The Top Stories of 2013 at Xconomy San Francisco and Xperience
As the clock ticks down on 2013, I thought it might be fun to look back at the most popular stories of the year in the two sections I edit: Xconomy San Francisco and Xperience, our new consumer section.
The links below are ranked by page views. Many of these stories, you’ll notice, are slide shows, which are perennial crowd-pleasers—readers just can’t help clicking all the way through to the end.
A few of the popular pieces this year were breaking news stories; others were policy stories, commentaries, or fun features. Overall, the lists are a pretty good representation of the kinds of innovation coverage we strive to bring you every week.
The Top 15 Stories of 2013 at Xconomy San Francisco
1.Testing the Bay Lights: Stunning Photos and Video—A look at the Bay Lights Project, a network of 25,000 LED lights that has turned the San Francisco end of the Bay Bridge into a giant, ever-shifting computer display.
2. This is What You Want Your Next Startup’s Office to Look Like—A tour of Microsoft subsidiary Yammer’s ultra-modern new office space on Market Street in San Francisco.
3. California to Hit Startup Founders with Big Retroactive Tax Bill—The commentary from entrepreneur Brian Overstreet that launched a major political movement in California. Under Overstreet’s leadership, a group called California Business Defense eventually stopped a plan to collect retroactive tax payments from investors who’d taken advantage of a now-defunct tax exemption for small business investment income.
4. Y Combinator Unleashes 47 New Startups, from the Cloud to the Crowd—A rundown of the startups graduating as part of the Winter 2013 class at Mountain View’s Y Combinator startup accelerator.
5. Meet the Unsung Angels of Silicon Valley—We rounded up 18 of the most active yet under-recognized individual investors around San Francisco and Silicon Valley and summarized their investing specialties and philosophies.
6. Meet the 14 New Rock Health Startups Innovating in Digital Health—A report from the February 2013 demo day at San Francisco-based healthcare startup accelerator Rock Health.
7. Meet the 46 New Y Combinator Startups, from Bitcoins to Bots—A look at the startups graduating as part of the Summer 2013 class at Y Combinator.
8. Makers on the Waterfront: Inside Autodesk’s New Pier 9 Workshop—A photographic tour and feature story on Autodesk’s prototyping playground just off San Francisco’s Embarcadero.
9. Stanford’s StartX Launches 10 New Startups: The Story in Pictures—Photos from the eighth demo day at StartX, the accelerator for Stanford-affiliated startups in Palo Alto.
10. Matterport Isn’t Playing Games with Kinect-Style 3D Camera—This Y Combinator graduate is developing an affordable camera that designers, architects, and others can use to make 3D models of interiors.
11. Dropcam CEO’s Beef with Brogramming, Late Nights, and Free Dinners—A look at the unconventional approach to employee retention at San Francisco startup Dropcam, where staffers are (gasp!) encouraged to go home at 6 pm.
12. Building Biotechs to Last: The Photos—A slide show from our December 9 life sciences event, which featured big names like Isis Pharmaceuticals founder and CEO Stanley Crooke.
13. Who’s Investing in Food Startups? A Photo Gallery—A look at the speakers and attendees at a January 10, 2013, panel in San Francisco featuring venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporations investing in food-tech innovation.14. Robots Remake the Workplace: The Photo Gallery—Pictures from our April 11 forum on the new roles robots are playing in warehouses, hospitals, offices, factories, and other settings.
15. Google’s Anti-Aging Startup, Calico, Snags Big Names: Barron, Botstein—A breaking-news report from Xconomy’s national life sciences editor, Luke Timmerman, on key hires at the ambitious new Google-funded biotech initiative.
The Top 10 Stories of 2013 at Xperience
1. I’m Returning My iPad Mini. These Pictures Show Why.—Before the second-generation iPad mini, released this November, there was the first-generation mini, whose low-resolution screen made it unusable, from my point of view.
2. Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?—For this photo feature, I gathered every device I own that contains a microchip in my living room and snapped a picture. I then compared the image to a similar photo taken in 2005. My conclusion: You can do a lot more today with a lot fewer gadgets.
3. What Makes an App Awesome? A Case Study with Mokriya Craigslist—Sunil Kanderi, CEO of mobile app development studio Mokriya, gave me a behind-the-scenes look at how his company developed its popular app for browsing Craiglist.
4. Don’t Panic, But We’ve Passed Peak Apple. And Google. And Facebook.—In this controversial column, I argued that it’s unreasonable to expect any more big, groundbreaking innovations from these three iconic companies.
5. Please, Keep Paying $80 a Month for Cable So I Can Enjoy Cheap TV—This tongue-in-cheek letter to cable subscribers tried to make a serious point: if you’re unhappy with the outrageous bills from your cable provider, you can always vote with your feet and switch to Internet-only video viewing experiences.
6. Battle of the Bluetooth Speakers: Big Sound in Small Packages—I reviewed six different portable Bluetooth speaker products, from Boombotix, Outdoor Tech, BOOM, Jawbone, Native Union, and Definitive Technology.
7. Do You Need an Extended Warranty? Do the Math, Says SquareTrade—A feature on SquareTrade, which is trying to reverse the poor reputation of the extended-warranty industry through lower prices and better customer service.
8. 11 Reasons Why Flickr, Not Facebook, Is the Place to Put Your Photos—Friends don’t let their friends use Facebook as a long-term photo storage solution. Flickr, where I’ve been storing thousands of photos since 2004, had one foot in the grave, and this piece looked at the changes this year that brought it back.
9. How Lytro is Shifting our Perspective on Photography—A look at the revolutionary light-field camera from Lytro, which not only allows you to refocus pictures after they’ve been shot, but captures information that lets you reconstruct a scene in three dimensions.
10. Knowledge When You Need It: Lynda.com and the Rise of Online Ed—A feature on Lynda.com, which started building a vast online archive of training and education videos long before “edtech” and MOOCs became cool.