He is the one who usually asks questions and writes stories. But today he sits on the other side: Steve Wiens is the managing editor of Microsoft Story Labs. Since April 2013, he and his co-member Thomas Kohnstamm have built up one of the best brand storytelling websites, in our view. The interactive and visually unique articles, podcasts, cartoons and even physical books are less about the Microsoft products, but rather addressing the vision and motivation of the people behind it.
Whether books, rap music or the future of digital storytelling, with Steve you feel immediately comfortable and could spend hours philosophizing. This also explains why he is so successful in tickling all these wonderful stories out of his colleagues. But before he became Managing Editor at one of the biggest technology companies, he went through his little personal journey to get where he now stands. A look into the world of Steve Wiens reveals why he was the right man to start the new era of digital brand storytelling at Microsoft.
The Roots: A passion for journalism from the cradle
People walking around hectically, phones rattling loudly and clattering keyboards: Steve Wiens grew up between the journalistic ongoing at the news desk his father worked for and the big, heavy press machine. He stems from a family of journalists. His parents have been writers, just as his grandparents were. Steve always wanted to follow this family tradition. “I just loved the atmosphere of how journalists were chasing the next story, diving into the worlds of all these different people to tell their stories. For me it was just the coolest way to earn a living,” Steve explains with a rousing laugh.
The Family Newspaper
After his family moved from the suburbs near Los Angeles, the passionate runner grew up in the northwest of the United States. Like many other children at his age, Steve could never sit still. Together with his brother, he roamed around the neighbourhood, constantly searching for new adventures. To this day, he is still drawn to go out into the woods. Running is now a part of his life. The Microsoft campus is located directly at a dense wooded area in Seattle, Washington, surrounded by large old pines and many hiking trails. “Every time my body is focused on walking or running, my head has the space to think about problems and ideas. This is my meditation.” He also retains this routine during his hectic life as an editor of Microsoft Story Labs. Between meetings and appointments he takes his running shoes and dives into nature.