He’s been the top editor at the publication since 2001, and authored the article and book The Long Tail, which helped propel him to the forefront of technology industry thought leadership. (Though Wired’s top gig didn’t hurt, either.)
“This is an opportunity for me to pursue an entrepreneurial dream,” he said in a statement to staff. “I’m confident that Wired’s mission to influence and chronicle the digital revolution is stronger than ever and will continue to expand and evolve.”
Anderson has always been a big proponent of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones” for short), so the move to become CEO of a company that makes them is hardly a surprise.
To give a sense of the scale of the personal drone movement, DIY Drones—an online community that I founded in 2007 (more on that later)—has 26,000 members, who fly drones that they either assemble themselves or buy premade from dozens of companies that serve the amateur market. All told, there are probably around 1,000 new personal drones that take to the sky every month (3D Robotics, a company I cofounded, is shipping more than 100 ArduPilot Megas a week); that figure rivals the drone sales of the world’s top aerospace companies (in units, of course, not dollars). And the personal drone industry is growing much faster.
Why? The reason is the same as with every other digital technology: a Moore’s-law-style pace where performance regularly doubles while size and price plummet. In fact, the Moore’s law of drone technology is currently accelerating, thanks to the smartphone industry, which relies on the same components—sensors, optics, batteries, and embedded processors—all of them growing smaller and faster each year. Just as the 1970s saw the birth and rise of the personal computer, this decade will see the ascendance of the personal drone. We’re entering the Drone Age.
Anderson’s always been credited with seeing around corners. Perhaps he’s doing it yet again.
BuzzFeed’s Matt Buchanan puts it slightly less diplomatically:
It’s perhaps the end of an era at Wired, which had shifted its coverage further and further from its techno-counter-cultural roots toward a more TED-friendly, utopic technocapitalist bent with Anderson at the helm. (Wired covers this year so far almost exclusively feature white male entrepreneurs and robots. It seems fitting that Anderson is joining their ranks, as an actual white male robot entrepreneur.)