• Meet the IDE Leadership

    The Initiative on the Digital Economy is led by renowned MIT and MIT Sloan faculty and researchers, who together bring decades of groundbreaking scholarship and thought leadership on technology and the economy to bear on the challenges and disruptions of today’s digital revolution.

    Erik Brynjolfsson

    Erik Brynjolfsson Bio
    Erik Brynjolfsson is the Director of the IDE. He is also the Schussel Family Professor of Management at MIT Sloan, Chairman of the MIT Sloan Management Review, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research examines the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity and performance, Internet commerce, pricing models, and intangible assets. At MIT, he teaches courses on the Economics of Information. Professor Brynjolfsson was among the first researchers to measure the productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. His research also provided the first quantification of the value of online product variety and developed pricing and bundling models for information goods. Brynjolfsson’s research has appeared in leading economics, management, and science journals. He has been recognized with nine Best Paper awards and five patents. Professor Brynjolfsson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University in Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences and a PhD from MIT in Managerial Economics. He has also taught at Harvard and Stanford.

    Andrew McAfee

    Andrew McAfee
    Andrew McAfee is the Co-Director of the IDE and a Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research investigates how information technology changes the way companies perform, organize themselves, and compete. At a higher level, his work also focuses on how computerization affects competition, society, the economy, and the workforce. In addition to having numerous papers published, Professor McAfee also writes a widely read blog, which is at times one of the 10,000 most popular in the world. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 articles, case studies and other materials for students and teachers of technology. Prior to joining MIT Sloan, McAfee was a professor at Harvard Business School. He has also served as a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. McAfee received his doctorate from Harvard Business School, and completed two Master of Science and two Bachelor of Science degrees at MIT. He speaks frequently to both academic and industry audiences, and has taught in executive education programs around the world.

    Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland

    Alex Pentland

    Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland heads the Big Data research program of the IDE. He also directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives, and is a founding member of the Advisory Boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility, Telefonica, and a variety of start-up firms. He is also on the United Nations Secretary General's advisory board on Data for Sustainable Development. He previously helped create and direct MIT’s Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospital’s Center for Future Health. In 2012, Forbes named Professor Pentland one of the ‘seven most powerful data scientists in the world.’

    In 2013 he won the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review. He is among the most- cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing ( Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review and has been the focus of multiple TV features. His most recent book is Honest Signals, published by MIT Press. Over the years Pentland has advised more than 50 PhD students. Almost half are now tenured faculty at leading institutions, with another one-quarter leading industry research groups and a final quarter founders of their own companies. Pentland’s research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off more than 30 companies to date, three of which are publicly listed and several of which serve millions of poor in Africa and South Asia.

    Sinan Aral

    Sinan Aral

    Sinan Aral heads the Social Analytics and Large Scale Experimentation research programs of the IDE. He is the David Austin Professor of Management and an Associate Professor of Information Technology and Marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

    He was the Chief Scientist at SocialAmp, one of the earliest social commerce analytics companies (until its sale in 2012); and is currently the Chief Scientist at Humin, a social navigation startup developing the Google Maps for your social relationships.

    Sinan has been a Fulbright Scholar and is currently the Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times R&D Lab. His research focuses on social contagion, product virality and measuring, and managing how information diffusion in massive social networks such as Twitter and Facebook affects information worker productivity, consumer demand, and viral marketing. He has worked closely with Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Nike, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Oracle, SAP and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from social media and IT investments.

    He is a frequent speaker at such thought leading events as TEDxSiliconValley, TEDxColumbia Engineering, TEDxNYU, Wired’s “Nextwork,” and PopTech; and he has been the keynote speaker at executive gatherings such as Omnicom’s Global “Emerge” Summit.

    Sinan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University. He holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and an MPP from Harvard University, and received his PhD from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

    You can find him on Twitter @sinanaral.

    David Verrill

    David Verrill
    David Verrill is Executive Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy, and its sister organization the Center for Digital Business which he helped launch in 1999. David has worked and consulted at MIT for more than 25 years. Prior to his work at MIT, he was a research scientist at the Center for Blood Research in Boston, focusing on the human immune system. David has also worked at Xerox Adaptive Products, where he was Manager of International Sales and Business Development. He has also helped start two companies, including Winchester International Group and the Hub Investment Group, which continues to invest in startup companies in the New England region. David has degrees from Bowdoin College and the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he received a Master of Science.