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MacStories Interviews: Brian X. Chen

[MacStories Interviews is a new series of email interviews with with well-known developers, bloggers, journalists, geeks. We hope you’ll like it.]

Please welcome Brian Chen, writer at Wired and author of the upcoming book Always On. Brian was one of the first people to accept my invitation for MacStories Interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @bxchen. The interview was conducted on October 13th.

Tell me a little about yourself: who are you, what do you do, etc…?

I was a test-tube baby, created from stem cells scraped off Gizmodo director Brian Lam’s upper lip and Jason Chen’s right ear lobe. They refuse to acknowledge me, so I compete with them over at Wired, where I cover cutting-edge gadgets in hopes that one day Brian and Jason will accept me as their legitimate love child. (Weep.)

Some more background: I grew up in the bay area in a suburban town called Milpitas, home to the well known Great Mall, which has an Old Navy, a Burlington Coat Factory, a Dave and Buster’s, a Hot Dog on a Stick and pretty much every chain you could ever imagine. I hope to never set foot in there again.

I eventually went to school at UC Davis, where I studied English and film studies. Frankly I never really liked school — the classroom setting never really did it for me; it felt stifling. So I kept myself busy with extracurricular activities and work. I tried a gig at a student-run TV station for a while, where I was technical director (supervisor of video editors) and decided it was too time-consuming (life is too short to wait for Final Cut to render) and not much fun. So then I joined the student newspaper, The California Aggie, as a news reporter, and that’s where I really kicked ass. I got a nice high writing breaking news stories about crimes, deaths, student-government scandals, the whole she-bang. I became news editor by my senior year and directed 13 awesome news reporters. (I miss my team dearly.)

Eventually after graduating I ended up at Macworld as a a lab tester, where I benchmarked all the new Macs and wrote product reviews. And then when Wired was hiring an Apple reporter, I applied, got the job, and here I am today. Read more