We may have unleashed io9 on the unsuspecting masses on Jan. 2, 2008, but several of us had been working on the blog for about six months before that. Nick Denton, who owns our parent company Gawker Media, had been interested for a while in doing some kind of futurist or scifi site. And in May of 2007 then-managing editor Lockhart Steele had coffee with me in San Francisco to discuss whether I might like to run such a blog.
My feeling was basically "hell yeah," and over the next few months we began prototyping what eventually became the blog you are reading today. It started as a humble test site living at a blogspot address, and eventually migrated over the Gawker servers in fall 2007. By that time, I had hired two full time editors to work with me: Charlie Jane Anders (still our preternaturally good news editrix) and Kevin Kelly. We were blogging our asses off, working out the tone and range of topics for io9, with lots of feedback from Lockhart's successor, the excellent Noah Robischon, as well as Nick.
We all wanted io9 to be more than a fan site. Yes, we would be covering the essential scifi entertainment news, but we wanted to go beyond that into art, culture, fashion, technology, and science. I thought a lot about the magazine Omni, which I read voraciously in the 1970s and 80s. It was run by Kathy Keeton, an ex-stripper who had fallen in love with technology and eventually married Penthouse Magazine magnate Bob Guccione. He helped her launch Omni, which she turned into a slick, futuristic magazine that dealt with cutting-edge science and published cool science fiction stories by people like Harlan Ellison, Joe Haldeman and Howard Waldrop. (It didn't hurt that the brilliant Ellen Datlow was Omni's fiction editor.) When Keeton finally died in the 1990s, taking Omni with her a few years later, it was only after she'd battled her cancer with all kinds of cutting-edge therapies she'd read about in her own magazine. Very hardcore.
By the time io9 launched exactly one year ago, we had almost 1000 posts on the blog. I had even written an io9 manifesto, and invented a story that explained what io9 meant. Artist Eliza Gauger's picture of an io9er graced our masthead (you can see it in purple glory below).
Luckily, our maniacal enthusiasm paid off: We got nearly 7 million hits that January, and we've continued to grow since then. Thanks for our success should go primarily to our (opinionated) audience, filled with future-minded people who come every day to read - and comment, and occasionally post.
But of course io9 wouldn't exist without all the amazing writers who've contributed over the past year. After Kevin left for greener pastures in March, Meredith Woerner came on board from Us Weekly to be our crack entertainment reporter, and Graeme McMillan joined us from Newsarama to be our comics czar and weekend editor. Also this year, Lauren Davis has contributed thoughtful, obsessively-detailed culture coverage; and we've had explosively excellent science writing from Michael Reilly, Nivair Gabriel, and Ed Grabianowski. We've also been lucky enough to have Stephanie Fox as our resident infographic master, and occasional columns from Lynn Peril (who will be back soon to write about the new season of Lost!), Joshua Glenn, Geoff Manaugh, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, Lisa Katayama, and Terry Johnson. And Austin Grossman has always put in admirable guest appearances.
Thanks for making io9 into your brain implant of choice. We promise that the 2009 upgrade will fill your mind with more feverish dreams of tomorrow and astonishing tales of today.