Tricia Wang

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Co-Founder, Sudden Compass, Global Tech Ethnographer

Tricia Wang is a global technology ethnographer and co-founder of Sudden Compass, a consulting, research, and training firm working with organizations that use data to understand people. Recognized as a leading authority on social media, youth, human-centered design, and Chinese internet culture, Tricia’s work and points of view have been featured in The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Fast Company, Makeshift, and Wired. A sought-after speaker, she has given talks at conferences such as Lift, Strata, Webstock, and South by Southwest. She has also spoken at Wrigley, P&G, Nike, 21st Century Fox, Tumblr and various investment firms.

With more than 15 years’ experience working with designers, engineers, and scientists, Tricia has a particular interest in designing human-centered systems. She advises corporations and startups on integrating “Big Data” and what she calls Thick Data — data brought to light using digital age ethnographic research methods that uncover emotions, stories, and meaning — to improve strategy, policy, products, and services. Organizations she has worked with include P&G, Nokia, GE, Kickstarter, the United Nations and NASA. She recently finished an expert-in-residency at IDEO where she extended and amplified IDEO’s impact in design research.

Tricia has a BA in Communication and PhD in Sociology from UC San Diego. She holds affiliate positions at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). She is also a Fulbright Fellow and National Science Foundation Fellow where she is the first Western scholar to work with China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in Beijing, China.

Tricia began her career as a documentary filmmaker, an HIV/AIDS activist, a hip-hop education advocate, and a technology educator in low-income communities. She has worked across four continents; her life philosophy is that you have to go to the edge to discover what’s really happening.

She is currently writing a book about the emotional effects of the internet on Chinese citizens.