Category Archives: Media appearance

Announcing “Captivology”, My Book on the Science of Attention (HarperCollins/2015)

Dear friends, family, colleagues, and supporters,

I’m thrilled to announce my first non-fiction book, working title “Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention“, due in early 2015 from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins.

I hope you will sign up for updates on Captivology through my book’s website. You can follow @Captivology on Twitter or like Captivology on Facebook. You can also follow @BenParr for regular updates. And finally, here’s a link for sharing this announcement.

Or you can just click this lovely button for updates:

Captivology is about the science and psychology of attention; why we pay attention to certain people, products, companies and ideas; and how to capture, maintain and grow attention. My book pairs the research of the world’s greatest scientists and psychologists in attention theory with the stories from the world’s Masters of Attention.

The book dives into topics such as:

  • The role scarcity and working memory play on our attention.
  • How Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto created one of the world’s most iconic characters.
  • The power that framing and salience have in directing our attention.
  • The secret sauce of disruptive campaigns and viral products.
  • Sheryl Sandberg on the power of motivation when it comes to capturing attention.

During the course of my research, I have had the opportunity to interview more than 50 scientists, researchers, experts and Masters of Attention. I’m grateful to thought leaders such as Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Dr. Alan Baddeley (leading researcher in working memory), Steven Soderbergh (famed director), Alexis Ohanian (founder of Reddit), Dr. Michael Posner (leading cognitive psychologist), Jeff Weiner (CEO, LinkedIn), Adrian Grenier (actor, producer and director), Dr. Eli Finkel (expert on attraction), Grant Imahara (Discovery’s Mythbusters), Susan Cain (NYT bestselling author, Quiet), Jon Armstrong (Magician, Chairman of the Academy of Magical Arts), Dr. John Sweller (leading expert on cognitive load), Alexia Tsostis (Co-Editor, TechCrunch), Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo), Josh Elman (Partner, Greylock), Dr. Dietram Scheufele (Expert on Communications, Framing), Michael Stevens (creator, Vsauce), and many more who have taken time our of their days to chat with me for this book.


Above: A screenshot from my interview with Adrian Grenier and Dr. Thomas De Zengotita. A special thanks to NASDAQ for letting me use their studios for the interview.

If you have suggestions for my book, please email me at ben@captivology.com with your ideas! I’m especially looking for interesting people to interview and unique stories about how you or somebody you know captured the attention of an individual, an audience or the entire world. A major reason we’re announcing the book now is to gather great stories for the book that I might have otherwise missed.

I hope to complete this research-heavy book in the next few months, so please forgive me if I’m much slower than usual responding to your emails, texts and tweets until then.

A Few Other Announcements

I’m working on Captivology on top of my day job as Co-founder and Managing Partner of DominateFund, the early-stage venture capital firm I started last year with Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni. We’ve expanded the fund from its original focus on connecting Hollywood with tech, though that is still a component of what we do. Our focus now is on helping startups capture attention for their products and accelerate their growth through our expertise in five key areas: Strategic Celebrity Partnerships, Press, Marketing, Customer and User Acquisition, and Building Viral Products. The fund is the reason I decided to write this book.

We will be making more announcements about DominateFund in the near future, including several new additions to our team and updates on our amazing portfolio companies.

Because I had all of this on my plate, CNET and I decided to retire The Social Analyst, my column at CNET, last year. I want to thank CNET, and especially Jim Lanzone, Mark Larkin and Jim Kerstetter, for being so supportive of me and my column, for being amazing bosses, and for putting up with me and my hectic schedule.

I won’t be bringing The Social Analyst back. At least, not in its current form. The column, which I started at Mashable in 2009, has been my place to opine on the most pertinent issues in tech. CNET was kind enough to let me continue my column.

I will eventually be back writing columns and thought pieces on a regular basis, but ones that are about more than just technology. There is a mountain of research from my book I want to discuss and advice I want to dispense for every entrepreneur who struggles to get the attention of users or artist who wants to be heard. I also have a lot of other insights in media, entrepreneurship, investing and science I hope to eventually share.

One final announcement — I’m proud to announce that I have signed with the Worldwide Speakers Group, which now represents me for all my speaking engagements. You can check out my speaking topics or book me by sending a message to Keith Lambert at KLambert@wwsg.com or calling WWSG at 703-373-9806. I primarily speak about attention, attention for brands, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

I want to thank a few people right now for all of their help the last few months. Thank you to everybody I’ve interviewed for the book so far. A special thanks to the best agent in all of publishing, David Vigliano, for always having my back. The same is true of Will LoTurco, who works with Vig. Thank you Marcy Simon and Melinda Mullin, for going above and beyond the call of duty for me. Thank you to my editor, Genoveva Llosa, for being just sensational. Thank you to my partners Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni for being my unofficial brothers (Nat, you too). A thank you to Hallie, my badass EA. Thank you to my family (love you mom & dad!), and finally a special thank you to my girlfriend Julie, for being my rock.

