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Author Topic: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago  (Read 2295 times)

40hz

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A recent blog post by Jim Lynch reminded me why I no longer subscribe to (or even read) WIRED - and should have absolutely no regrets about it.

Some background: WIRED was the 1993 brainchild of Lou Rossetto and Jane Metcalf. Original backing for the magazine came from Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Media lab. Kevin Kelly (of Whole Earth Catalog and Whole Earth Review fame) was it's original Executive Editor. WIRED positioned itself as the Rolling Stone of technology news. And for several years it was just that despite a slowly encroaching blight of terminal hipster smugness in it's overall tone.

The original WIRED fell victim to the 90's bubble burst in the technology sector. That bust came as a result of investors gradually waking up to the fact that handing children (in every sense of the word) unlimited amounts of cash to pursue their own personal agendas and visions of "cool" - without regard to creating viable products or services - just might not be the smartest move a business investor could make.

WIRED, being intrinsically linked to those bubble ventures since that magazine was its greatest booster and advocate, soon fell into financial trouble. At which point it was acquired by Advance Publications who assigned it to their Condé Nast media empire in 1998.

And "the rest is history," as the saying goes.

Although WIRED's editorial offices remained in San Francisco, the magazine gradually became one more "Condé" magazine with a distinct New York (i.e. "more mainstream") vibe. And this all happened (in true Condé Nast fashion) despite numerous boilerplate assurances it would be kept as it was before the acquisition. The executive editors that followed slowly but surely repurposed WIRED into yet another trendy, industry-suckup, celebrity chasing, lifestyle magazine. In short, much like all the other magazines Condé Nast Publications regularly cranks out each month. It's a formula that works well for them, so it should come as no surprise they apply it to every media property they assimilate.

But now, along comes something that neatly establishes quite clearly that (a) WIRED really is gone, never to come back; and (b) shows just what it means to be a part of Condé Nast Publications.

Check out

Quote
A takedown of Wired’s editor-in-chief Scott Dadich
January 15, 2015 by Jim Lynch


Wired’s editor-in-chief Scott Dadich recently sent out a memo about the magazine’s new workspace. And John Moltz promptly wrote a takedown of the memo. Apparently Wired spent $3,000,000 dollars on their new space and their EIC wanted to make sure that it stayed…er…neat or something.

What follows is both a funny and sad story about what has to be one of the most bleak-looking workplaces imaginable. One that looks more like a floor in some dystopian secret police headquarters than it does the offices of a jouralistic enterprise. Read the rest here.

Interesting how the image a company presents through its physical workspace says so much about the mindset of the organization itself...

 8)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 12:54:42 PM by 40hz »

Renegade

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2015, 07:16:24 PM »
Interesting how the image a company presents through its physical workspace says so much about the mindset of the organization itself...

Pics are here. It looks quite literally like the set of some dystopian techo-hell film. I suppose this is just one peek into the mindset of the technocrats.
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Innuendo

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2015, 07:22:38 PM »
Although WIRED's editorial offices remained in San Francisco, the magazine gradually became one more "Condé" magazine with a distinct New York (i.e. "more mainstream") vibe. And this all happened (in true Condé Nast fashion) despite numerous boilerplate assurances it would be kept as it was before the acquisition. The executive editors that followed slowly but surely repurposed WIRED into yet another trendy, industry-suckup, celebrity chasing, lifestyle magazine. In short, much like all the other magazines Condé Nast Publications regularly cranks out each month. It's a formula that works well for them, so it should come as no surprise they apply it to every media property they assimilate.

...and this very transformation is happening to Ars Technica as we speak, though it is still in the early stages. They even concluded their purchase of the web site with their obligatory "Nothing's going to change!" promise. Although, some would say the transformation started happening years earlier when the web site's staff would always recommend an Apple solution to everything...even if a different platform was bone-crushingly superior in every way.

Quote
What follows is both a funny and sad story about what has to be one of the most bleak-looking workplaces imaginable. One that looks more like a floor in some dystopian secret police headquarters than it does the offices of a jouralistic enterprise.

