Where are you from?
I was raised in Palo Alto, Calif. – the heart of the Silicon Valley. I learned to program computers in fifth grade. I consider myself a digital native.
Who are your favorite writers?
Ah, there are so many. A few highlights: Katherine Boo, Michael Lewis, Bryan Burrough, and Michael Pollan.
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project helped me shape my first person approach to this book.
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
Reading and writing.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
In 9th grade, my social studies teacher pulled me aside and said “Cynicism is the easy way out. It’s much harder to be optimistic. I challenge you to take the harder path.”
What is your favorite quote?
“All you need is hope.” It’s not really a famous quote, just a phrase that inspires me.
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Why should I care about privacy? The answer is “because your data can and will be used against you.”
What inspired you to write your first book?
I fell in love with the untold story of how MySpace’s unlikely beginnings and wanted to tell the story.
Where do you write?
In a room with painted pink walls, with a scented candle burning and music playing.
What is the silliest thing you did while reporting this book?
I wrapped my cellphone in in tinfoil for a day to prevent my location from being tracked.