About

Welcome to My Writer’s Sketchpad

Ruminations is where I share works in progress. Please follow the pointers below to learn more about me and the stories you’ll find on these pages. Thank you for visiting. Please return and tell a friend.

Who is Tom Abate and what does he write about?

Eclectic notions arising from my experiences and observations.

Stories and commentary based on research, interviews, and observations.

Satire, fiction, humor, and advice from the Dead Blogger’s Society.

Experiences and events that formed my character and inform my work and beliefs.

What is ‘Ruminations’ About?

Essays, Journalism, Whimsy, and Reflections from a writer rebelling against the cloud.

                Hi. I’m Tom Abate. My Ruminations arise from various working class, small business, and white-collar experiences, including more than 30 years of writing about Silicon Valley. I hope you’ll find this blog useful, informative and, at times, entertaining.

… cloud computing has turned a few winner-take-all companies into ginormous cash registers and vending machines in the sky …

Capsules

Work

I learned people skills and the value of a buck by peddling fruit and waiting tables in Brooklyn. I acquired the habits and friendships of a lifetime as a sailor about U.S. Navy ship in the Far East.

Business

I co-founded a typography shop that pioneered a technology to make small book publishers more competitive. I also co-founded and sold a community newspaper then reinvented myself as a reporter for a big-city daily paper.

Journalism

I was Silicon Valley reporter and columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, covered the economics beat during the Great Recession, and was an online editor for the Patch network of hyperlocal websites.

Science & Tech

From the internet to biotechnology, and from artificial intelligence to COVID, I make complex issues, ideas, and industries easy to understand, with articles accessible to opinion leaders and the public.

Teaching

Since 2005, my introductory journalism classes have helped college graduates, foreign exchange students, and adult career-changers learn how to tell stories for traditional news outlets and to promote small businesses.

Resume

Tom Abate

EMPLOYMENT
Self-employed – October 2021 to present

Experienced in print, web, radio, and video communications; teaching college level journalism; and understanding the consequences of deploying pervasive technologies.

Science writer – Stanford Engineering, July 2013 to October 2021

Explained scientific discoveries in plain English; sought mass media coverage of notable achievements; and supported the school’s fundraising efforts.

Editor – San Leandro Patch.com, September 2011 to July 2013

The Patch network of local websites combined a small-town newspaper ethos with the interactivity made possible by web, mobile and social media

Editor – North Coast Journal, January to March 2011

Briefly returned as editor of the community newspaper co-founded and sold in 1989.

Staff Writer & Columnist – San Francisco Chronicle, April 1997 to January 2011

Silicon Valley columnist; covered technology, biotechnology, and the Human Genome Race; economics reporter during Great Recession; twice nominated for Pulitzer Prize.

Staff Writer – San Francisco Examiner, June 1992 to April 1997

Hired as a science writer, I wrote about an earthquake on day one; covered the emergence of the World Wide Web, the dotcom boom and the rise of the global economy.

Freelance Writer – Brooklyn, August 1990 to June 1992

Worked through Columbia Journalism School by doing market research projects and writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Co-founder, North Coast Journal – Eureka, California, August 1989 to August 1990

In partnership with wife, started and sold an alternative monthly newspaper before returning to New York to earn a masters at Columbia Journalism School.

Freelance Writer – Bayside, California, 1985 to 1989

Published magazine articles and columns, and covered computing, transportation, raw materials, and other industries for the investment firm, RCM Capital Management.

Co-Founder, Typesetting & Publishing Firm – Eureka, California, 1980 to 1990

In partnership with wife, established Pioneer Graphics, the first pre-press shop to use a labor-saving interface to enable typesetting equipment to “read” electronic manuscripts.

Editor & Reporter, Daily Californian – Berkeley, California, 1978 to 1980

As the student-run daily verged on bankruptcy, hired the business manager who led the financial turnaround, and personally broke a story on the H-bomb secret.

Journalist & Public Relations Specialist, USS Flint (AE-32) – 1974 to 1978

Ran closed-circuit television and radio stations aboard a ship in the Far East. Volunteered for active duty and attained the rank of petty officer second class.

TEACHING
Lecturer, University of California Extension, San Francisco – 2005 to present

Teach feature writing and introductory journalism to adult learners.

Lecturer, College of the Redwoods, Eureka, California – 1989 to 1990

Taught journalism and moderated a student-run newspaper.

EDUCATION
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism – Masters, May 1991

Specialized in science writing and won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship

University of California, Berkeley – Bachelors, Political Science, June 1980

Minored in Mandarin, and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Defense Information School – Distinguished Honor Graduate, November 1974

This joint-forces program trained military journalists in print and broadcast techniques.

Regis High School, Manhattan – June 1972

This Jesuit institution offers scholarships to boys chosen through a competitive exam.

OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
  • Author of The Biotech Investor investment guide
  • Veteran of several startups and turnarounds
  • Planning, operations, sales, and cash flow skills
  • Resourceful, determined, energetic, principled, and hardworking
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