At a party thrown by Wired in June, I teased Wired.com editor-in-chief Evan Hansen for eschewing the online publication's mid-1990s bravado in favor of his just-a-journalist aw-shucks routine. I fear the man has taken my jibes seriously, to his employer's peril. He is talking up Wired as a software developer, competing with Google, and thinking about the launch of a sports blog. Remember Adrenaline? Exactly. Neither does Hansen, or anyone else at Wired, the magazine which spawned the ill-fated sports website, which shuttered shortly after Wired Ventures' failed attempt to go public.Hansen shows that Wired is reprising all of its mistakes from the last bubble. "Our vision is to not just be a magazine publisher covering technology, but to be a developer of these things," he says. Of a photo-gallery tool for the website, he says: "We’re hoping to have something to show that will blow people’s minds." Has he been eating Wired founder Louis Rossetto's chocolate? If I sound like a grumpy old fellow who's seen this all before, it's because I have, first-hand. The sports venture isn't the only repetitive pattern I've spotted. In 1996, Wired bought Suck.com, giving the cultural-critique website enough of a budget to hire unskilled 24-year-olds as copy boys. In 2006, Wired bought Reddit, which lets anyone build their own version of Suck.com (except not as good, because none of Reddit's users are as funny as Joey Anuff, Carl Steadman, or Ana Marie Cox). What's different now? Oh, sure, we can talk about Internet adoption, broadband, open-source software. Whatever. What has really changed is that now, instead of public shareholders funding Wired's wild experiments, advertisers are willing to foot the bill. And that is perhaps the biggest reason for Hansen's newfound enthusiasm. He's looking forward to putting ads for sugary electrolyte drinks on his new sports blog. Which only makes us think of OK Soda.
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.
Privacy advocate and executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy Jeffrey Chester wants you to worry about Google's plans to allow other companies to track user behavior through its advertising platform. "Google has now sanctioned behavioral targeting on its network, and users have no idea what the implications are," Chester told PC World. He said these third parties — ad agencies and ad networks, mostly — "are using the Google network, and you don't even know about it." Boogity boogity boo! Don't let Chester scare you. On the Internet, your privacy is an illusion and you know that. PC World just likes to remind you — today's story is the magazine's ninth to feature Jeffrey Chester since November — because it helps pays the bills. Don't believe us?
This week's get-together at Moose's in San Francisco's North Beach will double as a pre-party for the oh-so-exclusive Wired reunion party later that night. If you worked at the magazine or its side projects during the first five years — that is, while digerati rockstar Louis Rossetto was at the helm — you can get onto the list. But no +1, apologies to your spouse. Leave him or her at Moose's with the Valleywag shoefest. Guess who'll have more fun?
Louis Rossetto, founder of Wired and evangelist of the internet age, is gathering his former colleagues next Friday in San Francisco for a celebration of the pioneering geek magazine. (Executives from Conde Nast, the media conglomerate that now owns the title, aren't invited.) Ah, those early optimistic days: Rossetto planted his standard in 1993, in the first issue, famously declaring that "the Digital Revolution is whipping through our lives like a Bengali typhoon." Wired is now a successful lifestyle magazine in the same stable as Vanity Fair and Vogue. And Rossetto has turned his entrepreneurial energy to his chocolate-making venture, Tcho, though its still "in beta" as they say in Silicon Valley. But it's reassuring that at least the fervent language remains a constant. "Tcho is a new kind of chocolate company for a new generation of chocolate enthusiasts," promises the company website. For more chocolate evangelism, read on.
Was there a single stereotype of this fogbound city missed in last night's party for the Electronic Frontier Foundation? Full-arm sleeve tattoos, white people with dreadlocks, Web poseurs, old guys in tie-dye shirts. Hands off the Internet — and off me, you dirty zippies! Capping off the party's self-congratulations, the world's most pretentious new chocolatier, Louis Rossetto, founder of Wired, catered the event. These aren't just chocolates, people — they're a Bengali typhoon of flavor.
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.
I don't get why the founder of Wired magazine, which changed so many of our lives, is making boutique chocolate. There's something Onion-esque about the New York Times' deadpan report on Rossetto's "rethinking of the chocolate lexicon." Wired remade "geek" from a pejorative term to one women now use to boost their sex appeal. After Wired, I'd expected to see the messianic Rossetto — really, the guy has a way with converting people — launch a Tesla Motors or a super-Webby O'Reilly competitor. Instead, he's offering me dessert. I'm sure it's yummy, Louis, but it leaves me hungry for more.