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Chris Anderson (writer)

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Chris Anderson
Anderson in 2020
Born (1961-07-09) July 9, 1961 (age 63)
Alma materGeorge Washington University
Occupation(s)CEO of 3D Robotics, author, entrepreneur

Chris Anderson (born July 9, 1961)[2] is an English-American author and entrepreneur. He was with The Economist for seven years before joining Wired magazine in 2001, where he was the editor-in-chief until 2012. He is known for his 2004 article entitled "The Long Tail", which he later expanded into the 2006 book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More.[3] He is the cofounder and current CEO of 3D Robotics, a drone manufacturing company.[4]

Life and work[edit]

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born in London. His family moved to the United States when he was five.[1] He enrolled in a degree program in physics at George Washington University and went on to study quantum mechanics and science journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.[5] He later did research at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


He began his career with a six-year period as editor at the two scientific journals, Nature and Science. He then joined The Economist in 1994, where he remained for seven years, during which time he was stationed in London, Hong Kong and New York City in various positions, ranging from Technology Editor to US Business Editor. He took over as editor of Wired in 2001.

Chris Anderson speaking in Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley.

His 2004 article "The Long Tail" in Wired was expanded into a book in 2006, titled, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More.[3][6] It appeared on The New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers list. The book argues that products in low demand or that have a low sales volume can collectively build a better market share than its rivals, or exceed the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, provided the store or distribution channel is large enough. The book earned Anderson the 2007 Gerald Loeb Award for Business Book.[7]

His next book, entitled Free: The Future of a Radical Price (2009) examines the advantages of a strategy where products and services are initially given to customers for free, and how businesses can profit more in the long run.[8][9][10] Anderson was accused of plagiarizing content from English Wikipedia for his book.[11] Anderson responded that he had disagreements with the criticism, and reasoned that the mention of citations were avoided due to the changing nature of content in English Wikipedia. However, the whole episode led him to integrate footnotes into the text,[12] and the digital editions of Free were corrected with the revision. Free debuted as #12 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[13] It was also available as a free download for a limited time, and an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 digital copies were downloaded in the first two weeks.[13] The unabridged audiobook remains free.[14]

Anderson's third book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (2012), was based on his 2010 article, "Atoms Are the New Bits".[15] The book describes how entrepreneurs are using open source design, and 3D printing as a platform for driving resurgence of American manufacturing.[16] The ideas he portrayed; such as crowdsourcing of ideas, utilization of available lower-cost design and manufacturing tools, and reviewing options to outsource capital-intensive manufacturing were highlighted in the February 2012 Harvard Business Review article, "From Do It Yourself to Do It Together".[17]

Anderson was featured and interviewed on The Amp Hour radio show in episode #105 – "An Interview with Chris Anderson – Deambulatory Daedal Drones", where he discusses his career, books, and the hardware and drone industry.[18]

Around 2017, Chris started DIYRobocars, a community that builds and races scaled-down autonomous cars utilizing computer vision and deep learning.[19]

In 2021 Chris Anderson made an appearance on the Gradient Dissent podcast to talk about his initiatives and ventures, including 3D Robotics and DIYRobocars.com. He spoke about his career journey coming from being a physicist and playing music in a band called R.E.M. to leading Wired magazine, getting into drones, robocars, and The Long Tail.[19]


In 2007, Anderson founded GeekDad, a do-it-yourself blog that later became part of Wired.com. He was the editor until the role was handed over to Ken Denmead, and he now serves as editor emeritus of GeekDad.[20] The same year, Anderson founded Booktour.com, a free online service that connected authors on tour with audiences. In September 2011, Booktour.com folded.[21]

In October 2007, Anderson, who has been described as an "aerial-reconnaissance enthusiast", flew a remote-controlled aircraft allegedly equipped with a camera over Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, causing security concerns when the aircraft crashed into a tree.[22] The enthusiasm turned inspiration for co-founding 3D Robotics, a 2009 robotics manufacturing spin-off of the DIYdrones.com.[23] 3D Robotics produces the Ardupilot series of autopilots, which are based on the Arduino platform.

In May 2007, Anderson was featured as one of the top 100 thinkers in Time magazine's annual list for 2007.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson currently lives in Orinda, California, with his wife and five children.[25] He met his wife while working at the scientific journal, Nature. He has dual U.S.-U.K. citizenship.[1]


  • Anderson, Chris (2006). The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4013-0966-4.
  • Anderson, Chris (2009). Free: The Future of a Radical Price. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4013-2290-8.
  • Anderson, Chris (2012). Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. New York: Crown Business. ISBN 978-0-3077-2095-5.


  1. ^ a b c d "Five things about me that may or may not be relevant". August 4, 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  2. ^ "Anderson, Chris". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 8–11. ISBN 9780824211134.
  3. ^ a b Anderson, Chris. (2006). The Long Tail: Why the future of business is selling less of more (New York: Hyperion Books)
  4. ^ McNabb, Miriam. "diydrones". diydrones.com.
  5. ^ "Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wired". Archived from the original on August 21, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Anderson, Chris (October 2004)."The Long Tail".Wired.com
  7. ^ "2007 Gerald Loeb Award Winners Announced by UCLA Anderson School of Management". Business Wire. June 25, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  8. ^ Anderson, Chris. (2009). Free: How today’s smartest businesses profit by giving something for nothing (London: Random House)
  9. ^ "My Next Book: "FREE"". The Long Tail. May 20, 2007. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  10. ^ Anderson, Chris. "About Me". Thelongtail.com. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  11. ^ Jaquith, Waldo (June 23, 2009). "Chris Anderson's Free Contains Apparent Plagiarism". The Virginia Quarterly Review. Archived from the original on July 7, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Anderson, Chris (July 24, 2009). "Corrections in the digital editions of Free". The Long Tail. Archived from the original on July 6, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Anderson, Chris. "A New York Times Bestseller!". The Long Tail. Archived from the original on September 7, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  14. ^ "FREE for free: first ebook and audiobook versions released". The Long Tail. July 6, 2009. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  15. ^ Anderson, Chris (January 2010)."In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits".Wired.com
  16. ^ Anderson, Chris (2012). Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. New York: Crown Business)
  17. ^ Hagel III, John; Seely Brown, John; Davison, Lang (February 18, 2010)."From Do It Yourself to Do It Together". Harvard Business Review
  18. ^ "The Amp Hour #105 – An Interview with Chris Anderson – Deambulatory Daedal Drones". The Amp Hour. July 23, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Chris Anderson on Robocars, Drones and Wired Magazine". wandb.ai. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  20. ^ Venables, Michael. "GeekDad". Wired.com.
  21. ^ "BookTour.com is closing up shop". Los Angeles Times. August 17, 2011. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
  22. ^ "Lab focuses on security after breach, Chief of Wired magazine triggers minor security concerns after remote-controlled plane flies over Berkeley site". Contra Costa Times. October 13, 2007.
  23. ^ DIYdrones.com online community
  24. ^ Profile from The Time 100.
  25. ^ Gustin, Sam (October 1, 2012). "How the 'Maker' Movement Plans to Transform the U.S. Economy". Time.

External links[edit]