My 33 Months at Xconomy, a Nano-Memoir (of Sorts)
By the time you read this, I’ve probably already wrapped up my work as a correspondent for Xconomy, turned in my key to office on Rogers Street in Cambridge, MA, and taken a deep breath in anticipation of my exciting new role as an executive editor for the life sciences group at FierceMarkets.
I’m really not being modest when I say that I don’t expect my departure from Xconomy to qualify as anything close to an event [Editor's note: Ryan is, indeed, being modest---we're going to miss him like crazy!], and Xconomy has a great life sciences reporting team in place with or without me. But I spent about 33 months at Xconomy, mostly covering the biotech and healthcare IT scenes in the Boston area, and I thought a proper goodbye post would be appropriate. It’s also an opportunity for me to brag a bit about some of the cool stories that we did during my stint with Xconomy. (Still, I promise to keep this farewell relatively brief.)
Before I talk about those stories, I want to say thanks to Xconomy. I feel plain lucky that Bob Buderi, Xconomy’s founder and editor-in-chief, called me on my cell phone in late July 2008 to ask me if I was interested in working for his startup media company. I got that call while I was literally carrying my box of personal stuff out of a building on Federal Street in downtown Boston after my last day as the biotech reporter for Mass High Tech, and I was still wondering at the time whether I was crazy for moving with my wife to Vermont, where I would try my luck as a freelancer. Thanks to Bob and Xconomy co-founder and executive editor Rebecca Zacks, I was given a shot to stay on the Boston biotech beat.
In those first few months at Xconomy, I chased down a news tip from Bob and broke a little story about the big $400 million endowment that philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad gave to their namesake research center, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. (The experience told me that my sources still worked, even when I was up in Vermont.) Around the same time, I started working more closely with Luke Timmerman, Xconomy’s National Biotech Editor, who joined Xconomy via Bloomberg several months before my arrival. Luke writes terrifically detailed and compelling news copy at speeds that would rival fictional Clark Kent’s fastest work at The Daily Planet. Luke also never hesitated to share tricks of the trade with me, and I’ll try to never forget those lessons. I learned a bunch from the other editors as well.
I don’t have a “top 10″ stories list or anything to share with you, but I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to be the first reporter to provide what I would call in-depth coverage of many healthcare-related startups in the Boston area. Some examples include stories about KEW Group (most recently), Seventh Sense Biosystems, Life Image, Momelan Technologies, and Vedanta Biosciences. I also got to do some memorable stories that involved big companies such as Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB), Genzyme, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), and Novartis (NYSE:NVS). The only regrets I have are getting beat on certain Boston biotech stories, yet I feel like I did about as much as I could while covering the beat mostly from my home office in a little college town some 200 miles from Kendall Square.
If you’re still reading this nano-memoir, then perhaps you’ll be interested to know that I’ll still be following the Boston biotech scene as well as the life sciences industry in other geographies in my new role at Fierce. I’ll also be in Boston and other major hubs of the biotech industry to cover stories and attend meetings. And I plan to continue to provide Twitter updates under my @ryan_mcbride handle.
So perhaps this isn’t really a goodbye as much as a note of thanks to the editors at Xconomy and to you the audience, with whom I aim to keep in touch through my work at Fierce.