Onward and upward!

Thank you for kindness,
~ Ben

Please follow me and Captivology on social media!

(p.s. — Happy birthday, sis!)

Is Apple’s Tim Cook on the Money with Changing U.S. Tax Laws? My Thoughts on CNBC [VIDEO]


Ben Parr on CNBC Apple

I dropped by CNBC this afternoon to discuss an issue that will dominate the headlines this week — a proposal by Apple CEO Tim Cook to simplify the tax laws regarding the repatriation of corporate cash.

Currently, Apple has more than $100 billion sitting overseas ($1.7 trillion is doing the same from the top 1000 U.S. companies) because of a rule that would tax that money by 35% before it can enter the U.S.

It’s a complicated subject that we discuss in depth. Check out where I fall on the issue below:


Rocking Google Glass on NBC’s Press: Here [VIDEO]

I dropped by NBC Bay Area recently for NBC’s Press: Here to interview some awesome people, including Hipmunk CEO Adam Goldstein and Zoosk CEO Shayan Zadeh.

But mostly, I dropped by to chat about Google Glass and see how distracting it would be to wear for an entire interview show. The verdict? “It wasn’t as distracting as I thought it would be,” said NBC’s Scott McGrew.

You can check out this week’s interviews below:






Ben Parr on NBC

Mark Zuckerberg Is an Awesome CEO. Watch Me Explain Why on CNBC [VIDEO]

I was on CNBC earlier today to answer the question, “Is Mark Zuckerberg In Over His Hoodie?”, facing off against Silverback Social CEO Chris Dessi.

My argument was simple: Facebook stock has been on the rise in the last six months, and replacing a founder with a manager at the CEO level is usually a disaster (just ask Apple).

Check it out and let me know what you think.


My Thoughts on Apple’s ($130B) Stacks of Cash on CNBC

Apple has $130 billion in cash, and nobody can seem to agree what the tech titan should do with it. That’s the impression I got from Greenlight partner David Einhorn’s recent suggestions that Apple deliver more of that cash to shareholders.

Of course, I had my own opinion on the matter, so I went on CNBC today to talk about it. Check out the video above, and let me know whether you think I’m in the right or the wrong.

Ben Parr on CNBC

Can Facebook Graph Search Make Money? My Thoughts on CNBC

By now you’ve probably heard about Graph Search, Facebook’s all-encompassing, natural language search experience that Zuckerberg calls one of the “three pillars” of Facebook (the other two being Timeline and Newsfeed).

It’s a major change for the social network (I’ll have more thoughts on it soon), but will search do the same thing for Facebook as it did for Google — aka make tons of money?

That was the question I was asked on CNBC today, along with Julia Boorstin and Social Internet Fund’s Lou Kerner. It turned into a lively debate that I’m still reflecting on.

Let me know what you think of Facebook Graph Search.


My Thoughts on the Future of Tech on Bloomberg TV

Bloomberg TV interviewed me at the Dublin Web Summit last week, asking for some of my predictions for what are going to be the future of tech. They also interviewed a few others, including the amazing Joe Green (Causes, NationBuilder) and David Shing (AOL’s Digital Prophet).

They didn’t have time to air all my predictions, but I’m glad they picked one of my favorites: biofeedback and technology enhancement of health. Check out the full video above if you want to learn more.

~ Ben

Reacting to Steve Jobs’s Resignation

Where were you when you learned about Steve Jobs resigning from his CEO role?

I wasn’t at my desk, blogging (otherwise I would have been the one to break the story). No, I was actually on ABC7 Live, the lifestyle show for the ABC Bay Area channel.

Actually, the resignation hit the wires during the middle of my interview, where I was discussing Facebook’s new privacy settings. The host, Lizzie Bermudez, shocked the hell out of me when she said asked me about it. Her producers told her through her earpiece in the middle of our segment.

Right after that, ABC asked me to go on air for their news program to react to resignation news. I’ve embedded that video below.

You have to keep on your toes in television, because you never know what is going to happen. My best wishes to Steve and to the Apple team as they go through this transition and Steve focuses on his personal issues.

Video below:

Update: Here’s my interview with Lizzie Bermudez.

Talking About Facebook vs. Google+ on Bloomberg TV [VIDEO]

Earlier today, I made an appearance on Bloomberg West. I had a great conversation with my friend Emily Chang about Facebook video chat, Google+ hangouts, and what Google has to do to be competitive with the king of social networking.

Check out the video and let me know how you think I did in the comments.