Anil Dash

Photo credit: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media

Anil Dash, contrary to what you might think when you read some of his responses below, is not always a man of few words. He sometimes has quite a bit to say, unless you want to know more about Blortals, in which case, he clams up. A blog oldtimer, Anil does a lot of public speaking on subjects ranging from the relationship between blogs and traditional media to the future of social communication online. He has been featured in Wired, the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and PBS as well as radio and in print. You might remember his influence when the word Nigritude Ultramarine started showing up everywhere. Currently, Anil is Vice President at Six Apart. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Alaina, and their feline and canine. And, he really does love Prince.

Blog Birthday:

July 20, 1999

Why do you blog?

Because it’s communication that works the way I think.

What do you talk about?

On my main public blog, mostly technology and pop culture. On my private Vox blog, I talk about my life to my family and friends.

What don’t you talk about? Why?

I don’t generally talk about my private life on my main blog, because it’s not anybody’s business and I hate people treating my life like they have a say in it.

Worst experience regarding something you wrote in your blog or put out on the net?

Once on my personal blog, and once at work, I was at the center of a big pile-on by bloggers who were upset about an issue. In both cases, getting hundreds or even thousands of angry emails/comments/phone calls was among the most unpleasant experiences of my life. That’s why
I don’t put my personal stuff out there as much anymore.

What do you do for Six Apart and what do you like about working there?

I’ve done a lot of different things, but these days I mostly get to tell people a bit about what blogs are (that still comes up a lot), why they would want one, and how Six Apart can help them get one. The thing I love is that the goal here is really simply to get as many people blogging as possible, so they can see how it makes your life better. The thing I didn’t anticipate that I love is that it’s the toughest, most mentally challenging job I’ve ever had, and I’m surrounded by people who are passionate and smart.

Favorite/worst thing about living where you live?

San Francisco is a geographically beautiful town. The worst thing is that people here probably aren’t critical enough of the culture around them.

How often do people mispronounce your name?

Not as often as you’d think. There are lots of Indian people in the Bay Area, so maybe that helps, and that book “Anil’s Ghost” came out a few years ago, so it’s less frequent than when I was growing up.

If you were president of the US:

I’d probably be assassinated. Or impeached by people with no sense of humor.

Re: your post ‘Digga, Please!‘, what side ARE you on? Why?

Both sides. 🙂

What actor would play you in the movie of your life?

Slim pickings among Indian actors that would get cast here in the U.S. So I guess I have to go with Naveen Andrews, and pretend he looks like me.

What do you do to stay sane and healthy?

I try to eat well, and my wife and I spend a lot of time just laughing and having fun, which is probably the best way to stay healthy. I used to run for a while, maybe I’ll start doing that again.

Do you really love Prince and if so, why?

Sure! At an intellectual level, he’s a really interesting, unconventional character for being a pop music artist. But I think at a less cerebral level, he’s made his own crazy little world that’s fully realized, and he charges admission for others to come enter it. And he makes people dance. That’s pretty good.

In your opinion, what is the best application/widget/program or helpful-bit-o-code to come out over the past year?

Phew. Tough call. I guess I heaped some praise on Office 2007, which I think is an amazing achievement given all their constraints and obligations. The one app that’s come along that I end up using the most is Vox. I’m in there every day.

Favorite color:

Depends. I like black, red, and purple. Growing up, blue was my favorite color.

Favorite food:

This probably changes every day! I love soup dumplings, most Indian food, my wife’s roast chicken, Shake Shack burgers, and real New York pizza. I make a pretty mean steak, too.

What is interesting to you right now?

Trying to become a blogger again. It’s a skill that I think I’m good at, but I’m out of practice, and the game has changed since I used to do it regularly. So that’s interesting. I’m also a little obsessed
with food and pop music, as always.

What the heck is Blortal?

A blortal is a very effective solution to an all-too-common problem.

When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I think I kicked around being a writer or a lawyer. I’ve kind of ended up being a writer at least part of the time, so that’s cool.

What do you hate?

Extremism and shoddy advocacy.

What do you love?

Easy one! My wife, my dog and cat, my family, and talking to people.

What was the point of Nigritude Ultramarine and would you do something like that again?

I don’t think there was much of a point to it, except that I was annoyed by people who want to profit off of the web, but don’t *care* about the web as a medium. There’s no point to doing it again, it got much more attention (and criticism) than I’d ever intended anyway. Plus I just think stunts are fun to do sometimes if there’s a little bit of a reason behind them.

What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything?

On a public blog, everything you write is on the record under your name for the rest of your life. Act like it, and do something you’re proud of. On a private blog, you’re creating the record your friends
and family will remember you by. It’s a privilege to get to do that.

Astounding facts about you:

Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew gave me his Player’s Card. I used to help run a water company when I was a kid. I haven’t owned a car since 1998. I was the first person in the history of my family to go on a date.

Are you Windows or Mac? Why?

Windows, because I’m good at it, and it seems to antagonize all my friends who are Mac users.

How would your wife describe you?

Probably as funny and smart, I think.

Do you cook?

Definitely. I love cooking, especially since I’ve lived in California and had access to such great ingredients.

What are you working on right now?

Redesigning my blog. 🙂 And lots of stuff for work.

What will you being doing next year?

Good question. Something fun, challenging, and ridiculous.

Tell me a secret?

I’ve had my phone number on my blog for years, but almost nobody calls.

What do you wish I had asked you that I didn’t?

Who are my heroes?

Thanks, Anil!

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