Richard MacManus is the founder and co-editor of ReadWriteWeb, which he founded in April 2003. Today ReadWriteWeb has millions of readers and is syndicated by the New York Times. Through his blog, Richard has become well known for forecasting technology trends and how they will be adopted or used throughout the world. Richard was born, raised, and continues to live in New Zealand. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
SM: Let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where do you come from?
RM: I come from Wellington, New Zealand. I was actually born on the South Island, but we moved to Wellington when I was 11.
SM: What kind of family did you grow up in?
RM: My family is middle class and very Catholic. My father was a journalist and worked for a small-town newspaper. He was also a production editor of a magazine for many years. He is retired now. I get my editorial skills from him.
SM: Is that something you explored as a child?
RM: Not really, but I was always interested in writing. I did a bachelor of arts in English literature. I graduated in 1993 from Wellington. When I graduated I was not sure what to do with my degree. I was not specifically thinking about journalism. In the late 1990s the Web started to ramp up in New Zealand.
SM: What was your first job out of college?
RM: It was a mundane job working as a clerk for the government.
SM: When did you actually jump into the Web?
RM: I started doing some web work in the late 1990s. I was doing what is known as knowledge management for a consultancy. That was the first online writing that I did. I started work for Ericsson in January 2000, first as a webmaster, then more of a Web manager. Then in about 2002 I did Web management for another New Zealand company. It is very different for people in America in terms of how they do startups. It is a smaller world in New Zealand. I do feel like it was a strange beginning.
SM: How long did you work in this webmaster role? What was your evolution of thinking that led to ReadWriteWeb?
RM: I started experimenting with blogging in 2002. I was reading people like Dave Winer and all the early blogging people. I was interested in blogging, RSS, and wikis. I have always been a big fan of Tim Berners-Lee and his theories of the Web. His first browser was a read/write browser. That was interesting to me. When I first started blogging in 2002 I was just exploring technology.
SM: Did you start blogging ReadWriteWeb in 2002?
RM: There was a precursor to that. When I started I was just doing link blogging; I was not actually writing anything yet. I did not start ReadWriteWeb until April 2003, which is when I started writing about technology.