Chris Anderson has plenty of distractions from editing Wired, including a lucrative sideline on the global lecture circuit and a tour to promote his new book. Anderson's prior commitments even removed him from the office on Wired's layoff day. (Updated)
Last Monday, Wired laid off at least six staff, including longtime editor Ted Greenwald, New York editor Mark Horowitz and, we heard, West Coast ad director Moira McDonald, whose tenure dated to the days when founders Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe owned the magazine more than ten years ago.
Where was Anderson that day? Delivering a no doubt gainful lecture for Hewlett Packard in Silicon Valley. A spokesperson tells us Anderson was in the office "all morning," when the firings occurred, before heading off to HP. But Anderson's absence for so much of such a sensitive day at Wired is great ammunition for his critics at Condé Nast, who have long said Anderson's too distracted by his approximately 50 annual lecture gigs, some in far-flung locales like Norway.
It's one thing for Anderson to delegate editorial tasks to lieutenants like executive editor Thomas Goetz or his predecessor Bob Cohn, who jumped to The Atlantic, in plusher times. But with advertising down 50 percent through May, Anderson should — arguably! — be a fixture on the front lines at Wired. Instead he's tweeting his two-week book tour schedule, which reads as follows: "SF, Munich, Naples, Capri, NYC, Toronto, Chicago, Copenhagen, Billund, Manchester, Orlando. Sigh..."
"Sigh" indeed, Chris. But at least all that time away from home and office will help bolster your independent revenue stream. Bet your ex editors wish they had created one of those! When they weren't picking up the slack for absent co-workers, that is.
UPDATE: Anderson tweets he left the office on firing day because he was on a "sales call" for Wired at HP. More sales calls are a good thing — on different days. (We had told a Wired spokesperson we'd heard Anderson was at a "speaking gig" that day and were told, "he was in the office all morning until then.")