When Paul Boutin noted Wired founder Louis Rossetto's new job as a chocolatier earlier today, I shook my head. Not because I thought it was a bad career move, but because I suspect most Valleywag readers have no idea who Louis Rossetto is. Or perhaps even what Wired is. (Boutin and I can't forget: We met each other while working there.) True story: At a party earlier this year, I watched as a startup founder told Wired publisher Drew Schutte that he'd never heard of the magazine before it bought Reddit.
Those discovering Wired today, in its Condé Nastified state, would have little reason to note Rossetto's name listed on the masthead as "founding editor." An odd title. Rossetto didn't found as much as confound. Reprinted below is his infamous "Bengali Typhoon" manifesto from the first issue of Wired, which perversely, you can't find on Wired's website. It rings just as true today as it did 12 years ago. My first thought on seeing it again: I'd like to read that magazine.
Because the digital Revolution is whipping through our lives like a Bengali typhoon — while the mainstream media is still groping for the snooze button. And because the computer "press" is too busy churning out the latest PCINFOCOMPUTINGCORPORATEWORLD iteration of its ad sales formula cum parts catalog to discuss the meaning or context of SOCIAL CHANGES SO PROFOUND their only parallel is probably the discovery of fire.
There are a lot of magazines about technology. Wired is not one of them. Wired is about the most powerful people on the planet today — THE digital GENERATION. These are the people who not only foresaw how the merger of computers, telecommunications and the media is transforming life at the cusp of the new millennium, they are making it happen.
OUR FIRST INSTRUCTION TO OUR WRITERS: AMAZE US.
Our second: We know a lot about digital technology, and we are bored with it. Tell us something we've never heard before, in a way we've never seen before. If it challenges our assumptions, so much the better.
So why now? Why Wired? Because in the age of information overload, THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IS MEANING AND CONTEXT.
Or put another way, if you're looking for the soul of our new society in wild metamorphosis, our advice is simple. Get Wired.