Ross O’Brien writes on digital commerce, customer experience technologies, machince learning and greentech from Hong Kong, where he’s lived for over half his life. He is a native of New Hampshire (although he is a quarter Vermonter on his mother’s side) where he spent his summers waiting tables at The Lobster Tub and winters poaching Christmas trees.
When pressed for details, Ross describes himself as an analyst of Asia’s digital economy, if only to change the subject. For a long time, he was a program director for the Economist Corporate Network, where, in his words, “translated The Economist newspaper into PowerPoint for busy execs”.
Over the course of his career, Ross did a stint as a voice-over artist for Vidal Sassoon commercials in Singapore (ironic, considering his hairline), served as a broadcast trade journalist covering satellite launches in French Guiana, and an operational improvement consultant for a telecom company in Bandung, Indonesia.
In addition to his writing at The Robin Report, Ross is a partner in an Asian market research consulting firm and is also a senior contributor to the MIT Technology Review’s thought leadership program. He conducts research with regional technology analyst firms, tracking the technology development strategies of Chief Digital Officers in Asia.
Ross lives in a small fishing village overlooking the mouth of the Pearl River Delta on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island with his wife, a speech therapist who rebufs Ross’ every attempt to get them to move to her native South Africa. They have two children; the eldest lives in Seattle, which is lucky for Ross because it is also the home of his favorite comic book shop and the only standing cribbage game at which he’s ever won money. The youngest studies at Loughborough in the UK, where Ross doesn’t yet know the local card rooms.
Ross has a degree in anthropology from Dartmouth College, and an MBA from Berkeley. He speaks a fair bit of Indonesian, even more Mandarin, and enough Cantonese to get himself out of parking disputes in the aforementioned fishing village.