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
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.
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...