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Margaret O’Mara

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Howard & Frances Keller Professor of History at the University of Washington

Expert on the History of Silicon Valley and the American Technology Industry

Author of acclaimed 'The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America'

Margaret O’Mara is the Howard & Frances Keller Professor of History at the University of Washington, specialising in the political and economic history of modern America. An internationally recognized expert on the history of Silicon Valley and the American technology industry, she is also a contributing writer for The New York Times.

Margaret’s most recent book, The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, was named a best book 2019 by the Financial Times and Publishers Weekly, which hailed it as “a must-read for anyone interested in how a one-horse town birthed a revolution that has shifted the course of modern civilization.” She also is the author of Cities of Knowledge (2005), a history of high-tech cities, and Pivotal Tuesdays (2015), which traced landmark US presidential elections and their impact on the nation and the world. Margaret is the co-author, with David Kennedy and Lizabeth Cohen, of the widely used United States history college textbook, The American Pageant. In addition to her contributions to The New York Times, Margaret’s writing on technology, politics and history has appeared in The Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, and more. 

She previously taught at Stanford University, received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A from Northwestern. 

Prior to her academic career, from 1993 to 1997, she was a staff member to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, where she was a policy analyst – working on urban economic development, health care and welfare reform. 

Margaret regularly speaks to public, corporate and academic audiences. Her media appearances have included CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, BBC World News, PBS Frontline, and Recode/Decode with Kara Swisher. Her comments regularly appear in National and International news outlets including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TIME, Fortune, WIRED, Politico, Le Monde, L’obs, Les Echoes, Der Spiegel, Maeil Business Newspaper (S. Korea), and more. 


Speaking Topics: 

  • How Silicon Valley remade America and the world
  • The next Silicon Valley
  • Business lessons from Silicon Valley
  • American presidential politics, past and present 
  • The past, present, and future of the global tech industry
  • Women in technology

The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

Cities of Knowledge

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