Craig K. Collins is a San Diego-based author and executive. His first book THUNDER IN THE MOUNTAINS: A Portrait of American Gun Culture is a work of literary non-fiction that offers readers a unique and personal look at our country’s ongoing gun crisis. Collins is a master at spinning eloquent coming-of-age tales set against the majestic backdrop of the American West and in the small towns of his youth. One of the seminal events of his life occurred during a deer hunt with his father and brothers in the rugged wilderness of Northeastern Nevada. That’s when Collins, at the age of 13, accidentally shot himself in the foot with a high-powered deer rifle. It was a harrowing incident, and he uses it as a jumping-off point for his engaging and poignant memoir about the historical formation of America’s gun culture and how the effects of that culture came to reverberate daily coast-to-coast.
A native of Pocatello, Idaho, Collins attended college in San Diego, where he has lived since. He holds a BA in English and an MBA from San Diego State University. After a stint as a journalist, he served as a senior executive for Fortune 500 companies. Later, he founded a series of technology start-ups and has raised over $60m in venture capital. He currently serves as President & CEO of Boost Academy, a venture-backed educational technology firm.
Collins is well-versed in big data and analytics, and since his gun accident, has had a long and abiding interest in America’s ongoing epidemic of gun violence. This interest and expertise led him to found and serve as Executive Director of the Center for Gun Analytics. The San Diego-based non-profit is dedicated to leveraging the power of technology and big data to accurately illuminate the true nature of American gun deaths and injuries. The organization’s team of scientists, statisticians and researchers employ the latest software, analytical and algorithmic systems to glean insight from current gun violence data. The findings and data are then shared, publicized and made widely available for the public good. The CGA advocates for increased federal funding – to agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health – that’s on a level commensurate with the pervasive scope of American gun violence, an epidemic that claims over 114,000 casualties annually.
Rob Reid is a writer and technology entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, California. He’s the author of YEAR ZERO (Random House/Del Rey, 2012) – a New York Times best-selling novel about aliens with a disastrously expensive weakness for American pop music. In reviewing Year Zero, the Associated Press said, “Reid’s extreme imagination never wanes as he builds an entire universe,” while Wired’s Editor-in-Chief named it “my pick for best (and funniest) sci-fi book of the year.” Amazon.com named YEAR ZERO one of the ten best Science Fiction and Fantasy books of 2012, as did Apple’s iBookstore. The novel also finished sixth in the science fiction category from a field of (literally) thousands of qualifying titles in the annual Readers Choice Awards on GoodReads.
Rob’s essays, articles, and op-ed work have included pieces in the Wall Street Journal, Business 2.0, and a cover story for Wired magazine, in addition to pieces in innumerable highly trafficked websites and blogs. He is also a widely cited speaker on issues connected to media, technology, and public policy. A talk that he gave about copyright law from the main stage at TED’s flagship 2012 conference has been viewed millions of times across YouTube, the main TED site, and other video sites, and was the third most heavily-viewed talk from that conference on TED.com. Rob has been interviewed about his writing and his viewpoints on nationally distributed NPR shows including On the Media, All Things Considered, West Coast Live, and LiveWire.
Rob has worked as an executive, venture capitalist, and entrepreneur in the technology world since 1994. He was the sole founder, CEO, and Chairman of Listen.com, the online music company that developed the Rhapsody music service. Rhapsody was the world’s largest seller of online music until it was eclipsed (rather badly, he’ll admit) by Apple’s iTunes service. Rob sold Listen and Rhapsody to RealNetworks. Viacom’s MTV Networks division later bought half of Rhapsody, and in March of 2010 it was spun out as an independent company. Rhapsody now has over a million paying subscribers. Rob holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a BA and an MA from Stanford University, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Cairo Egypt.
He is currently working on his second novel, EMERGENT.
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