John Markoff joined The Computer History Museum in January of 2017 as a staff historian. He is currently 2017-18 Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University.
Previously he was a reporter at the The New York Times, beginning in March 1988 as the paper’s national computer writer. He moved to Silicon Valley to write about technology in 1992. Prior to joining the Times, he worked for The San Francisco Examiner from 1985 to 1988. He reported for the New York Times Science Section from 2010 through 2015. He returned to the Business Section to cover Silicon Valley in 2016 and retired from the paper in December of 2016.
Markoff has written about technology and science since 1977. He covered technology and the defense industry for The Pacific News Service in San Francisco from 1977 to 1981; he was a reporter at Infoworld from 1981 to 1983; he was the West Coast editor for Byte Magazine from 1984 to 1985 and wrote a column on personal computers for The San Jose Mercury from 1983 to 1985.
He has also been a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism and an adjunct faculty member of the Stanford Graduate Program on Journalism.
The Times nominated him for a Pulitzer Prize in 1995, 1998 and 2000. The San Francisco Examiner nominated him for a Pulitzer in 1987. In 2005, with a group of Times reporters, he received the Loeb Award for business journalism. In 2007 he shared the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Breaking News award. In 2013 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting as part of a New York Times project on labor and automation.
In 2007 he became a member of the International Media Council at the World Economic Forum. Also in 2007, he was named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, the organization’s highest honor.
In June of 2010 the New York Times presented him with the Nathaniel Nash Award, which is given annually for foreign and business reporting.
Born in Oakland, California on October 29, 1949, Markoff grew up in Palo Alto, California and graduated from Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, in 1971. He attended graduate school at the University of Oregon and received a masters degree in sociology in 1976.
Markoff is the co-author of “The High Cost of High Tech,” published in 1985 by Harper & Row. He wrote “Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier” with Katie Hafner, which was published in 1991 by Simon & Schuster. In January of 1996 Hyperion published "Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaw," which he co-authored with Tsutomu Shimomura. “What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture shaped the Personal Computer Industry,” was published in 2005 by Viking Books. “Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots,” was published in August of 2015 by HarperCollins Ecco.
He is currently researching a biography of Stewart Brand.
He is married to Leslie Terzian Markoff and they live in San Francisco, Calif.