Sally Richards is an author, technologist and entrepreneur. She has ghostwritten 20 books (under NDA) on the subjects of company leadership, career strategies, health and technology. She has also written four books of her own regarding the past, present and future of technology, business models/startups, investment, privacy, crypto and government intervention of technology, and has been interviewed as an expert on those subjects by the BBC, CNN and many others. She is often asked to speak on the subjects of privacy, promoting math and science with school-aged girls, technology and writing and finds herself racking up many frequent flyer miles while meeting intriguing people across the country and the world.
Sally has been published more than 4,000 times throughout the world on subjects having to do with technology, media trends, investment, startups, romance, empowering women, job search, parenting and legal issues, health, sports, death, grief, life after death, spirituality, equal opportunity employment, sexual harassment, animal care and subjects too numerous to list. Sally was once a restaurant review critic for Knight-Ridder and a career columnist for two employment syndications including Brass Ring. She loves finding out more about life and uses her work to meet and interview some of the most interesting people in the world. She worked as a journalist for pubs such as Newsweek, Informationweek, Writer’s Digest, Script Magazine and Bride’s for the past 20 years.
Sally started up a glossy regional magazine eight years ago (as managing editor) that is still quite healthy. Always eager for change and on the move, she did stints as interim managing editor for local and business publications and websites. Sally has come a long way (and many years) since she was 17-years-old and found the mysterious and missing Syd Barrett (of Pink Floyd fame) while on an assignment for Rolling Stone (although, in the end, photos in hand, she decided that some things shouldn't be put to paper).
Born and raised (except for that five-year-stint in Hawaii when her father was in Nam) in Silicon Valley, she has seen companies come and go — both her parents were engineers who brought their work home with them. She had a soldering gun in one hand and was programming with her other by the time she was 12-years-old. Technology has always been her great love. While working her way through college, she was employed in the journalism industry while also helping to create technology patents for Silicon Valley law firms. Sally attended UCLA, the Polytechnic of Central London and Northeastern University before completing her journalism studies at Stanford University.
Now that the Old Guard of Silicon Valley historians have passed, Sally is believed to be one of the most well-versed historians on the area. Whether it was the venture capitalists of Spain navigating to California on a ship, or the VCs of today, Sally believes the lessons of the past teach us about life in the present. Her coffee table book Sand Dreams & Silicon Orchards was well received as a 1,000-year retrospective of Silicon Valley. She is known as one of Silicon Valley’s digerati and was featured several times in USA Today for her Rolodex and networking ability. Sally also co-owned a small R&D technology tool company where her clients included Intel and NIST.
Sally lived in Los Angeles where she was the senior writer for a large financial corporation where she was bored to tears and turned her talents to writing about murder (that’s what middle management will do to you) and optioned several thriller screenplays. She is also known for her technology white papers and case studies where she turns technology into an entertaining story to be consumed by a CTO level audience. As you can probably guess, Sally keeps her mind in new projects and her butt in front of her computer, an audience or on a plane. Her interests stem from the root of writing: words, and all the places they take her. Fascinated with communication through media and global networks, she strives to reach the masses each day with content. She has written in just about every genre EXCEPT poetry and song lyrics...and for that the world should be very thankful.
Sally was involved with the high-profile Dmitry Sklyarov case and found herself on CNN as WIRED magazine's expert on the Russian programmer in what turned out to be a case that the Department of Justice lost (as she predicted it would). She also introduced Sklyarov to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) that came to the PhD student’s financial aid in his fight from being unjustly prosecuted by the U.S. Federal Government. She currently has a bead on technologists’ rights and government intervention in the creation and use of technology. Her group LiLoTe (LIfe, LOve TEchnology) hosts wild evening talks featuring digerati and technologists talking about national security vs. civil liberties, natural rights and technology.
Sally feels that the year '08 will bring much in the form how people handle their own privacy - the Patriot Act and its brethren legislation have made it more apparent that people need to know more about what they are losing and what it is in exchange of. How will life change as technology becomes more integrated into our lives? Sally, a victim of extreme identity theft, believes in privacy and protecting it from technology. She co-spoke with Len Kleinrock, the co-founder of the Internet, at DefCon, the world’s infamous hacker convention. She advised hackers that people would pay for privacy if they could just reverse their hacking methods for private use as protection against government and commercial data collection intervention. Most scoffed at the thought, but she feels that day will soon come to pass. She is working on a project that integreates technology and privacy in a spam program that allows the user full control of their filter - allowing them to train it like no other program currently does. The program, F*ck all spam, also has a piece that helps eliminate spammers from the Internet through use of a wicked honeypot method, with social elements attached. She is currenty writing the code for this program that will be released on http://sourceforge.net as an open source tool for beta testing.
