|Before smartphones, Google, and even Wi-Fi, back when Mark Zuckerberg was just a kid in Westchester, partners in business and love Louis Rosetto and Jane Metcalfe had a vision for a new publication. It was the early ’90s and digital media seemed like the cutting edge, very rock ‘n’ roll, though no one knew how big it was about to become. They wanted to create a magazine to cover this new world. First they thought of calling it Millennium, then Digit. (“Dig it,” get it?) Finally, Rosetto later recalled, they came up with a name that “captured the punch—the edge” of the world of technology: WIRED.
That was 1993, and this year WIRED is celebrating its 30th birthday. When the magazine turned 20, it got in touch with Rosetto, Metcalfe, and other early staffers to compile an oral history of the birth of WIRED, and now that we’re hitting another milestone birthday there’s no better time to look back. One remark, from designer Barbara Kuhr, strikes me as particularly prescient. “All the computer magazines we’d seen to date had pictures of machines or people sitting with machines,” she pointed out. “We said, ‘No machines. We’re taking pictures of you.’”
I’m biased, obviously, but Kuhr’s comment feels like a pretty apt synopsis of the best use case for tech journalism, in the early ’90s and now. A magazine story about technology should tell you something about what it means to live in a world that has been revolutionized by these devices. I hope you’ll give the whole oral history a read, because it’s fun but also because it’s such an interesting window into how conversations around technology have and haven’t changed in the past few decades.