MIT’s Robert Solow won the 1987 Nobel Prize in economics for showing that long-term growth in advanced economies like the United States is not driven so much by capital investment, the pillar of classic economics, as by technological progress. Nearly three years ago, on June 27, 2007, Xconomy began publishing online from Kendall Square, Cambridge, right next to Solow’s institution. Our goal was to become the world’s most credible and authoritative voice chronicling the story of this high-tech innovation—by building a network of websites to provide up close and personal coverage of key technology clusters and then bringing leaders in the innovation community together through our events. Today, it is my great pleasure to announce that Xconomy is launching in the most technologically rich and innovative region in the world—the San Francisco Bay Area.
Welcome to Xconomy San Francisco! With this debut, our network has expanded to five cities, including our charter city of Boston as well as Seattle, San Diego, and Detroit. (You can click on any node on the map in the upper right hand corner of each page to see the news from that city, or you can read the aggregated content from across the network on our National site, Xconomy.com.)
I think you’ll find that while there are plenty of technology news sites out there, none are like Xconomy. We specialize in in-depth stories of innovation and technology strategy, mixed with breaking news. We profile the entrepreneurs and startups, venture capitalists, and angel investors continually hammering away at new technologies, as well as the innovators inside large corporations—and how their efforts fit into their companies’ overall technology strategies.
And, unlike many others, we don’t stop at information technology. We believe strongly in covering the gamut of high-tech innovation—from IT to life sciences to medical devices to clean energy and everything else in between. That’s partly because these are important sectors of our economy. But it’s also because much growth in the economy will spring from the intersections of fields like biology, energy, and information technology: witness biofuels or synthetic biology or health IT. Despite its plethora of blogs and business publications, we think the Bay Area can use our brand of insightful, broad-based but in-depth coverage. That’s why we’re here. Great stories, great insights, real news in real time. That’s Xconomy.
Xconomy San Francisco will be led by two of the country’s best technology and life sciences journalists. Chief correspondent Wade Roush, who has been in Boston since our inception, is moving back to the Bay Area, where he spent almost a decade working for NASA, an e-book startup, and Technology Review magazine. Wade, who holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a PhD in the history and social study of science and technology from MIT, will retain his title of chief correspondent, while also serving as Editor of Xconomy San Francisco.
Working closely with Wade, and leading our life sciences coverage of the region, will be National Biotechnology Editor Luke Timmerman. He also knows the Bay Area well, having lived in San Francisco while serving as the U.S. biotechnology reporter for Bloomberg News. Luke, a former Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, has won several national awards for his life sciences reporting. He is now based in Seattle, where he also serves as Editor of Xconomy Seattle. But he will be spending a lot of time in the Bay Area.
Wade and Luke will be supported by the rest of the Xconomy staff, all of whom will be contributing to Xconomy San Francisco, along with our network of great freelancers. (You can read more about our team, as well as our principles and ethics, on our About page.)
In addition to great news coverage by professional journalists, Xconomy likes to highlight a multitude of outside voices and opinions from across the innovation community—whether that means Nobel Laureates, famous venture capitalists, or unknown entrepreneurs. You will find their thoughts and views in our Xconomist Forum. The forum is open to anyone. But it is the special home of the “Xconomists,” an elite group of advisors now numbering more than 200 that we have assembled in all of our cities.
Our initial group of more than 40 San Francisco Xconomists (listed here) includes: minicomputer pioneer Gordon Bell, now Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research Silicon Valley/San Francisco; Curtis Carlson, President and CEO, SRI International; Henry Chesbrough, Executive Director, Center for Open Innovation, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business; Paul Graham, Partner, Y Combinator; Trip Hawkins, CEO and Founder, Digital Chocolate, Founder of Electronic Arts; Regis Kelly, Director, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (Qb3); Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google; Stephen Quake, Professor of Bioengineering, Stanford University and Co-founder of Helicos Biosciences and Fluidigm; Bryan Roberts, Partner, Venrock Associates; Eric Schadt, Chief Scientific Officer, Pacific Biosciences and co-founder, Sage Bionetworks; Sue Siegel, Partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures and former President, Affymetrix; Chris Somerville, Director, Energy Biosciences Institute and Professor at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Anne Wojcicki, Co-founder and President, 23andMe.
The Xconomists will often take center stage at the events we plan to hold around the Bay Area to bring an even more personal dimension to what we do. In the past year alone, Xconomy has held nearly 20 events around the country. These range from dinner conversations and evening forums to half-day conferences around topics like cloud computing, mobile innovation, smart energy, and the shape of life sciences 20 years. The biggest of our events is a full-day innovation extravaganza, XSITE (the Xconomy Summit on Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship), which will take place this Thursday in Boston. Stay tuned for word about our Bay Area events, which will begin this fall.
We are also extremely grateful to be supported in our newest region by an innovative group of charter underwriters and venture members who dare to take the plunge with a startup media company. They are: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Arch Venture Partners, Fenwick and West, HP Startup Ecosystem Programs, Invest Northern Ireland, J. Robert Scott Executive Search, Schwartz Communications, the Science & Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and SRI International. A heartfelt thank you to all!
Wade and Luke will provide their own overview of their plans for Xconomy San Francisco tomorrow. But you can get started reading their stuff right away, as we debut with Wade’s in-depth look at the Siri “virtual personal assistant” app for the iPhone, and how it came to be acquired by Apple, and Luke’s profile of Genentech’s souped-up version of trastuzumab (Herceptin), the hit drug for women with certain forms of breast cancer. In addition, we have our first guest editorial for San Francisco’s Xconomist Forum. It’s from Venrock’s Bryan Roberts, who offers his take on three things the Bay Area can do to become an even more sustainable place for innovation. Finally, I also invite you to watch this video blog post that Wade prepared as a preview of his upcoming cross-country trip to San Francisco.
We’re extremely excited to finally come to the Bay Area, where I grew up and spent much of my career, and we’ve been deeply encouraged by the enthusiasm and support we have received across the innovation community, which sees a real need for what we are doing. We hope you like what Xconomy is all about, and welcome your comments and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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