Brian Lam

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Brian Lam
Portrait of the writer Brian Lam taken in 2014. Mr Lam is an ethnically Chinese man who is wearing a white long-sleeve shirt and dark blue pants. In this portrait, he is seated, reclining slightly in front of a low wall, on which he is resting both elbows. He is wearing glasses and a thin beard and moustache, and his hair, cut to approximately eyebrow length, is parted on the left. In the background are two potted plants.
photographed by Christopher Michel (2014)
Born (1977-05-23) May 23, 1977 (age 46)[1]
New York City, U.S.
Alma materBoston University
Occupation(s)writer, journalist, reviewer, blogger
Years active2003–2016
Known for

Brian Lam (born May 23, 1977) is an American writer, best known for his work with Gizmodo, a blog focusing on technology; and The Wirecutter, a recommendation website for gadgets.

Early life and education[edit]

Lam's parents are ethnically Chinese; his mother was born and raised in Queens and his father is an immigrant from Hong Kong.[2] Lam was born in New York City but moved to the suburbs of New Jersey after his father, a computer engineer for Hewlett Packard, surprised a burglar who was taking their television.[2] Lam was not fond of his time in New Jersey, noting that his preferences are for "deep urban-ness, or I'm into nature, but I'm not into this gray mushy zone in between, that's kind of what the suburbs were for me."[2]

As a child, Lam recalled his parents "[let me and my brothers] do whatever we wanted to. It's reflected in the professions of all my brothers. One of my brothers is a musician. Another brother is a furniture maker. That has led to us having not a ton of guidance or structure" but his parents applied pressure "[to] be myself and do what I wanted to do. It's a lot of responsibility to listen to what yourself and find out what's right for you, without anyone programming you for that."[2] When he was 11 or 12, he began spending summers with his grandparents in Hong Kong, where he discovered the local gadgets were "a lot smaller, cheaper, and better."[3]: 164  While attending Boston University,[3]: 164  he switched majors frequently, taking courses in Philosophy, English, Journalism, Photojournalism, Computer Science, and Business, ending up in business school, after hearing dire stories about the decline of printed news.[2]

After college, Lam moved to San Francisco to work at a small web-development firm in 2000, but was laid off within two months after the dot-com bubble burst.[2] He then worked at a kickboxing gym he had joined, which was operated by Alex Gong; Lam was present when Gong was shot and killed in 2003 after pursuing a hit-and-run driver that had damaged his car. Lam recalled that he discovered persistence after Gong's death: "I would just work so hard and I got whatever job I wanted eventually, even if I had to apply a few times."[2] This attitude led him to internships at Maximum PC and later Wired.[2][4]


Lam was a contributor and assistant editor for two years at Wired magazine[4][5] before he left to join Gizmodo in 2006 as editor.[6] Gizmodo page views per month increased from 11 million to 42 million in the twelve months following his hiring in July 2006.[3] His apartment in San Francisco served as Gizmodo's headquarters in the city.[5] Lam became editorial director in 2008[7] and left Gizmodo in 2011,[8] by which time Gizmodo was receiving more than 220 million page views per month.[4] During his time at Gizmodo, that site obtained and published a story about the iPhone 4 prototype in 2010. Lam was called personally by Steve Jobs, who asked for the prototype to be returned, but Gizmodo held out until the prototype was officially recognized by Apple as its property. Lam noted the resulting confrontation ultimately led to his disillusionment with and departure from Gizmodo.[9]

Later in 2011, Lam started The Wirecutter, a blog that gave buying recommendations for gadgets.[10] Founding Wirecutter allowed Lam the time to pursue personal interests with The Scuttlefish, a blog he curated with friends, posting stories about the ocean and aquatic pursuits.[11] In 2013, he started The Sweethome, a similar recommendation website for household goods. By 2015, The Wirecutter generated US$150 million in e-commerce sales,[12][13] and the sites had drawn attention for their influential business model: instead of earning money primarily by publishing and updating content frequently to drive site traffic, pageviews, and advertising, they used affiliate links to earn a fraction of the resulting sale.[14] In 2016, The Wirecutter and The Sweethome were acquired by The New York Times Company for more than US$30 million.[15][16][17] At the time of the acquisition, The Wirecutter had a staff of roughly 60 employees. In January 2017, The New York Times announced that David Perpich would assume leadership at The Wirecutter as of March 5.[18]


  1. ^ Lam, Brian (May 23, 2007). "My Birthday Wishes". Gizmodo. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Brian Lam (February 22, 2016). "Brian Lam" (Interview). Interviewed by Helena Price Hambrecht. Techies Project. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Banks, Michael A. (2008). "16 | Brian Lam: Gizmodo". Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley. pp. 163–169. ISBN 978-0470197394. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Brian Lam (May 28, 2010). "One on One: Brian Lam of". Bits (blog) (Interview). Interviewed by Nick Bilton. The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 3, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Adler, Carlye (March 24, 2008). "Gear Blog Rivals Engadget and Gizmodo Turn the Competition Up to 11". Wired. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ Cartwright, Amber (August 15, 2006). "Q&A: The Coolest Bloggers". Time. Archived from the original on August 9, 2013.
  7. ^ Lam, Brian (September 4, 2008). "Notes: Promotions, Evolutions and Unlikely Alliances". Gizmodo. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  8. ^ Lam, Brian (June 22, 2011). "See you later". Gizmodo. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  9. ^ Lam, Brian (October 6, 2011). "Steve Jobs Was a Kind Man: My Regrets About Burning Him". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  10. ^ Carr, David (December 16, 2012). "Buffeted by the Web, but Now Riding It". The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  11. ^ Albrecht, Chris. "Former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam: start over, do what you love". GigaOM [blog]. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  12. ^ Kludt, Tom (October 24, 2016). "New York Times buying The Wirecutter, and a new revenue stream". CNN. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  13. ^ Holiday, Ryan (April 11, 2016). "Meet the Man Who Rejected Advertising and Still Runs a Profitable Media Site". Observer. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  14. ^ Smith, Gerry (April 4, 2016). "Tech site finds ad-free way to thrive". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Bloomberg News. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  15. ^ Lam, Brian (October 24, 2016). "The New York Times Has Acquired The Wirecutter". Wirecutter. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  16. ^ Kafka, Peter (October 24, 2016). "The New York Times is buying The Wirecutter for more than $30 million". Recode. Vox. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  17. ^ "The New York Times Company Acquires The Wirecutter and The Sweethome". The New York Times Company (Press release). New York. Business Wire. October 24, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  18. ^ "The New York Times Company Names David Perpich President and General Manager of The Wirecutter" (Press release). The New York Times Company. January 18, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2022.

External links[edit]