Xconomy Launches in Seattle

6/16/08Follow @bbuderi

Good morning Boston. Good morning Seattle. And good morning world. Today marks the public debut of the Xconomy network, as we launch both a Seattle website that will serve as a sister to our original Boston/Kendall Square site and a national overview site designed to be a gateway to both cities. (This means some changes for readers of our original site in Boston, who may be surprised right now to find themselves on a new home page—read on for details).

“Holy crap, we’re doing it!” I told myself Saturday, when we quietly turned on the new Seattle and national pages (echoing my own thoughts when we completed Xconomy’s Series A funding last summer). My mild expletive stemmed partly from the fact that I’m a bit of a cheapskate, and our burn rate has risen substantially with the opening of a new office—in Seattle’s Pill Hill area—and the hiring of three top talents (see below). But it referred mostly to the fact that opening a second Xconomy location is a key step toward our vision of building an extensive network of news blogs dedicated to covering the innovation economy of key high-tech and life sciences clusters.

So it’s a very big day for us. The original Xconomy quietly went live in Cambridge, MA, last June 27. It has since steadily built its readership, reach, and reputation far beyond our first-year plans. If you’re new to Xconomy, we aren’t a typical blog: we’re more like a cross between a blog, a daily newspaper, and a magazine, running articles that range from 30-odd words to more than 3,000, depending on where the story takes us. With the exception of the posts in our Xconomist Forum (more on that in a moment), all of our stories are written by professional journalists.

Xconomy was founded on the principle that growth in the economy is driven by high-tech innovation—which is all we cover. As I wrote at our launch: “We believe that you can best understand today’s high-tech economy by keeping your eye on the places where diverse people, technologies, organizations, expertise, and interests come together. Life sciences is made stronger by world-class information technology. Nanotechnology helps drive biotechnology, computing, and energy…The collaboration of—and friction between—academia and industry sparks profound changes in the way novel technologies are commercialized…The interactions of venture capitalists, angel investors, professors, students, lawyers, consultants, accountants, legislators, consumers—all these forces and interests come together in different ways to spur or hinder technological creativity and economic growth.”

It’s not just the stories we write that reflect this philosophy, but also the events we stage. Our June 24 Xconomy Forum on cloud computing at Akamai’s headquarters in Cambridge will mark our seventh innovation-oriented event to date. Earlier get-togethers ranged from thought provoking—like our biotech-meets-IT-meets-robotics-meets-venture capital forum in December and the intimate Life Sciences 2028 conversation that Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp and other life sciences leaders helped us conduct in April—to the raucous, like our Battle of the Tech Bands in January.

Starting today, we hope to repeat our Boston success with Xconomy Seattle, which has behind it a truly great team—with deep ties to the local innovation community. On the editorial front are two standout technology journalists: Luke Timmerman, our national biotechnology editor, who spent six years at the Seattle Times before joining Bloomberg in San Francisco as U.S. biotechnology reporter, and Seattle editor Greg Huang, formerly a New York Times professional fellow and an editor at Technology Review and New Scientist. Greg has spent a lot of time in Seattle and recently joined me in co-authoring Guanxi, a book about Microsoft’s Beijing research lab. Seattle, of course, is a great music hub, and Greg, now 3,000 miles from his band, might be seeking some jam partners as well.

Luke and Greg are joined by our new VP and West Coast managing director of business development, David Caffey, a veteran of Microsoft and other companies. David is known far and wide in the technology community by his nickname, Dcaff. What better moniker could a guy want in America’s biggest coffee town?

We are extremely pleased to have assembled a distinguished group of advisors—we call them Xconomists—for our Seattle node. These folks are all experts in their fields, and well-known not just in Seattle but also around the world. You can find all the Seattle Xconomists, along with their Boston counterparts, here. And when they have something they want to say about business, technology, or innovation, you’ll find it in the Xconomist Forums on our Seattle, Boston, and national home pages.

We are also honored to be supported in Seattle by a number of underwriters and partners. These include Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Polaris Venture Partners, the Science & Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the leading high-tech and life sciences trade organizations in Washington: the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, the Washington Technology Industry Association, and the Technology Alliance and its Alliance of Angels program.

While the Seattle launch represents the biggest piece of this week’s expansion, today also marks the debut of our national Xconomy.com site, which is designed to be the hub of our growing network, providing easy access to the best stories and Xconomist posts from each city, as well as a few more broadly focused items of its own. Some of our valued readers here in Boston probably got a little surprise this morning. Your Xconomy.com bookmark no longer delivers you to the original site—which was called “Xconomy Kendall Square” in reference to our neighborhood, arguably Boston’s innovation epicenter—but to our new national home page. The old Xconomy home page can now be found at www.Xconomy.com/Boston. You’ll see we’ve renamed it Xconomy Boston to help keep things simple and consistent as we grow our network.

With all those changes, one thing that remains the same is our commitment to providing world-class coverage of the local innovation stories that are driving global trends. Thank you in advance for joining us as we expand Xconomy from a stand-alone site into a vibrant (if, for the time being, small) network. We hope you like what Xconomy is doing and welcome your comments and suggestions at editors@xconomy.com.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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  • http://www.chenpr.com Chris Carleton

    Congrats, guys. Xconomy is one of the best things to happen to the Boston-area tech scene in a long time. May you repeat the success you’re enjoying here in Seattle and beyond. Cheers.

  • http://www.venturedeal.com Don Jones

    Congratulations Bob, Rebecca and team on your national network launch. The sites look great and I look forward to your expansion to other high tech hot spots around the country.

  • Bill

    Congratulations. You deserve another town with the great work you have done in Boston. Everyone wins. As Metcalfe’s law states, the value of the network goes up exponentially with the number of nodes on the network (the qualifier is that they have to be quality nodes and that Xconomy is). Kudos.

  • http://daley.med.harvard.edu/assets/Willy/willy.htm Willy Lensch

    Xconomy’s savvy and nose for news combined with the view from the top of the Space Needle should make you a hit in Seattle as well. Nicely done!

  • Bruce Wirt

    Bob, finally you admit you are a cheapskate. Fantastic effort and congrats on the newest launch. Looking forward to your Norcal launch in the future. Keep up the great work. Ciao