I've been a huge fan of WIRED since the magazine launched in Feb 1993, and they've been doing a retrospective in the magazine all this year. I was attending my first TED conference in 1993, and somehow got on an email list telling us it was about to launch. When it hit newsstands I bought a bunch of copies and handed them out to like-minded folks I knew and worked with. I've still got the original issue, along with every other issue since, and it's still the only magazine I read cover to cover within days of arrival.
It was a different time back then – before the commercial Internet; when a Powerbook 180 with 33Mhz processor was about the best laptop you could get. Here's a great overview of the first issue you might want to check out. Memorable articles range from the scary where Bill Joy says the Future Doesn't Need Us, to the funny and foreshadowing Josh Quittner calling McDonald's PR and telling them he registered mcdonalds.com. He finished the article asking readers to email him at email@example.com to suggest what he should do – I wish I would have gone out and registered a thousand great domains after reading it in October 1996.
But what I really loved about WIRED in those early days were the covers – the stories and images that grabbed you and captured the big ideas of the moment. So here is my list of the Top Ten WIRED Covers from the first 10 or so years.
WIRED 3.01 – January 1995. WIRED meets The Beatles' White Album
WIRED 3.04 – April 1995. Frank Biondi and
Sumner Redstone as Beavis and Butthead.
WIRED 3.09 September 1995 Arnold
Schwarzenegger and OJ Simpson morphed together
WIRED 4.06 June 1996 Photoshopped Bill
Gates goes to Hollywood
WIRED 5.03 March 1997 – Infamous
"Push" cover – way too early, but they were right when you consider
WIRED 5.06 June 1997 – My how times have
changed for Apple's fortunes
WIRED 7.12 December 1999 -
Fattest WIRED ever with 434 pages at the height of the first bubble
WIRED 11.02 February 2003
- The Fall of the Music Industry, interesting that the music industry has shrunk by 10-15% per year since then, and only last week the RIAA decided to stop suing its customers
WIRED 12.03 March 2004 -
relatively early Googlemania
WIRED 12.11 November 2004 Free CD included with Creative Commons license to rip, mix and burn Beastie
Boys, David Byrne, Spoon, Danger Mouse and more.