I’m writing this note from the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where ReadWrite has made its new home. The editors and writers of ReadWrite are now working alongside our new colleagues at Wearable World, a two-year-old startup which has bought this storied tech publication from Say Media, its former owner.
Together, we are going to fill this building with the echoes of storytelling. From here, we’ll send out countless missives about the impact of new technologies on our world, and the people who will bring them to us.
I like to call ReadWrite “storied,” and its nearly 12-year history places it among the veterans of technology media, a space where many publishers have come and gone.
But the Palace is much older than ReadWrite. In fact, the building is observing its 100th anniversary this month.
After the 1906 earthquake, citizens of this city rallied together to raise money for the Panama Pacific International Exposition, a world fair honoring the opening of the Panama Canal. If you think in networks and connections like I do, you’ll understand the canal’s opening as an event that linked Europe and the West Coast, the East Coast, and Asia, and South America with the rest of the world.
In an early kind of crowdfunding, San Francisco’s boosters raised $4 million for the Exposition, which they made back in ticket sales.
The Palace of Fine Arts is the sole survivor of the structures put up for the fair, which attracted 18 million people over the nine months it was open. Most recently, the Palace housed the Exploratorium, a children’s science museum. It’s now leased by the Innovation Hangar, an organization which has signed up groups like Wearable World—and now ReadWrite—to call this place their home.
The Programmable (And Wearable) World
Why Wearable World? It’s not because I’ve reluctantly become fascinated by wearables or intend to narrow ReadWrite’s focus in any way.
Instead, it’s because Wearable World CEO Redg Snodgrass, an old friend of mine, shares my vision of what’s happening in technology in this moment.
If software is eating the world, as Netscape cofounder and technology investor Marc Andreessen likes to say, then hardware is the plate from which it feasts. Devices are the best expression of the ethereal services that spew data into our increasingly digital universe. And increasingly, they will be as hackable and fungible as software code.
For this world, we will need vastly more people who are proficient in code, and we will need people who look nothing like the bulk of the software profession today. Redg and I call this emerging group the “Democracy of Developers.” ReadWrite will champion them.
In 2014, according to IDC, professional software developers outnumbered hobbyists 11 million to 7.5 million. I believe those numbers will soon flip. I predict that we will have vastly more practitioners of code who pursue it out of passion, as a sideline, as an entrepreneurial dream, or simply as a skill they use to make their way in the world.
ReadWrite’s Journey Into The Future
Besides housing Wearable World’s headquarters and ReadWrite’s editorial offices, the Palace will also host labs for startups and galleries to display their works. At ReadWrite, we have always been at the center of technological innovation, but never before have we had it so tangibly present.
I believe that this is the destiny ReadWrite founder Richard MacManus saw for his publication. He wanted to establish a newsroom in the United States, specifically in San Francisco. To do so, he turned to Say Media, which has been ReadWrite’s parent for the past three years.
I am grateful to Say for many things. I think of the company, which is now pursuing its destiny as a pure play in publishing technology, as a booster rocket which got ReadWrite to our present orbit.
We will continue to publish ReadWrite on Say’s Tempest platform—and so I choose to think of my former colleagues there as a ground control team who will support us as we explore the unknown spaces of the programmable world. Thanks, guys—we’ll wave to you as our satellite circles the earth.
For ReadWrite’s readers, this is a singularly exciting time. Our new home will be open to the public soon, so you can tour the inventions we’re writing about, often as they’re being built. Through a series of Wearable World events in San Francisco and around the world, we will expand the reach of ReadWrite’s journalism. And we will chronicle the building of a new technological democracy. I can’t wait.