Farewell, Xconomy Readers. I’m Going to Climb a New Mountain

3/5/14Follow @xconomy

This is my last week on the job at Xconomy.

After almost six years, I’m moving on. I’m going to finish writing a biography of Leroy Hood, the pioneer of high-speed DNA sequencing and genomic-based personalized medicine. And then I’ll see what’s next.

When I first joined Xconomy, it had been founded 10 months earlier in Boston, and had already begun to build a reputation as one of the only high-tech news outlets that covered both information technology and life sciences. I was hired to help take our life sciences coverage to a new level. I’m proud to say Xconomy is now a must-read news site for people in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Xconomy’s readership has grown significantly, as has its geographic reach—we now have reporters in nine cities across the U.S., covering a wide range of technology and life sciences companies. I’m leaving our biotech readers in good hands, especially those of our dedicated biotech editor Ben Fidler, with whom I’ve been working closely for the past year. The time is right for me to move on.

This has been quite an adventure in online journalism entrepreneurship. At other companies where I’ve worked, the readers were there, regardless of what you wrote or didn’t, but they seemed more like a set of composite demographic characters than actual people; it was hard to identify with them.

Xconomy, as a startup, was something altogether different. When I joined it was still in the midst of being built and defined. Reporting and writing were just the start. It forced me to stretch in all kinds of new directions. This job required being an entrepreneur, ambassador, proselytizer, recruiter, staff mentor, editor, conference impresario, name badge stuffer, and computer anti-virus technician.

I’d been writing about startups for a decade at big media companies, but here I started to truly understand the kind of high-pressure, ambiguous situations that my readers—many of them in small biotech companies—encounter on a daily basis.

I’ll never forget working alongside my colleagues on the business and editorial sides of the house, and I’ve been moved by their farewell comments. But the most gratifying part of this experience has been the bond I’ve formed with readers. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to meet so many of you, all over the country, doing so many interesting things. I can’t thank the readers of Xconomy enough for all the support over the years, whether it was making time for an interview, writing a guest post, or showing up at an event.

In the early going, it felt like hardly anybody was reading. I remember getting beers with my Seattle tech reporting colleague Greg Huang, and both of us saying, over and over, that if this team could consistently deliver original reporting, and we gave readers something that couldn’t be found anywhere else online, we’d have a shot. It was a lot of hard work. The odds were against us. Yet here we are.

Covering the biotech industry has always provided me with an amazing lens through which to view the world. I’ve reported and written on the latest advances in targeted cancer drugs, immunotherapy, genomics, molecular diagnostics, and more. I’ve reported on the bust and the new bubble. I’ve gotten to know hundreds of fascinating people who run the many interesting biotech companies around the U.S. Xconomy competes with every big media outlet, and I’ve relished every minute of doing so. I’ve conceived conferences to discuss some of the thorny, unresolved issues in the business. I’ve analyzed the industry in my BioBeat column. I’ve served as an op-ed editor, helping many of our readers express their own thoughts succinctly and clearly on Xconomy. It’s been a joy.

I’m sure I will miss the thrill of the breaking-news scoop, and writing a weekly column that, I hope, makes people think. I’ll certainly miss the day-to-day interaction when I crawl into the writer’s cave to finish my Lee Hood book.

But as many readers know, I climb mountains. When I climb one, I need to set my sights on another. That’s where I’m at now. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For those of you who would like to stay in touch, you can find me on LinkedIn and at ldtimmerman [at] gmail.com.

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  • David Miller

    Good luck with the book, Luke. Hope it finishes fast and look forward to learning where you land next.

    In the meantime, we’ll miss you!

  • Jim Roberts

    Congratulations Luke. Your voice will be missed, but on to bigger and better things!

  • Rich

    Good luck with the new book and future efforts. I appreciate your work reporting the latest news on bio startup. As someone working in the tech industry in San Diego, I was always curious what was going on with all the biomed companies around here.

  • k8stohlman

    end of an era. your column was great, I look forward to seeing what you throw your energy into next.

  • Argo

    Luke Good Luck to you! Your column will be sorely missed. Who c an I rely on now for top notch news and analysis? A huge void will be created by your departure.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/ Luke Timmerman

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words here, and on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I deeply appreciated all the support in this quest to build a must-read source for biotech news.

    One last thing: I still plan to serve as the host/emcee at the Xconomy Seattle event on Apr. 22, titled “What’s Hot in Cancer Immunotherapy.” This is a timely topic, and we have a great lineup of speakers. I look forward to seeing lots of readers there.

    http://www.eventbrite.com/e/xconomy-forum-whats-hot-in-cancer-immunotherapy-tickets-10631642529

  • http://www.hollyip.com/ Suleman Ali

    Excellent articles with new perspectives, providing fresh insights, drilling down to the real issues. Good luck for your future endeavours

  • Grant Pickering

    You will be missed, Luke! I have no doubt we’ll gain the benefit of your voice from another source sometime soon. Good luck and well done!

  • http://hallorancg.com Laurie Halloran

    Ohhhh noooooo. Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing!! You are a really fantastic voice of knowledge and reason for the industry!

  • Jerry Jeff

    Sorry to see you go. Best of luck!

  • Eric T

    Excellent work over the past few years, LT. Thanks so much for your great reporting.

  • johnhcook

    Luke,

    It has been great reading and competing over the years. You are a class act. Best of luck in your next adventure.

  • Kim Emmons

    Thanks for all your contributions and making Xconomy the go to place for local biotech news. Best wishes.

  • medtechiq

    Luke,

    We have never met, but you have been closely followed in the Health IT community. You will be missed, and please keep us up to date on your next “Mountain”!

  • LifeSciRcruitr

    Sorry to see you go, Luke, but looking forward to continued great reporting from Xconomy, and to hearing about your new adventures. Stay in touch!

  • Marc Eisen

    I’m new to Luke’s tech writing and am blown away at how good it is: authoritative, conversational and succinct. That’s the package!

  • Todd Smith

    Look forward to seeing the next mountain too. I’ve enjoyed our conversations and opportunities to collaborate. Hope there is more in the future. I’ll look forward to getting a hardcopy of the book so you can autograph it. Good luck with the next phase!

  • http://www.i-human.com Norm Wu

    How sad to hear you are leaving Xconomy Luke. You’ve done an amazing job and have left an indelible imprint on what it is today. I look forward to hearing of your next mountain!

  • Patti Tenney

    Wishing you all the best Luke. Job well done. I first met you when you were still in the traditional newspaper writing business. I’m sue the book on Leroy Hood will be terrific. I look forward to reading it. Keep climbing those mountains.

  • Chris Tompkins

    Best of luck Luke, I will look forward to reading your biography of Lee Hood in the future. Thanks for all your hard work at Xconomy.

  • Kim E Whittemore

    Luke, I have great respect for you and have been a Lee Hood/P4 follower for a long time… Excited for you and for all if us who will benefit from your writing! All the best on this next adventure…