Spotlight: Author Will Ruff
“Things like WordPress, social media, and smartphones have made it easy to tell people how you’re about to change the world. And the next phase of this cycle is mass adoption, education, and communication among the crowds who haven’t quite figured out how to use all these cool tools yet. Strap yourself in, and hug a tech person, or a liberal arts major.”
His outlook is consistent with a socioeconomic class posited by American economist and social scientist, Richard Florida: the Creative Class – the group of working professionals considered the key driving force for economic development of post-industrial cities. The group contains a wide range of occupations (e.g. science, engineering, education, computer programming, research), with arts, design, and media workers forming a clear subset and as Florida notes, the primary skillset of this group is to be creative and innovative. “Along with problem solving, their work may entail problem finding.”
You can see why we have such a passion for this niche of the economy given what we’re doing in Media & Technology.
Will Ruff epitomizes such professionals, and our passion, and his vision for the impact of Liberal Arts in technology is leading us all forward. His work, evidence of this, started from Syracuse University in helping authors develop their craft online, guiding and developing with writers their use of the content management system WordPress. His career has evolved through working with WP Engine, a more sophisticated WordPress based infrastructure for publishing online, and most recently with innovative content management system, SpaceCraft. Through his work with technology for publishers and authors, he’s been writing by his own hand and looking to self publish.
On November 27th, Ruff is releasing his debut novel, The Tomb of the Primal Dragon.
He was most inspired to write this because the idea melds two areas that he’s passionate about: the unexcavated tomb of China’s first emperor, and the growing fields of virtual reality, drones, and archaeology. Will studied abroad at Tsinghua University in 2009, and visited the Terracotta Warrior Museum.
From his perspective on the role of Liberal Arts, Ruff notes:
- Tech is being created for tech’s sake
- Social media should be a platform for education and storytelling of the liberal arts
- The tech industry can’t solve context collapse (advertising creates context collapse)
- Universities have an obligation to lead the charge on engaging potential students online
- Virtual Reality journalism is the future
- Everyone should write a book
Self-publishing through Kindle has given Will a unique perspective on the opportunities he says we have to create “our own path.” It’s not just a writer’s platform, it’s a publishers platform, and with the rising cost of college, and the accessibility of information via the web, people need to explore the possibility of writing their own book. It can only further the conversation, further educate people, and there is nothing stopping you from doing it.
He says it’ll also give you a tremendous opportunity to connect with people in academia, and in the professional world when you realize that fiction, or non-fiction has value in several professional communities. He has connected with drone companies specifically to talk about the tech featured in the novel, and is working on an article to explore that which should be finished soon.
We had the opportunity to explore a bit more, here, about the role of technology in supporting the creatively class, thanks to our friends at Conde Nast, Data.world, Newsy, and The Austin Forum.
Get to know Will better as he discusses the book, liberal arts, and more in our recent studio interview…Listen_Now - Author Will Ruff
Now Texan, O'Brien works in Venture Capital Economic Development, serving the investment and venture capital economies directly, through thought leadership, consulting, and startup development.He's the founder of MediaTech Ventures, a founder and managing director of the Texas Technology Council, and partner in 1839 Ventures.