She co-founded a women's group Wild Women of Wonder (WiWoWo) where women talk about everything that matters — you won't find the meek of heart here. The group received lots of media attention since its Northern California inception in 2001 - see press room www.sallyrichards.com/press/index.html. The group was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, The Mercury News and other press. Her new women's group LiLoLa (LIve, LOve, LAugh) based in her new locale in Southern California is gaining traction as she gathers wonderfully wild women to gather and discuss. She also has wild networking gatherings on San Francisco's Ocean Beach with raucous bonfires (called DuraLiNi - DuraFlame Light Nights - events named as such because you are required to bring a DuraFlame log along) where the tribe talks, makes music and plays late into the night. The group has welcomed coverage by the BBC and other media outlets and hosts guests from all over the world.
Sally is a Fellow at the Silicon Valley World Internet Center in Silicon Valley where she advises the organization about what direction to take next as the sand quickly shifts depending on the market and investment temperatures. The international companies and government agencies that contract the org seek advice on future technology, partnerships and products. They also wish to know how to bottle the innovation they find in Silicon Valley and transplant it into their own burgeoning technology clusters in need of economic and visionary advice. Sally also has her own small portfolio of early-stage startup companies seeking her tech advice and contacts for investment. Sally is a member of the Millennium Project, a renegade United Nations think tank organization of technologists seeking solutions to promote world peace.
Sally is also a former member of John Wiley & Sons Editorial Advisory Board where she brought them John Chambers & the Cisco Way in 2002 with author John Waters. Once an agent, but wanting to leave that work to someone else, Sally now packages author's and would-be author's books. Her favorite packaged books include Suzanne Woo's On Course for Business, (Wiley, 2002), Rose Offner, author of several journaling books and Don Richard and John Brodie (two serial killer profilers specializing in high-profile child abductions) who wrote Don't Take My Child, a guide to keeping children safe from predators.
A journalist and author of 20-plus years, Sally has seen a lot of technology come and go, and loves chronicling its passages and finding those on the bleeding edge of its future. The latest book written under her name titled FutureNet (Wiley) is about the past, present and future of the Internet and includes interviews with people such as Len Kleinrock, Larry Roberts, Craig Newmark, Dave Farber, Vint Cerf, Fred Baker, Phil Zimermann, Judy Estrin, Dave Winer, etc. talking about this magnificent tool - the Internet. The book parallels the tech blips in technology that came before WWII and 9/11, the burst of government money and partnerships that came shortly thereafter both of those attacks (Pearl Harbor and WTC) and the McCarthy hearings and Department of Justice/FBI/Homeland intervention that followed.
Sally longs for the day when her head is cracked open and a beautiful little chip is placed inside so all she'll have to do is close her eyes for total connectivity, although she does worry about privacy and technical issues that will cause (how would you like Windows running in your head!). The question then will be - How many pop up ads does it take for your head to go offline? That day will come in the not so distant future (relatively speaking). She ran as a write-in candidate for California governor last election on the platform that all state government offices use open source software. She was the Santa Clara County Chair for the Jerry Brown presidential campaign and worked as a key player in the Al Haig for president campaign. Sally has a deep passion for physics and a background in hardware and software. She sits on the advisory boards of several high tech companies.
For now, Sally's vacations are spent in foreign locations (see the Cool Cam link on her site for more details) and Los Angeles behind her Nikon where she revels in the fascinating moments of being an observer. Her photos have been published in magazines such as Newsweek, and newspapers and magazines throughout the world. You can check out some of her more fun work under the Pics button on the homepage. She plans to have enough photos for a show titled Deadlines, that will highlight copious amounts of drained Jolt Cola cans in her recycling bins, stacks of dirty dishes, her Calico goldfish who always watch her working with such fascination and horror (we'll soon see if that's just her imagination) and, of course, her cats who never miss an opportunity to show their impatience for her work schedule.
Sally spent most of the spring and summer of ’05 driving across the country so that she could actually meet the people of Middle-America who voted for Bush. She drove through 33 states on her way to and from Book Expo in Manhattan, and found (in nearly every state) there were people who could not give her directions to leave their state line (or even their county line), someone offering to save her soul, and a Wal-Mart (killing America’s small business one store at a time) every 35 miles. She visited the oldest spiritualist community in America, Lily Dale, in Northern (let’s just say that if you go for petrol you could end up in Toronto) New York. She first found it referenced doing some obscure research on magician Harry Houdini. Lily Dale offers some amazing classes during their open season that helped explain the many paranormal-type experiences Sally's had her entire life.
She shared the third floor of her spooky Victorian Hotel with monks from the Dalai Lama's Drepung Loseling Institute for a week who were ending their three-year tour to raise money for awareness and expenses back home. The hotel wasn’t spooky until the monks, joyous and filled with light, left and she was the only person on the third floor. Lily Dale is an amazingly magical place.
That trip, Sally also picked up a puppy for her husband in Florida and was physically struck by secondary lightning driving through a tropical storm brewing into a hurricane in Texas. The only things that saved her from surviving the 70 MPH speed she was driving at and unable to steer through (lightning does that to you) was the puppy Cairo (who broke the electrical charge — he is fine), and the thought of dying in George Bush’s home state.
