Person of the Day: David de Ugarte

De Ugarte

This bio is an English translation of David’s full bio at

David de Ugarte. Economist, technologist and entrepreneur committed to new models of economic democracy. Founder and theorist of the Spanish cyberpunk group (1989-2007), founder of Piensa en red SA (1999-2002) and later of the Cooperative Society of las Indias Electrónicas (2002) and of the Cooperative Group of las Indias, in which he’s in charge of new project development.

An author of fiction offered in unusual formats, he has written two novels serialized via mobile telephones: “Lía: MAD phreaker” (e-moción 2003-2004) and “Días de frontera” (e-moción 2002-2006). He has also authored essays including “11M: Networks to win a war” (2004) and the “Network Trilogy”, comprising the essays “The Power of Networks”, “Phyles: From Nations to Networks”, and “The Coming Futures”. The trilogy has been translated into half a dozen languages, with tens of thousands of printed copies sold and hundreds of thousands downloaded.

His latest work, created with Natalia Fernández and María Rodríguez, is entitled “The P2P Mode of Production” and incorporates an analysis of the impact of networks on the technosocial bases of the crisis, as well as open perspectives on new forms of distributed industrial production based on fabbing, free software and collaborative development platforms. His next book, in the works, focuses on the history of the game of Go.

All of these books, published under Public Domain, are available both as paper editions and as free downloads in html and epub format on the Library of las Indias. This library builds on the first collection of contemporary essays published under Public Domain, the “29th Floor Collection”, which he managed from its creation in 2007 until its closing in 2010. This project proved that publishing under public domain can generate sufficient incentive for publishers and authors alike.

David de Ugarte in the first person

I was born in 1970, and in 1979 I learned to program on an Atari cartridge console, so I guess that makes me one of the first digital natives. Ever since then, my life has been inextricably linked with the evolution of personal computers and the new possibilities and freedoms they allow people to enjoy. In 1982 I totally immersed myself in the techy world with my Spectrum, which I still have to this day.  That 48kb hunk of junk plunged me into Madrid’s first hacker scene: magazines, documentation notes for z80 and 8008 assemblers and microprocessors, etc. In 1987 I made the leap to my first PC – an Amstrad – and in 1989, in the revolutionary atmosphere of Berlin, I connected to the Internet for the first time. Since 1994 all my work, projects and businesses have been Internet-based.
My academic training is as an economist. In fact, I’ve written works on the Microeconomy of the Art Market, the role of Lord Keynes in the Birth of the Speculative Market in Paintings, and even a general interest booklet on Microeconomics for my students when I was a professor of Organizational Economics at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

David 2Professionally, I came into my own directing projects such as the Plan Integral de la Creación (1997-8) [Comprehensive Creation Plan (1997-8)]. This project launched the first on- and off-line debates among more than 8000 Spanish artists, concerning the future of culture. I also took over the strategic direction of Arsys (1999-2000), which was the largest web hosting company in Europe. My first small business was “Piensa en Red” (2000), the first Spanish company to develop software for PDAs. It also spawned subsidiaries which continue to this day, like “Piensa Solutions”, and marked milestones like having developed the world’s first moblog, installed the first wifi network in Spain and the first i-mode services outside Japan.

Today, I’m a partner in the Cooperative Society of las Indias Electrónicas, a group of cooperatives founded in 2002, in participation with Juan Urrutia and Natalia Fernández, my main companions in intellectual adventures in those years in which we attempted to materialize the possibilities of the analysis of social networks.

Las Indias and its library, managed by María, are my place in the world, my way of life and my state of mind. It’s the place I’ve always wanted to be, where you can always do something different, where my peers and I can hatch plans for new innovations and endeavors. Thanks to this, las Indias might ring a bell for having been the first to attempt the self-replication of a 3D printer (2008), for having created Ciberia and feevy (a project that sprang from comments on las Indias’ blog) in 2005, for having published (via e-moción) the first novels for mobile phones in Europe (2003), or for being the first business in the world to have a blog (2002). And it was also in this blog that we serialized, chapter by chapter and in real time, what would later become my first book in a paper edition, “11M: Networks to win a war ” – which was also, as far as I know, the first book to make the leap from blog to paper.

From November 2007 until the Spring of 2010 I also managed the 29th Floor Collection, an initiative between Ediciones del Cobre, the Society of las Indias Electrónicas and BBVA, in which we published 10 essays.  These were works with innovative approaches and authors working in our linguistic milieu, quite often years ahead of any Anglo-Saxon references, treating the new concepts we employed in our cultural field to begin articulating an understanding of the network society.

ouisharefestAll the books in this collection were published, with the express consent of the authors and publishers, under the same conditions of intellectual property protection as in the traditional Public Domain.  Three books were published in this collection: “The Power of Networks”, “From Nations to Networks” and “Phyles: Economic Democracy in the Century of Networks”. These last two were merged in later editions as “Phyles: From Nations to Networks”.

In October 2010, after this publishing adventure, I went on to publish my new books in the Collection of the Library de las Indias. So, with Natalia Fernández, I published “The Key is Public”. Like everything else in the collection, it’s in the public domain and you can read it on the web or download for your e-book in epub format. The bulk and the evolution of my work since 2010 can be summed up in the “Network Trilogy” (forthcoming in English), which includes “The Power of Networks”, “Phyles: From Nations to Networks” and “The Coming Futures”.

My latest essay, translated and published in various languages, was written in 2012 with Natalia Fernández and María Rodríguez. Entitled “The P2P Mode of Production”, it represents a leap forward, propelled by the crisis and the free industrial technologies, in the ideas we integrated this last decade. It might possibly be released in a paper edition during 2014.


David de Ugarte in Guerrilla Translation

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