Merlin Mann | Creator of

Merlin Mann

Creator of

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San Francisco, CA, United States

Merlin Mann

merlin mannMerlin Mann is the creator of, a popular American website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.Merlin was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised on Florida's humid Suncoast. In his senior year of high school, Merlin dropped his 1st period BASIC class so he could strum Major7 chords in the school's stage band. Somewhere in this is a story that should tell you much of what you need to know about him.In 1990 -- despite turning in a wildly mediocre thesis on the ideological hegemony of television -- Merlin was kindly awarded a B.A. from the prestigious New College of Florida.Past lives have found Merlin toiling as a web developer, project manager, waiter, hardware store remodeler, court room exhibit designer, reluctant telemarketer, and enthusiastic but unprofitable indie rock musician.Merlin's writing has been carried in fine periodicals like WIRED, Make, Popular Science, and MacWorld, while 43 Folders has been featured favorably in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Time, and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few.43 Folders is currently enjoyed by over 2,500,000 unique (and very good-looking) visitors each year, with an oddly popular RSS feed that apparently gets loaded over 100,000 times every day. There's just no accounting for taste, is there?Aside from writing for 43 Folders, Merlin is also the creator of The Merlin Show, 5ives, and 30 Seconds with Phone Guy. But, his favorite thing he's ever contributed to is a decidedly NSFW program known as, You Look Nice Today.More recently, Merlin's become a sought-after speaker and presenter, who's received rave reviews for delivering his energetic productivity talks at Apple, Google, Yahoo!, Adobe, Xerox PARC, as well as many other esteemed companies and organizations.Merlin currently does most of what he does in front of a Mac in the western third of San Francisco, California, where the climate is foggy, the pork xiu mai is plentiful, and his gorgeous wife and daughter are within arm's reach.

Photo of Merlin by Chairman Gruber.

Inbox Zero
The Sane Solution for High-Volume Email

This energetic, highly targeted presentation will orient attendants to the attitudes, tools, and behaviors that are critical to surviving in the age of high-volume, ubiquitous email.

Merlin Mann of will show you:

    * Why your old email habits can’t work today* Why “catching up” with email is a myth* The five and (only five) things you can do about any email message* Strategies for processing email faster and quickly converting messages into action* Using filters and rules to automate repetitive work* Meet your new best friend: the delete key* How to run an “email dash”* How and when to turn email off (and for how long)
While starting from a context of how and why email has gotten out of control in most of our lives, the focus of this session is very practical, with an emphasis on tips, tricks, and handy “hacks” for getting email under control — ultimately for reclaiming your time and attention from the email black hole.

Who Moved My Brain?
Revaluing Time & Attention

Time and attention are a knowledge worker’s most precious and irreplaceable natural resources. And, yet, most of us find our lives riddled with attention leaks that sap hours from every week. What can we do to understand where those leasks are coming from? And how we can start to command greater respect for time and attention — as well as ensuring that we respect that of our colleagues?

In this talk, Merlin Mann demonstrates how digital technology and cultural changes have upset the balance of scarcity and plenty in the lives of wired knowledge workers. You’ll learn why it’s critically important to set and honor boundaries that protect your time as well as developing new skills to guard against unwanted or unproductive drains on your already-overwhelmed attention.

This provocative and engaging discussion includes high-level thoughts on how to renegotiate and reclaim the attention you’ve ceded to others, as well as fostering discussion on the changes your team can start making today to improve work culture and create a more healthy, respectful, and productive work environment.

Hold the Cheese
Building a Smart Blog for a Smart Audience

Today, there’s no shortage of free advice on how to build a popular and financially successful blog — new tip sites seem to pop up every day, pointing the way towards fast money and easy traffic. But how do you know which advice is right for you and for the kind and quality of audience that you hope to attract? The truth is that one size very much does not fit all. So what really works?

Merlin Mann, creator of sites like presents a simple formula for growing a smart, organic audience through high-quality content and a strong, dependable voice. He looks at case studies of popular independent bloggers who have succeeded in building a following without sacrificing their unique message and brand.

You’ll also learn which short-win shortcuts do more harm than good, as well as hearing the blogosphere’s most boringly dependable trick for achieving success in a crowded, competitive space.

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Merlin Mann

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