Farewell, Seattle: A Changing of the Xconomy Guard, and a New Beginning

6/14/10Follow @gthuang

For my last official post as Editor of Xconomy Seattle, let me tell you a quick story.

It was a warm, cloudy day in June 2008. Two guys walked into an old office on First Hill, but only one guy walked out. That was me. I took the stairs. The other guy was the Qwest cable guy. He took the elevator, and got stuck between the basement and the first floor for 40 minutes before we could extricate him with the help of a repairman.

Our phones and Internet service at Xconomy Seattle didn’t get turned on that day—or the next, as I recall. It was kind of a drag, given that we are an online media startup. So Luke and I improvised a lot, working from home (or wherever we could pick up Wi-Fi) in those early days.

We’ve come a long way in two years. OK, maybe not in terms of our office, which could still be described charitably as “startup space.” But in terms of our editorial content, our events, our readership, our sponsorships, and especially our relationships with people in the innovation community, we have created something we think is pretty special. That’s why today’s news from Xconomy warrants a personal note from me to our readers.

This morning, Xconomy announced our expansion to San Francisco—the fifth city in our growing network of innovation clusters around the country. As part of this expansion, Xconomy’s ace technology reporter in Boston, Wade Roush, is moving to San Francisco to be our Editor there. And my big news is, I am moving back East next month to become Editor of Xconomy Boston. It’s a great opportunity for me. But—and this is important—I plan to keep a strong hand in our Seattle and West Coast coverage by taking on an additional role as National IT Editor of Xconomy. That means I will continue to write stories about technology startups, financing strategies, and big-company research and innovation in Seattle and elsewhere—all from a national perspective.

I will also be an advisor to our latest addition to the Xconomy Seattle team—Thea Chard, our new Assistant Editor, who is my successor on the tech side here. We’ll have much more to say about Thea (pronounced TAY-uh) once she gets started next week. Meanwhile, my comrade-in-arms Luke, who first moved to Seattle in 2000 as a reporter at The Seattle Times, has been promoted to Editor of Xconomy Seattle. He will oversee our Northwest coverage, in addition to his considerable responsibilities as National Biotechnology Editor (which include leading our life sciences coverage in the San Francisco Bay Area).

Those who know me understand that I rarely like being the center of attention. So I don’t want today’s news to be about me—and it isn’t. It’s about the team. I can only begin to tell you how excited we are at Xconomy to be making this nationwide push to redefine technology and innovation journalism. My move back to Boston is part of this push. And, of course, I have roots in Boston, having lived there for 15+ years before coming to Seattle two years ago. So I do have some personal and family reasons for the move.

But it’s also really hard to pick up and leave town just when I’m getting to know lots of amazing people in the Seattle community, and starting to make some real friends. Let’s face it: this sort of thing takes time. There is something called the Seattle Freeze; this town isn’t always the most welcoming place for a newcomer, let alone a new beat reporter for a new publication. But I’ve learned a few things in my time here. One, the business community respects and rewards hard-working journalists who genuinely seek to understand their subjects and have integrity. Two, this community is truly special. It’s a tight-knit place, with a very strong cluster of talent in software, mobile, biotech, and, increasingly, cleantech. Unlike, say, New York (or even Boston), where people come and go all the time, it’s incredibly important here to build lasting personal relationships.

And I’ve really enjoyed that aspect of my job. I know who our supporters are here, and I will work extra hard to keep my Seattle connections strong. Being a far-flung national network of local sites, we already know something about forming strong relationships face to face, keeping them fresh through phone calls, e-mails, and occasional visits, and cross-pollinating ideas from different cities. (Also, I’m not actually moving until July, so I intend to get in as much happy hour mileage as possible before then.)

I am confident that the best is yet to come from the Seattle innovation community. Although the recession hit hard a few months after I arrived, things have already turned for the better in the Seattle tech scene. Back in June 2008, there was no TechStars here, no Founder’s Co-op, no Founder Institute, no FounderDating, no RevenueLoan, no UW Center for Commercialization—not to mention no Seattle 2.0, no TechFlash, and no Xconomy to report on all those developments (no local TechCrunch representation either). On the big company front, Amazon has gotten noticeably stronger, Microsoft continues to reinvent itself, Google keeps growing here, RealNetworks got a new boss, Facebook has a new Seattle office, and Twitter bought its first Seattle company (Cloudhopper).

So, in the end, this isn’t really farewell. It’s hello to a fresh new perspective for Xconomy Seattle from Thea and Luke, and a new perspective from me on how Seattle fits into the national technology picture. While I will be filing stories from the other side of the country, I certainly won’t forget the people here—especially those who have gone out of their way to help us, both personally and professionally. To all of our readers and supporters, I want to say thank you for an amazing couple of years. Now let’s keep it going.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://lazowska.cs.washington.edu Ed Lazowska

    Greg,

    You and Luke and the rest of the Xconomy crew have made a huge contribution here in Seattle. The combination of in-depth coverage, multi-sector coverage, and multi-city coverage is unique and compelling, and the events are a great way to bring people together. There’s so much we can learn from each other.

    Congratulations on this new milestone — adding the Bay Area to the mix will make it even more exciting. And the staffing “musical chairs” should be a huge plus: Seattle perspective moving to Boston, and Boston perspective moving to SF.

    Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.palatuccisearch.com Chris Palatucci

    ^^
    What he said!

  • http://www.bonanzle.com Bill Harding

    It’s going to be tough to lose one our best and brightest journalists, but our loss is definitely Boston’s (re-) gain. Thanks so much for writing many of the most interesting and honest stories I’ve read over the last two years. Don’t forget about all the little people out here. :)

  • Ken Myer

    Greg,

    You’ve done a great job covering the local tech scene and our loss is Boston’s gain. Your high reporting standards — and quiet thoughtfulness — will be missed.

  • Nikesh Parekh

    Greg,

    Congratulations on your new opportunities. The growth of Xconomy into multiple cities with more people is a true testament to the market need you are attacking – in-depth reporting plus softer contributions building the technology communities in each of your cities.

    Personally, it has been great getting to know you and you will be truly missed. But I know we will continue to see and hear you here in Seattle.

    Niki

  • Rick LeFaivre

    Greg, it’s been great working with you over the past several years. Your in-depth reporting of the local tech scene was greatly appreciated, and as you take on your new responsibilities in Boston, we all hope you’ll find the time to get back out here on occasion. Best of luck!

  • http://www.rhstrategic.com John Raffetto

    Greg – it has been great having you in town. Xconomy is a success story and has become a must-read. Although we will miss having you here, it is also a big win for us to have someone with your intimate knowledge of our community making literal connections in Boston. Looking forward to keeping in touch! John

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ghuang/ Gregory T. Huang

    All,
    Thanks for your very kind words. I look forward to fostering many more connections between the cities, and I won’t be a stranger. Our work in Seattle is really just beginning.

    Greg