job: Director and Chief Economist, U.S. Cyber Consequences
Unit and Senior Research Fellow, Center for Digital Strategies,
Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
Career steppingstones: Became exasperated with
the neo-classical economics in which I was trained. Built a new
set of models with fewer constraining assumptions, drawing on
some game theory concepts invented by Harborne Stuart and Adam
Brandenburger. Applied the new models successfully to the economics
of information. Developed the theoretical basis for a series of
value creation concepts that rapidly became very influential in
business consulting circles: value net analysis, value-based pricing,
channel providers, configurators, markets employing multi-variable
Then was foolish enough to turn my attention from value creation
to value destruction! Discovered that the American economy could
be extremely vulnerable, not to the past sorts of denial-of-service
attacks, but to the sort of cyber attacks that would hijack our
information systems with false information. Decided that I had
better try to do something about this. Hence, my current job.
Education: Primarily self-educated, but with
extensive studies at the Helmholtz Gymnasium in Frankfurt, Germany,
the University of Chicago, the London School of Economics and
Homeland security mission: To assess the economic
and strategic risks from various potential cyber attacks and to
evaluate the cost-effectiveness of possible counter-measures.
Top job priority: Making corporate America aware
of vulnerabilities that our potential attackers are already discussing.
Biggest obstacle: People’s unrealistic
belief that if a given disaster hasn’t happened yet, it
won’t ever happen.
Homeland security involvement outside work: You
mean it’s possible to have an activity outside of work?
Proudest career moment: Getting the Committee on National
Security Systems and the CIOs or CSOs of several government departments
and agencies to acknowledge that they need to look at cyber security
risks in a new way.
Your role model: There are a number of senior
civil servants whom I aspire to use as role models, but I hesitate
to name them because I do such a poor job of following their impressive
Career ambition: To make enough progress in preventing
massive value destruction, so that I can go back to thinking about
Hometown: I grew up on a farm near Mound, Minnesota,
west of the Twin Cities. The same hometown as Kevin Sorbo, TV’s
Current residence: Norwich, Vermont
Last book read: “Animals in Translation,”
by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
Favorite film: “Groundhog Day,” starring
Bill Murray (1993)
Personal detail: Despite writing articles and
books and being a natural speed-reader, I am severely dysgraphic
and scramble letters so badly that I can only write with the aid
of a computer.
Ideal vacation: Exploring natural wonders or
historical sites with my wife and kids.
Hobby / sport: Downhill skiing, scuba diving,
wilderness or whitewater canoeing.
Favorite meal: One where the conversation is
more important than the food.
Major regret: I don’t spend a lot of time
looking back. There’s always so much ahead that needs to
be figured out.
Proudest achievement: The next one or the one after that.