Screw Sunday Yak Shows: Watch Wired Co-Founder Louis Rossetto Talk About Digital Revolution!


Back in 1993, Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe founded Wired, the magazine (and, eventually, website, publishing house, search engine, you name it) that chronicled the digital revolution even as it helped make it reality.

A Reason reader since our first issues, Rossetto has long been propounding the virtues of "Free Minds and Free Markets" in words and action (he and Metcalfe run TCHO, a chocolate company that is awesome in exactly all the ways you'd expect from the co-founders of Wired; think Willy Wonka Meets Stewart Brand). We recently sat down with Rossetto to talk about what's happened to cyberspace in the two decades since Wired first hit the shelves and blew our minds more than any drug we've yet encountered.

This interview originally aired at Reaon TV on November 22. Here's the original writeup:

"We came out and said there was a digital revolution happening and it was going to change everything," says Louis Rossetto, who co-founded Wired magazine 20 years ago in 1993. "And [that] it wasn't the priests, the pundits, the politicians, and the generals who were creating positive change."

Rossetto was no stranger to bold predictions. In 1971, he co-authored a cover story in the New York Times Magazine announcing that libertarianism was the next great transformative ideology and that young people were rejecting the played-out politics of the right and the left. After editing a publication called Electric Word in the late 1980s, he and Jane Metcalfe launched Wired, the publication that not revolutionized magazine design but chronicled, critiqued, and in many ways created the Internet Age. The concept was to cover the real change makers, far from the halls of power in Washington or established business capitals such as New York, who were ushering in a new digital era that would transform society. "That meta-story," says Rossetto, "was absolutely spot on."

A critical and commercial hit, Conde Nast purchased the magazine in 1997 and Metcalfe and Rossetto raised a family, did angel investing, and ultimately started the award-winning chocolate company TCHO.

Metcalfe and Rossetto were the recipients of the inaugural Lanny Friedlander Lifetime Achievement Prize at the Reason Media Awards, which were held in New York City on November 6, 2013. The prize is named for the founder of Reason magazine (whom Rossetto knew personally) and honors people who have created a distribution platform that expands human freedom by increasing our ability to express ourselves, engage in debate, and generate new ways of understanding the power of "Free Minds and Free Markets."

Rossetto sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to talk about the origins of Wired, the promise of the digital revolution, and why "in its death throes, the megastate is going to make a lot of mess."

About 15 minutes.

Shot and edited by Jim Epstein, with help from Anthony Fisher.

Go here for more links, downloadable versions, and other videos.

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    A Yak.

  • Generic Stranger||

    A yäk once bit my sister...

  • JidaKida||

    Sometimes man, you jsut gotta hit and run!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Wired sure likes its Journ-O-list employees. They love them some Team Blue. I don't get all the hero worship over a techie version of a much milder Slate.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Watch the video. The guy who started Wired is definitely no Team Blue enthusiast. He started the magazine in 1993 and sold it (like a good capitalist) four years later to Conde Nast.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Ohio legislature lets down Obama's Son one last time: Passes stand your ground law

    This bill also allows out of staters to get an Ohio cwp. I may get one as I am very close to Ohio.

  • Newsfeed Monster||

    I think he may be unduly optimistic about the dissolution of the state. Yes, churches have faded into the background, but that's because the masses have replaced god with government. Now we need people to replace government with themselves. Is the internet enough to make that happen? The first 20 years sure haven't changed much but maybe a paradigm shift of this nature takes generations.


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