Peter Hirshberg

Serial Entrepreneur, Chairman, Technorati

Peter serves as an innovation advisor to cities and companies. He has created two centers of urban innovation from scratch: Maker City Project and Gray Area Foundation fo ...read more

Peter serves as an innovation advisor to cities and companies. He has created two centers of urban innovation from scratch: Maker City Project and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts.

The Maker City Project is the national organization tasked with helping cities and towns reclaim manufacturing prowess by leveraging the Maker movement. Peter's best selling book — Maker City: A practical guide to reinventing our cities was created in collaboration with the Obama White House where it was launched in 2016 and with the Brookings Institution, where Hirshberg is an author. Often suppressed fact: while developing the Maker City, Hirshberg introduced the White House to Burning Man, which led to a partnership between the two organizations based on their mutual values. Say What?  He explores these values further in “From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond” written with the MIT Media Lab. 

As Chairman and Co-founder of San Francisco’s Gray Area Art and Technology Theater, Peter’s been instrumental in building one of San Francisco’s most vibrant and civic-minded arts organizations, a center for digital media education, incubation, performance and exhibition. He spearheaded initial fundraising, provides strategic and operational guidance, and helps pioneer internationally recognized programs including Urban Prototyping, a global movement that engages citizens in the co-creation and co-planning of their cities. As part of this work Hirshberg pioneered the open data movement to foster transparency and innovation in cities, leading dozens of hackathons and open data events in San Francisco, Singapore, New York, Hong Kong, and London.

As CEO and founder of the Re:Imagine Group, he consulted with executive teams at Best Buy, Sony, IBM, Verizon, Time Warner, Unilever, GE, Estee Lauder, Telefonica, and many others on their innovation and digital growth strategies.

During his nine-year tenure at Apple Computer, Hirshberg headed Enterprise Marketing, where he grew Apple’s large business and government revenue to $1 billion annually.  (He also convinced Allan Greenspan to make a commercial for Apple, but that's another story. ) Subsequently he was CEO of pioneers Elemental Software (sold to Adobe), Gloss.com (Estee Lauder), and he served as Chairman of Technorati, the pioneering social media search engine and advertising network with over a billion monthly page views.

Peter is cofounder of City Innovate Foundation, formed with The San Francisco Mayor’s office, UC Berkeley and the MIT Media Lab to promote a network of global civic innovation centers.

As an advisor to United Nations Global Pulse he’s addressed the General Assembly real-time data for international development and is editor of, Taking the Global Pulse. Peter is a sought after technology and innovation speaker, having presented at TED, the World Economic Forum, DLD, The Aspen Ideas Festival, Techonomy, CeBIT, WEB 2.0 Summit, and many other events.  Hirshberg is still held accountable for the incident at TED in 1999 where he introduced the world’s first personalized religion, Elementalism, allowing followers to construct a faith based only on what they wanted to believe in, while financing it through the ism fund.

His board and advisory positions have included Active Video Networks, Technorati, Build Public, The Computer History Museum, and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. He is a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and a Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Videos

Peter Hirshberg, Urban Reviver (EG11)

Peter Hirshberg, Techno Urbanist (EG6)

Photos

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