Un-Wired

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I first came to WIRED in 2001, when the dot-com blowup was in full howl, and when the promise of a magazine built around technology seemed dubious. It took some months, but soon WIRED found its footing in a new era: one where the promise of science was rejuvenating, and where the benefits of technology reestablished themselves as fundamental to the future. Oh, and in this new era, technology was for everyone, and could be fun. Even cool.

Since then, for those 11 years, I’ve been happily helping that future emerge. With Chris Anderson as editor in chief, and with my WIRED colleagues, we’ve had the best minds in the business: editors, designers, engineers, writers, creators. For me, it’s been one long picnic. It’s been an honor to play the executive editor role that one of my heroes, Kevin Kelly, first created. I’ve been able to talk candidly with the best minds in Silicon Valley and around the country and around the world, and hear what they think is going to happen next. I’ve been able to groom ideas on their way out of the stable, to steer them slightly, but then they’re off.

To my friends in technology, I have often described my job as being COO (to Chris’s CEO) in a company that released one new product every month, a constant stream of alpha versions. We had no betas, no revisions, no second chances (until the iPad, when suddenly there was one, sort of). It has required both perfectionism and concession, and always a tolerance to be wrong 1/3 of the time (not a bad hit rate, considering).

I’ve been proud, incredibly and uproariously proud, of what we’ve done at WIRED during the past decade. We have been on top of so many things, and had such a blast bringing them to our readers first, before they caught a whisper of these ideas elsewhere. It’s a singular job, and WIRED is a singular place.

But: For the past few years, I’ve bristled at merely spotting this stuff and letting everyone else have the opportunity to exploit our acumen. For a while now, I’ve had the itch to roll up my sleeves and start building something, to bore a little bit deeper and start pushing the potential of the tools and ideas that WIRED covers so well.

Now is that time. I’ve got an idea, hinted at in the name of this blog here, that I think will help people find powerful ideas and put them to use – even help them improve their lives.

So as of January 4, I’m leaving WIRED to turn ideas into action. Expect something cool in mid to early 2013.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting some thoughts here, and lobbing bigger bombs elsewhere.

Oh: And I’ll also finish writing my second book, The Remedy, which is coming out from Penguin/Gotham in Fall, 2013. It’s an incredible story about the quest to identify and cure tuberculosis in the late 19th century, and it touches on everything from the origins of the germ theory of disease to Iowa corn farmers to Sherlock Holmes (there’s a LOT of Sherlock Holmes). It’s a story about discovery and failure, and about nothing less than the emergence of the modern scientific method that, these days especially, we take too much for granted. I’ll give more information about that here, too.

My greatest thanks and best wishes to my colleagues at WIRED. Enjoy the ride, comrades. It’s a worthy ship you’re on.