Sally returned from her trip with thousands of digital images from cemeteries throughout the United States featuring turn-of-the-century funerary art rapidly deteriorating from exposure to acid rain, smog, mold, lack of care and apathy to restore and protect them. One angel statue in upstate New York literally disintegrating as she put her finger gently upon its delicate zinc carved hand. These statues represent the art and social periods America has gone through in its short history - and they will soon be gone forever. Sally collected the images for projects and future generations to revel in their beauty and symbolism. Sally's most recent trip took her across country with her daughter where they visited many of America's first formal cemeteries and collected turn-of-the-century mourning jewelry from many parts of the country.
She recently found her heart in a most joyous state when she married her high school sweetheart (after many, many years apart). The skeptic who used to believe that true love was a fallacy now enjoys spending time with her wonderful husband who brings her happiness in too many ways to count (a much higher math needs to be created to calculate this number). They live with their three cats, three security dogs (okay, so one is a jack russell, but the other two are big and wander the perimeter of their geodesic dome looking for someone to entertain their teeth). She is currently teaching her dogs to hang-twenty on a surfboard in the warm coastal ocean somewhere near the Mexican border.
Sally's favorite movies?
Blade Runner (the director's cut) www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/
Harold & Maude www.imdb.com/title/tt0067185/
The Squid and the Whale www.imdb.com/title/tt0367089/
Falling Down (favorite line from the movie - "I'm the bad guy? When did that happen? I did everything they told me to do.") www.imdb.com/title/tt0106856/
Greendale (filmed in Pescadero and Half Mon Bay - Neil Young hits a high note with this one) www.imdb.com/title/tt0379307/
The Thin Man series of films www.imdb.com/title/tt0025878/">www.imdb.com/title/tt0025878/">www.imdb.com/title/tt0025878/
Cemetery Man www.imdb.com/title/tt0109592/">www.imdb.com/title/tt0109592/
Three Iron www.sonyclassics.com/3iron/">www.sonyclassics.com/3iron/The Point www.imdb.com/title/tt0067595/
Least favorite food?
Anything with pasta noodles or red sauce - I don't like thinking that somewhere in some prison thousands of miles away there's some serial killer or perhaps even President Bush (same thing) eating some noodle that was connected to mine at one time. I don't eat meat. Thai food and dimsum kick are heaven.
NBC & PBS (although I probably shouldn't be admitting to them in that order....).
Law & Order -- I miss Lenny ;( www.imdb.com/title/tt0098844/
Homicide: Life on the Streets www.imdb.com/title/tt0106028/
Sex & The City www.imdb.com/title/tt0159206/
Curb Your Enthusiasm www.imdb.com/title/tt0264235/
Favorite dead network show?
Favorite place to vacation?
A restored snake goddess temple (now an exclusive B&B) in the jungles of Thailand that you have to hike three miles from the coast to get to.
Lily Dale www.lilydaleassembly.com/
What does Sally want to be when she grows up?
I have to grow up?!
Grace Hopper (she's the only one besides myself who finds real bugs in her computers…but she knows exactly to do with them). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper
What is Sally's super power?
Throwing flaming cards that turn into fireballs. Okay, not really. My superpower is having complete strangers, or just about anyone around break out in conversation (no matter how much I ignore them) and spill their guts and confess things that I woud really consider "too much information."
Favorite X-Men super hero?
Favorite search engine?
Google.com (because they co-sponsored the 1999 Stanford/Cal —in that order. Yeah, I'll rub it in....we won, we won, we won!). They also send me a huge amount of traffic. Although I'm starting to hate them now because of their selling our privacy wholesale to the highest bidder, and the government.
Well, before I was a happily married woman, I saw the perfect date as an evening with Al Einstein, lampshades on our heads, lots of booze and an entire night of swing dancing to big band records on my Victrola. That aside, an evening with Max Weinberg AND Conan O'Brien on the crazy streets of Paris during a power outage (this IS a fantasy, electricity outages only happen in California and India!) would suffice.
My perfect date now is a drive-in movie with my husband, bench seats, holding hands (and whatever else moves us), sharing a soda and a bucket of popcorn.
Okapi. I find their beautiful blue tongues fascinating and would like to one day find an entire herd of hundreds; they are quite rare to find in large numbers, especially those with pierced tongues (Okapi and blue tongues are serious, just wanted to check and see if you read the rest).
Favorite place to shoot photos?
Kenya. Africa is so amazing everything else seems to slip away. Maui is also great. Yosemite, too.
Favorite radio show?
This American Life (with a Home Prairie Companion running a very close second).
E-Z Bake oven (I've never figured out how to use a real one), Etch-a-Sketch.
Favorite Radio Stations
PBS, NPR, www.virginradio.co.uk/thestation/listen/ I love everything about the UK - especially the music. The morning DJs on this station are great!
Favorite day of the week?
Monday, I love starting the week out knowing I have a full five days to get things done, or at least while other people are still in their offices.
Favorite times of day?
Sunrise & twilight.