“Tell us something we’ve never heard before, in a way we’ve never seen before. If it challenges our assumptions, so much the better.”
Twenty-six years ago, the editors of WIRED sat in their madcap new offices in San Francisco and whipped up a manifesto. The digital revolution was tearing through the world, and someone needed to explain what the hell was going on in the land west of California called the future. And the way the story would be told needed to be as new as the story being told. “Tell us something we’ve never heard before, in a way we’ve never seen before,” wrote Louis Rossetto, one of the founders. “If it challenges our assumptions, so much the better.”
For more than a quarter century, WIRED has tried to fulfill this mission. We’ve published brilliant journalism about the future prosperity of the world, and about the possibility of its total obliteration. We’ve gotten things right, half-right, and totally wrong. We’ve exuberantly celebrated the people building the future, and then raised our eyebrows when they’ve started to misbehave. We predicted the death of media, and then worked as hard as possible to help build a business model to sustain it. We’ve spotted things so early we’ve named them, and sometimes we’ve inhaled the second-hand smoke of Silicon Valley a little too deeply. Along the way, we’ve always tried to stay on the edge, covering the technology that might become real and the people who might make it so. We’ve challenged assumptions, and, when we’ve done our jobs right, we change them too.
As WIRED has grown up, it has traveled far from its hometown. We have editions based in London, in Tokyo, and in Milan. And now, today, we’re starting a new one: WIRED Middle East, based in Dubai and reporting on the Middle East at large. Why would we go there? Well, for the same reasons that we started in San Francisco back in 1993: because that’s where the future is happening. There are a couple of old pictures of Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, taken around the time WIRED started, that keep circulating online: Faded images of a narrow blacktop flanked by one or two buildings and otherwise surrounded by desert. Today Dubai has the fourth largest number of skyscrapers in the world. Back in 1993, Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island was home to a few fishermen. Now it has a Louvre.
And from our new base in Dubai, we’ll be reporting on the whole region: from Saudi Arabia and the GCC to North Africa. We’ll look at startups, investments, not-investments, cultural transformation, and the story of countries leapfrogging ahead. How will this new WIRED Middle East see the world? The same way that WIRED has always seen the world: transfixed by the digital transformation remaking our societies and the technologies remaking what it means to be human. We’ll write about new businesses starting in this world, and old businesses getting torn apart. We’ll write about the digital-forward netizens of the Middle East and we’ll send up the biggest, brightest signal flares we can about what the future holds. We’re going to try to tell you things you’ve never heard before in ways you’ve never seen before. Just this time from the Arabian Gulf, not San Francisco Bay.
As always, we’re going to get things right, and we’ll miss things, too. No matter what, we plan to enjoy the adventure — and we hope you’ll come along with us, too.