(longer narrative bio; a shorter one lives here)
Jerry Michalski (ma-call-ski) is the founder of REX, the Relationship Economy eXpedition, a collaborative inquiry into the next economy, which is based on trust.
Three decades of exploration into the interactions between technology, society and business made him realize the word “consumer” made him itch. Paying attention to the word gifted him the thesis that we are entering a Relationship Economy: We are rediscovering trust, interdependence and meaning through movements as varied as open source software, pattern languages, the sharing economy, microfinance, unschooling, traffic calming and workplace democracy.
From 1987 to 1998, Jerry was a technology analyst, first at the market-research firm New Science Associates (where he created two of their seven research services), then as Managing Editor of Esther Dyson’s monthly tech newsletter Release 1.0, as well as co-host of her annual conference, the PC Forum. He was fortunate to be on duty when the Internet showed up and helped shape the nascent industries that it changed.
Since 1998, Jerry has been independent, advising organizations large and small, including many a startup that has since been bought, merged, sunk or taken public. He’s been widely quoted in the major media and greatly enjoys public speaking.
In 2010 he founded REX around his discomfort with “consumer.” He paid attention to the word, its metaphors and business models, and realized that every sector of our lives has been consumerized — to society’s detriment. REX members come from diverse sectors of the economy.
Prior to starting REX and writing Release 1.0, Jerry spent five years at New Science Associates, a technology market-research firm similar to Gartner (later bought by Gartner). At New Science, Jerry launched and ran two of their retainer research services, Intelligent Document Management (which included hypertext and groupware) and Continuous Information Environments (which included wireless communications, voice/data integration and then-hot topic of pen computing). He framed the services around client dilemmas, not tech segments as was the analyst-industry default, which greatly appealed to client firms like GE, AmEx and FedEx and caused competitive market-research firms eventually to follow suit. His conceptual scope diagram for the IDM service forced another industry-wide shift, this time from bullet points to conceptual illustrations.
Jerry’s first real job in the world was as a transportation clerk at Mobil Oil, looking up freight rates in a room full of paper tariffs, a job that has been successfully automated since then. At home, he was learning about computing and the early online world with an Apple II+ and a 300-baud Hayes modem. He’s one of those folks who brought his Apple to work to show his colleagues VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet — which they didn’t understand.
Between Mobil and New Science, Jerry earned an MBA from the Wharton School and spent almost three years in strategy consulting with an internal strategy startup at Price Waterhouse. (He rues that his age shows as the companies he was with continue to change names, such as ExxonMobil and PricewaterhouseCoopers.)
Jerry earned an MBA from the Wharton School, where he stumbled into the mind-expanding ideas of Russ Ackoff, and a BA in Economics (mostly econometrics) from UC Irvine. He is two degrees from Kevin Bacon, having taken an urban-design course at Penn from Kevin’s Father, Ed. He was raised in Peru and Argentina and speaks fluent Spanish and German, as well as pretty passable French. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, here’s a long but excellent interview from 2006.