The Year in Innovation: Xconomy’s Top 13 Stories of 2013

Xconomy National — 

If you only have time to read a few of our articles from the past year, these are the ones.

These are editor’s picks (mine). They are not based on Web traffic, but rather on a subjective weighting of their impact, significance, and representation of our mission and geographies. Xconomy is now in 9 regions around the U.S. and counting (see map).

Each piece represents a local story with global impact, or starts with a national perspective and goes from there. Each piece is something you couldn’t read about anywhere else.

So, while Twitter and Bitcoin and NSA leaks were big stories of the year, the following selections tell the fuller story of tech and life sciences innovation from the front lines.

Without further ado:

1. Vista Equity Laying Groundwork to Move Three San Diego Companies

A news scoop that touched two states (California and Texas), three companies, 1,000-plus employees, and the raw nerve of a city. Bruce Bigelow investigates.

2a. Which Regions Are Churning Out the Most Biotech IPOs?

2b. The Biotech IPO Phenomenon of 2013: Enjoy It While It Lasts

Tracking one of the biggest trends of the year: IPOs by life sciences companies. Luke Timmerman sorts out what it all means in this pair of related columns.

3. Please, Keep Paying $80 a Month for Cable So I Can Enjoy Cheap TV

The headline says it all. Wade Roush’s commentary on the sad state of your cable bill (and how you might get around it).

4. Seattle Serial Entrepreneurs: Advice They Wish They’d Heard Earlier

The city that grew Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, and Starbucks holds some lessons for entrepreneurship. Ben Romano digs these out from some of Seattle’s most successful startup folks.

5. David Schenkein, Cancer Doc Turned CEO, Aims to Build New Genentech

Life story of a Boston biotech CEO. It’s not what you’d expect, and Ben Fidler draws you into the story with a human touch.

6. Houston Startup Hopes to Create Tech Cluster, Rebuild Neighborhood

If you want a snapshot of Houston’s tech startup ecosystem (it’s not just Austin in Texas, really), check out this piece by Angela Shah.

7. Apple’s Boston-Area Team: Working on Speech in Nuance’s Backyard

A classic scoop by Curt Woodward about what Apple is working on in Boston. Hint: every big tech company is trying to develop a personalized mobile assistant using speech as an interface.

8. Don’t Call Me “Girl,” Sir: Women, Tech, and a Chat with Olivia Munn

A major theme in New York City has been the emergence (and increased awareness) of female leaders in tech companies. J.P. Ruth tells the story with a celebrity twist.

9. Don’t Panic, But We’ve Passed Peak Apple. And Google. And Facebook.

Analysis piece about the inexorable pace of innovation—and how long Apple and other tech giants can stay ahead of the pack. (Wade Roush strikes again.)

10. Top 20 Under-the-Radar Trends in Innovation

We reached out to our network of Xconomists around the country, asking them about the most important innovation trend that nobody’s talking about (yet). Here are the results.

11. Dropcam CEO’s Beef with Brogramming, Late Nights, and Free Dinners

A critical look at the startup culture in Silicon Valley (and elsewhere). Hey, we had to get “brogramming” into the highlights somewhere.

12. Revitalization or Ruin: What Does Detroit’s Future Look Like?

Detroit is a model for American cities. Does it have a unified innovation future, or different futures based on wealth disparities? Sarah Schmid takes a deeply personal look at her hometown.

13. Scaling the Peak: Denver Out to Follow Boulder’s Entrepreneurial Ascent

Denver and Boulder have interesting histories when it comes to business and technology innovation. Michael Davidson takes us on a tour of the entrepreneurial ecosystems of these connected but separate cities.

Honorable mention: It pains me to leave these five off the main list (and I’m sure I’m forgetting others), but we don’t have all day. Each of the following had impact in its own way:

The $100M Club: Where the Major League Life Sciences Companies Are

A Band of Postdocs Pursues a New York Biotech Dream in Harlem

Amazon’s Grocery Expansion: A Match Made in Sales-Tax Heaven

With Big Bucks Chasing Big Data, Will Consumers Get a Cut?

California To Hit Startup Founders with Big Retroactive Tax Bills