I met Keith Grossman, Associate Publisher of WIRED, by initially coming to the defense of his then girlfriend and now wife at the gym. Since then, I’ve enjoyed our sweaty banter about the digital space, culture, women in business and more. We recently struck up a conversation about the evolution of Wired, which led me to ask for a more formal interview that I could share with the MOMentum audience.
So what was the WIRED audience like when you first joined WIRED?
When I first came to WIRED back in 2001, as an intern, it was a much different property. Chris Anderson had only been at the brand for a few months and the brand was still very much in its infancy being 8-years old and was much more niche then it is today. The audience was nearly entirely male, early adopter, successful and young.
What kinds of changes have you seen in your tenure there? What do you attribute it to?
In the past 5 years alone, the core has stayed the same – successful at an earlier point in their lives – however, we have seen the percentage of women who engage with our brand increase significantly. In 2007, WIRED’s demo was roughly 85% male / 15% female; Today, 72% male 28% female. Female readership increasing by 13% in five years as the brand continues to grow is incredible and underscores the dynamic shift that have made in everything from business to technology to design. They come to WIRED because we view all of those topics through one common lens: innovation.
Has the content changed over the years to meet the growing female audience?
Every brand evolves and we are no different. However, we have not changed our core message to attract a new audience. Rather, I believe the growth in our community has come from the world aligning closer to what we discuss than ever before.
WIRED has the magazine, iPad app, and online presence. Do you see differences in content consumption by gender?
No. All we have seen is that our readers are passionate about our content and will devour it in any format they can most easily access it in.
Men hold both the Publisher and Associate Publisher roles…so what percentage of WIRED’s staff is female? Do you have females in leadership roles?
WIRED attracts the most talented people in the industry, male and female. Looking at two positions to inform your question is a little misleading and narrow in scope. However, since you asked, my counterpart, the Associate Publisher, Marketing, is female, but more importantly the most talented and creative person for the role. In addition, four out of the nine senior executives that make up our management team are women. A lot of people have committed themselves to WIRED’s extraordinary success over the past twenty years, a great deal of those have been, are, and will continue to be some of the best, brightest, and innovative women working in the industry.
You started GeekDad and GeekMom. Has that been successful?
Yes! Very successful. GeekDad was started as a passion of Chris Anderson and way for him to be able to do smart, engaging projects with his children. As that took off, the GeekMom community quickly assembled as a way for mom’s to do the same. We love it!
Keith A. Grossman is the Associate Publisher of WIRED and has been with Conde Nast for over a decade. In 2008, he was acknowledged as a MIN Upshot and, in 2010, he was named to MIN’s 15 to Watch Under 30.