Wired Digital Cuts Staff, Shuffles Management
Wired magazine is one of the oddest of technology's many odd commodities. The self-consciously ultra-hip journal has positioned itself since its inception as the clarion of the new age of paperless publishing. Its parent organization, Wired Ventures, Inc., has long put its money where its mouth is by supporting Wired Digital, Wired's online equivalent.
But in its four-year existence, Wired Digital has never turned a profit: leading by example, heralding the new millennium with missionary zeal, proselytizing about the riches to be found there---and clueless as to how to mine them. The webzine admitted as much February 4, with the announcement that founder Andrew Anker has stepped down as CEO. Beth Vanderslice, a 34-year-old Harvard MBA, is taking his place.
Vanderslice promises that profitability this year is within reach. "We can see it, we can taste it," she told the San Francisco Examiner. She is convinced that the growing popularity of the Internet and assorted Wired online services, such as Wired News, will bring in the necessary advertising revenue to put Wired Digital in the black.
Toward that end, last November the online publication dismissed 33 of its 148 employees---a very serious belt-tightening for a small operation. Anker's departure and Vanderslice's ascension were accompanied by a major reshuffling of upper management, in which a half dozen vice-presidents were promoted to presidents and directors of their various departments. No mention was made as to the fate of their predecessors.Wired, the print magazine, remains the only winner in Wired Ventures' stable, reportedly bringing in 97% of the company's revenue.