth was acknowledged to be the inventor of television. RCA planned to licensed the patents, but World War II postponed development of the new medium. By the time the war ended, Farnsworth's patents had expired, and RCA developed the technology with never a nod—or payment—to its inventor. Shattered, Farnsworth fell into a depression and began to drink. In ill health, he died in 1971.
There is a bronze statue of Farnsworth in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., that identifies him as the "Father of Television." In writing Farnsworth's story, Schwartz interviewed his widow, Elma G. "Pem" Farnsworth, who was in her nineties when they first met, an with whom he is sharing royalties from the book.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Barron's, September 6, 1999, Lewis Perdue, review of Digital Darwinism: Seven Breakthrough Business Strategies for Surviving in the Cutthroat Web Economy, p. 47.
Booklist, April 15, 1997, Benjamin Segedin, review of Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web, p. 1370.
Computer Shopper, January, 1998, John Frazer Dobson, review of Webonomics, p. 513.
EContent, December, 1999, Deborah Lynne Wiley, review of Digital Darwinism, p. 92.
Fast Company, winter, 2000, Gina Imperato, review of Digital Darwinism.
Forbes, April 1, 2002, Susan Adams, review of The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television, p. 122.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of The Last Lone Inventor, p. 475.
Latin Trade, October, 1999, Andres Hernandez Alende, review of Digital Darwinism, p. 92.
Library Journal, April 15, 1997, Dennis Krieb, review of Webonomics, p. 93; June 15, 1999, Lawrence Maxted, review of Digital Darwinism, p. 88; May 15, 2002, Andrea Slonosky, review of The Last Lone Inventor, p. 100.
New Yorker, May 27, 2002, Malcolm Gladwell, review of The Last Lone Inventor, p. 112.
New York Times Book Review, June 9, 2002, Joel Brinkley, "The Crime behind Every TV," p. 31.
Publishers Weekly, April 29, 2002, review of The Last Lone Inventor, p. 56.
Salt Lake Tribune, June 30, 2002, Martin Naparsteck, review of The Last Lone Inventor.
Wall Street Journal, July 28, 1997, Stanley W. Angrist, review of Webonomics, p. A16.
Darwinmag.com,http://www2.darwinmag.com/ (October 22, 2002), Lew McCreary, review of The Last Lone Inventor.
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (July 20, 1999), Janelle Brown, review of Digital Darwinism.
SF Gate,http://www.sfgate.com/ (June 13, 2002), D. F. Tweney, interview with Schwartz.*