At a party Wired threw for its Reddit social news site tonight, to celebrate the release of its software as open source, I pressed Wired News editor Evan Hansen for details on HotWired, the tired Web brand his corporate overseers at Conde Nast are planning to revive. He didn't tell me anything — except that the social network Wired editor Chris Anderson has been talking about is not, in fact, HotWired. Correction appreciated, Evan. HotWired, whatever it is, is far enough along to be part of Wired's PR boilerplate. A press release for Wired property Reddit included this phrase: "HotWired's development is TBD." To be determined. That's the point at which I became bored.
When Wired cofounder Louis Rossetto ran the magazine and HotWired in the 1990s — a period, I should disclose, which includes my employment there — he never stopped talking about the company's seemingly limitless future. His pitch, tinged with equal parts Barnum and McLuhan, always boiled down to this: "Get Wired." I chided Hansen for being too low-key about Wired's online successes, and its new ventures, like the TBD HotWired. Rossetto saw no conflict between being a journalist and a marketer. He believed that while Wired reported on the digital revolution, HotWired would live it. He would never have described a product as "TBD." He would have gone with "TBA" instead: to be amazing.