Portrait by George Del Barrio
|Born||1973 (age 44-45)|
|Subject||Design, Technology, Apple Inc.|
|Notable works||Markdown, Daring Fireball, The Talk Show, Vesper|
|Spouse||Amy Jane Gruber|
John Gruber (born 1973) is a writer, blog publisher, UI designer, and the inventor of the Markdown publishing format. Gruber is from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area. He received his Bachelor of Science in computer science from Drexel University, then worked for Bare Bones Software (2000-02) and Joyent (2005-06). Since 2002, he has written and produced Daring Fireball, a technology-focused blog. He hosts a related podcast called The Talk Show. In early 2013, Gruber, Brent Simmons, and Dave Wiskus founded software development firm Q Branch to develop the Vesper notes app for iOS. The venture was not successful, and Q Branch has since shut down.
Gruber has described his Daring Fireball writing as a "Mac column in the form of a weblog". It was partly inspired by kottke.org and Jason Kottke. The site is written in the form of a tumblelog called The Linked List, a linklog with brief commentary, in between occasional longform articles that discuss Apple products and issues in related consumer technology. Gruber often writes about user interfaces, software development, Mac applications, and Apple's media coverage.
In 2004, Gruber began selling memberships, where readers donate an amount of money annually to show support for Gruber's writing and also to gain access to other perks. The perks included more detailed feeds, but Gruber has downplayed the importance of the extra features, comparing them to "PBS tote bags". Daring Fireball logo T-shirts are also sold, which include a membership and a discount on further T-shirts. All of the site's content is freely available, and in August 2007, Gruber made all of the site's feeds freely available as well, and each week the feed features a sponsor.
Gruber's last account of his part-time Daring Fireball income called it a substantial side income, short of a full-time salary. For most of the time when Daring Fireball was a part-time project, Gruber worked as an independent web designer; between late 2005 and April 2006, Gruber's main job was at Joyent where he helped with the TextDrive acquisition.
In April 2006, producing Daring Fireball became Gruber's full-time job, funded by advertisement revenue, membership fees, T-shirt sales, and donations from software projects also hosted on the site, such as Markdown. From 2006 to 2017, the site displayed advertisements from The Deck, an advertising network serving sites like A List Apart and 37signals in addition to Daring Fireball. In addition to this, many Amazon.com links once carried Daring Fireball's referral ID, and the site's preferences once included a choice of local Amazon store. Amazon removed Daring Fireball from their affiliate program for a violation of their terms of service.
As of January 2018, Gruber charges US$9,000 per week for RSS feed sponsorship which includes a "promotional item during the week" and a "linked list item" to the sponsor at the end of the week.
Blogger and software developer John Saddington shared results from his sponsorship of Daring Fireball, stating that sales of his indie macOS app Desk generated $6,000 in profit just during the week of advertising, and ultimately contributed to the app being featured as one of Apple's Best Apps of 2014.
The Talk Show is a technology podcast started by Gruber intended as a "director's commentary" to his website, Daring Fireball. In June 2007, Gruber and Dan Benjamin began co-hosting an independent podcast featuring conversations and commentary on trends, mainly focusing on technology at thetalkshow.net. This format persisted but the show "started over" and helped establish Benjamin's 5by5 Studios network. The show ran from July 2010 until May 2012 for a total of 90 episodes with 5by5. Gruber again moved the show to the Mule Radio Syndicate network in May 2012. This time, Gruber changed the format and became the sole host of the show with alternating guests each episode. The show ran for 80 episodes and in May 2014, The Talk Show parted ways with Mule Radio and became part of Daring Fireball. The show continues to use the episode number scheme and logo started at Mule Radio.
While Gruber has remained a constant through all four iterations of the show, archives of the show's episodes are inconsistent. The initial 27 episodes that were co-hosted with Benjamin were removed by Dan in 2016 for reasons that remain unclear. Only some of the episodes created during the time at Mule Radio remain available. All 5by5 episodes, and those posted since Gruber took it in-house at Daring Fireball, are available as of March 2018.
Guests are mainly programmers, designers, analysts and journalists. Some recurring guests include John Moltz, Marco Arment, Merlin Mann, Craig Hockenberry, John Siracusa, Rene Ritchie, Guy English, MG Siegler, Ben Thompson, Joanna Stern, Brent Simmons, Om Malik, Jason Snell, Christa Mrgan, Dave Wiskus, Matthew Panzarino, and Serenity Caldwell.
Apple Inc. senior vice president (SVP) of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller appeared as a guest on the live episode of The Talk Show during WWDC 2015 in San Francisco. Apple SVPs Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi appeared as guests on a recorded episode published February 12, 2016. Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi also appeared on the live episodes of The Talk Show during WWDC 2016 and 2017.
John Gruber has increasingly appeared as a conference speaker, starting in the United States but going worldwide in recent years. His presentations focus on a subset of topics that he covers on Daring Fireball, mainly the intersection of Apple, movies, and the creative process.
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