Adam C. Engst is the publisher of TidBITS, one of the oldest and most-respected Internet-based newsletters, distributed weekly to tens of thousands of readers. He has written numerous technical books, including the best-selling Internet Starter Kit series, and many magazine articles—thanks to Contributing Editor positions at MacUser, MacWEEK, and Macworld.
His innovations include the creation of the first advertising program to support an Internet publication in 1992, the first flat-rate accounts for graphical Internet access in 1993 (with Northwest Nexus for Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh), and the highly successful Take Control electronic book series. In addition, he has collaborated on several Internet educational videos and has appeared on a variety of internationally broadcast television and radio programs.
His tireless support of the Macintosh community and commitment to helping individuals has resulted in numerous awards and recognition at the highest levels. In the annual MDJ Power 25 survey of industry insiders, he ranked as the second (2000), third (2001, 2002), fourth (2003), fifth (2004), and third (2005/2006) most influential person in the Macintosh industry. He has also been included on the MacTech 25 list of influential people in the Macintosh technical community for both 2006 and 2007, and he was named one of MacDirectory’s top ten visionaries.
And how many industry figures can boast of being turned into an action figure?
What I Do
TidBITS: Since April 1990, I’ve published TidBITS, a free electronic newsletter that covers topics of interest to the Macintosh Internet community. I write numerous articles for TidBITS, edit every issue, and run the business side of things. TidBITS has received oodles of awards over the years, but the many thousands of kind messages from readers are what make it all worthwhile.
TidBITS Content Network: In February of 2016, I started the TidBITS Content Network, a content syndication business aimed at Apple consultants and resellers. TCN provides professionally written, edited, and illustrated content that subscribers can use to power their blogs, email newsletters, and social media streams.
Take Control Books: I co-founded Take Control Books in October 2003 and served as publisher through May 2017, when we sold the business. In that time, Take Control published over 150 titles, selling more than 500,000 copies to many tens of thousands of readers.
Books: I’m best known for writing the Internet Starter Kit, which sold roughly 600,000 copies across all versions and editions, but I’ve written numerous other technical books, primarily about the Internet, Eudora, iPhoto, and the Macintosh in general. My most recent book is Take Control of Preview, co-authored with Josh Centers.
Magazine Writing: I’ve contributed feature articles, reviews, and regular columns to a variety of magazines, including MacUser, MacWEEK, Macworld, MacAddict, and Australian Macworld. Previously, I had a page of links to articles I’d written, but so many of the links broke over the years that it wasn’t worth maintaining.
Other Positions: I was the president of the now-retired Info-Mac Network, a non-profit volunteer organization that was dedicated publishing the Info-Mac Digest (Macintosh technical discussions) and maintaining the Info-Mac Archive, the oldest collection of freely distributable Macintosh software on the Internet. I also coordinated charitable licensing for commercial uses of FreePPP, a widely used Macintosh PPP implementation created by the FreePPP Group.
Consulting: I occasionally do high-level consulting on electronic publishing, drawing on my experience with over 30 years of publishing on the Internet. Contact me if you wish to talk about how I might be able to help.
Running: In my spare time, I’m a competitive age-group runner and race regularly at distances from the mile to the half marathon on the track, on roads, on trails, and in cross country. Locally and in the PGXC Series, I race with the High Noon Athletic Club; nationally and in USATF races, I run with the Genessee Valley Harriers. I also serve as President and VP of Track for the Finger Lakes Runners Club, direct six indoor and outdoor track meets and the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile each year, organize the FLRC Challenge, and head the FLRC timing team, timing many of the club’s races with Webscorer. I also manage much of FLRC’s Internet infrastructure, coordinate the FLRC Family Running Program, coach the High Noon cross-country team and the MITHACAL MILERS training group, and organize Sunday pancake breakfast runs. And probably some other stuff.
1985-1989: Cornell University, BA in Hypertextual Fiction and Classics. Honors: Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. A friend who took Greek with me and subsequently went on to work at Netscape after doing graduate work at NCSA once commented that he thought I was crazy when I talked about hypertext. I replied that I was crazy, but that, at least in retrospect, I was also right.
1980-1985: Newark Valley High School. Honors: Valedictorian (for which I received a tiny medal), Student Athlete (for which I received a big honking trophy), leading scorer on varsity cross country team senior year.
1977-1980: Newark Valley Middle School. Honors: Won the 6th-grade reading contest by reading some 250 books in a month, beating not just all the other students but also all the other classes except for one. And I could have beaten them if their teacher hadn’t asked me not to.
1972-1977: Edward R. Eastman Elementary School (now closed). Honors: Consistently received checkmarks for “Dresses appropriately for the weather” and in 2nd grade was allowed to make a secret pact with the librarian to check out more than two books per day.