Doesn't seem dystopian to me, but I'm picturing it in its final state, being populated by hipsters wearing their horn-rimmed glasses with the non-prescription lenses, artificially distressed leather messenger bags, and their "It's not dystopian...we designed it this way ironically. If you don't get it, you'll never get it" attitudes.

Renegade

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2015, 07:35:17 PM »
Quote
What follows is both a funny and sad story about what has to be one of the most bleak-looking workplaces imaginable. One that looks more like a floor in some dystopian secret police headquarters than it does the offices of a jouralistic enterprise.

Doesn't seem dystopian to me, but I'm picturing it in its final state, being populated by hipsters wearing their horn-rimmed glasses with the non-prescription lenses, artificially distressed leather messenger bags, and their "It's not dystopian...we designed it this way ironically. If you don't get it, you'll never get it" attitudes.

And yet another description that furthers my resolve to have as little to do with large swaths of society as possible.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Stoic Joker

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2015, 10:09:26 PM »
Quote
What follows is both a funny and sad story about what has to be one of the most bleak-looking workplaces imaginable. One that looks more like a floor in some dystopian secret police headquarters than it does the offices of a jouralistic enterprise.

Doesn't seem dystopian to me, but I'm picturing it in its final state, being populated by hipsters wearing their horn-rimmed glasses with the non-prescription lenses, artificially distressed leather messenger bags, and their "It's not dystopian...we designed it this way ironically. If you don't get it, you'll never get it" attitudes.

And yet another description that furthers my resolve to have as little to do with large swaths of society as possible.

Tempting as it was to agree, two things struck me about this exchange:
1. They are no more or less annoying than we were at that age to our elders. Because it's fun to piss people off when you're convinced you already know everything.

2. Every time we chose to embed ourselves deeper into our holes...they win. Because it's so much easier to jerk people around when there isn't some asshole yanking on the curtain..

40hz

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2015, 11:34:02 PM »
They are no more or less annoying than we were at that age to our elders. Because it's fun to piss people off when you're convinced you already know everything.

No less annoying perhaps. But their ability to do actual harm is far greater than it was possible for us to do when we were that age.

mwb1100

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2015, 11:52:15 PM »
And I didn't read the whole memo on keeping it neat, but I will say that in two times that I've worked places where I was moved into newly renovated digs, we got what were probably similar memos about keeping the shiny new space "lookin' good".

Unfortunately, real-life always overrides such requests, and desks and walls start getting covered in paper, sticky notes, whiteboards scrawled with god-knows-what and other materials.  If you want work done in a workplace, the artifacts of that work will start messing things up.


TaoPhoenix

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2015, 01:24:41 AM »
It looks quite literally like the set of some dystopian techo-hell film. I suppose this is just one peek into the mindset of the technocrats.

Again, sometimes life is even creepier than films!

I didn't think it looked like a dys-film at all!
Instead, it looks more like just a boring case of "you're not here to work. You're here to be furniture to my expensive board meetings as the west coast office of Conde Nast."


TaoPhoenix

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2015, 01:28:28 AM »
Unfortunately, real-life always overrides such requests, and desks and walls start getting covered in paper, sticky notes, whiteboards scrawled with god-knows-what and other materials.  If you want work done in a workplace, the artifacts of that work will start messing things up.

The scary parts start when they don't actually want real work done, they want the image because it makes for more money during investment meetings, combined with the stress-deflection of yelling at people to get more work done!

>:(

Renegade

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Re: I no longer read WIRED - and why I'm glad I stopped reading it years ago
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2015, 01:51:37 AM »
It looks quite literally like the set of some dystopian techo-hell film. I suppose this is just one peek into the mindset of the technocrats.

Again, sometimes life is even creepier than films!

I didn't think it looked like a dys-film at all!
Instead, it looks more like just a boring case of "you're not here to work. You're here to be furniture to my expensive board meetings as the west coast office of Conde Nast."

The way one concrete room is yellow, another blue... It seems forced, sterile, monotonous, much in the same way as in Brave New World, etc.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker