The magazine was founded by American journalist Louis Rossetto and his partner Jane Metcalfe in 1993 with initial backing from industry pundit Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab, who was a regular columnist for six years, through 1998. Wired was a great success at its launch and was compared to Rolling Stone for its innovation and cultural impact. The magazine was quickly followed by a companion website, Hotwired, a book publishing division, Hardwired, and a short-lived British edition, Wired UK. In June 1998, the magazine even launched its own stock index, The Wired Index, since July 2003 called The Wired 40.
In May 1998, the founders' company, Wired Ventures, sold Wired to Advance Magazine Publishers, to be published by Advance's subsidiary, New York-based publisher Condé-Nast (while still making the magazine in SF). The fortune of the magazine and allied enterprises corresponded closely to that of the dot-com boom. In late 1999 and 2000, Rossetto and the other participants in Wired Ventures twice tried to take the company public with an IPO, but had to withdraw owing to a lack of interest within the investment community. Rossetto was eventually forced out in 2000. Since the crash of the dot-com boom, Wired lost a lot of its impact and has ceased to be as influential.
Over the years, Wired's writers have included, among many others, Pamela Borsook, Po Bronson, Chip Bayers, Denise Caruso, Douglas Coupland, Simson Garfinkel, George Gilder, Bill Joy, Mitch Kapor, Lawrence Lessig, Pamela McCorduck, Randall Rothenberg, Phil Patton Schrage, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, and Gary Wolf.