Merlin Mann’s Biography

Merlin is best known as the creator of 43folders.com, a popular American website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

merlin mannMerlin 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 generously 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 thousands of very good-looking visitors every 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 MacBook in the western third of San Francisco, California, where the climate is foggy, the pork xiu mai is plentiful, and his outstanding wife and daughter are within arm’s reach.


Photo of Merlin by Chairman Gruber.