Who Is Ben Parr?

Me speaking at a conference in Las Vegas

Instead of me trying to describe who I am and what I stand for, I’ll highlight a few experiences in my life that will give you a clearer picture of who I am.

Who wants to hear about your entire life story anyway – why not skip to the action?

(If you’re looking for the professional bio or my representation, skip below)

  • I didn’t talk until I was three years old. Honestly, I think I just didn’t want to talk. All of the psychiatrists and teachers thought I had speech problems. Instead, I won prose reading competitions as a child and became a public speaker. Life is weird.

  • I was hit by a car in a parking lot when I was six. The man who hit me gave me a crisp $20 to never to say anything. I was a kid who didn’t know better, so I happily obliged. This was my first experience in business and economics, and I should thank that guy someday for it.

  • When I was eight, I broke my collarbone. My babysitter decided it was a good idea to swerve off the road to avoid a bunny on the highway when she was taking me to my first T-ball practice. Two days later, she vanished, I had a broken collar bone, and our Jeep… well, that thing’s probably melted down by now. I blame my babysitter for my horrendous baseball skills. Luckily, it didn’t affect my swimming or football skills!

  • My first brush with entrepreneurship was in second grade. My mom taught me the art of origami. When I brought my creations to school, the students and teachers all wanted some. I sold them for a quarter ($0.25) each. Cranes, frogs, balls, churches — you name it, I folded it.

  • I used to weigh 201 pounds when I was in college. I decided to change it one summer, though, and dropped 40 pounds. I didn’t do it with crazy dieting but with discipline in my workouts and in what I consumed. I just knew I had to do it. It taught me that regular workouts, consistent dedication and smarter eating can be life-changing.

  • I have had the same life mission since college: I have the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better. Nowadays, I would add the caveat that I also have a responsibility to love, provide and be there for my loved ones.

  • I tend to learn by jumping into the pool and then learning how to swim. I am unconventional as a person and as a thinker. I’m fine with failure, so long as it leads to learning and a bigger success later on. This is probably why I was attracted to entrepreneurship so young. Don’t let failure deter you; use it as a stepping stone and an educational experience towards making your mark on the world.

  • Prove all your doubters wrong. They can only hold you back if you let them.

So Who is Ben Parr? — the Professional Version


Ben Parr is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor, journalist, author, and AI expert with a career dedicated to exploring the impact of technology on our futures.

Ben is President and Co-Founder of Octane AI, a profitable AI platform for ecommerce brands that powers AI-enabled insights and quizzes. Octane AI, founded in 2016, is backed by General Catalyst, Bullpen, and other top Silicon Valley investors and was named the Best Storefront App award by Shopify.

Ben is an influential voice in the AI community, serving as an AI columnist for The Information and authoring his popular newsletter, The AI Analyst. Ben started his career as Co-Editor and Editor-at-Large of Mashable, where he wrote over 2,400 articles and interviewed the world’s top technology and media leaders. Ben was also a technology columnist and commentator for CNET. He is the author of the award-winning book, "Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention", named the top marketing book of 2015 by Strategy+Business Magazine. Parr currently sits on the board of directors of the Leila Janah Foundation and previously sat on the board of its sister company Sama, a leader in AI data training.

As a well-respected AI educator across platforms like TikTok, Twitter, Threads, and LinkedIn, Ben continues his mission to inform the public about the ever-evolving realm of AI. He has been featured in a variety of media, including ABC News, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, NPR, Fox News, USA Today, Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The New York Times. He is a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and an alum of Northwestern University. He is based in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, but remains a die-hard fan of the Chicago Bears.


Me giving a pep talk to 200+ AI entrepreneurs

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