Wired editor Chris Anderson is leaving the magazine after 11 years as its editor-in-chief to run a robotics company he founded, 3D Robotics.
Anderson made the announcement at an all-hands meeting for Wired staffers in San Francisco today.
3D Robotics has a Facebook page, Twitter account, and domain name (3drobotics.com), but currently no website. Currently, that URL redirects to DIY Drones, another company Anderson founded, which sells kits and parts for people making their own unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — robotic aircraft, essentially. It appears that 3D Robotics is an outgrowth of that company.
In addition to running Wired and turning it from a niche magazine with insider geek appeal into a mainstream tech-culture powerhouse, Anderson also wrote several influential books, including The Long Tail and Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Most recently, he published Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, which covers the rise of 3D printers, industrial outsourcing, and the maker movement. He also somehow found the time to become one of the pioneers of do-it-yourself UAV construction and design, and maintained a vigorous speaking schedule.
Anderson, who studied physics as an undergraduate and worked for Science magazine and the Economist before Wired, has an unusually quantitative approach to magazine journalism. For instance, feature story meetings at Wired include votes by every senior magazine editor on each story pitch. The meeting includes a discussion of the average votes each one receives as well as the standard deviation of the votes. However, Anderson, who has a quick and well-informed mind and a firm managerial style, usually has the final say.
The new company is a robot manufacturing company with factories in San Diego, California and Bangkok, Thailand. As of 2010 he was planning to expand into Tijuana, Mexico, according to a video interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. Last year, he posted a photo gallery of the San Diego factory.
Anderson said 3D Robotics was successful and needed more energy, but he sounded very sad and his voice was cracking when he said that he loves Wired, according to a source.
He’ll remain at the helm of Wired until the parent company, Conde Nast, is able to find a new editor-in-chief.
Disclosure: I worked at Wired.com from 2007 to 2011. At the time, Wired’s website was a separate division from the magazine, so I never worked under Anderson, though I know him.
Photo credit: Christina Bonnington