Anne Wojcicki

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pages: 588 words: 131,025

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol

23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize

Rabin, “In Israel, a Push to Screen for Cancer Gene Leaves Many Conflicted,” New York Times, November 27, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/health/in-israel-a-push-to-screen-for-cancer-gene-leaves-many-conflicted.html. 33. E. Murphy, “Inside 23andMe Founder Anne Wojcicki’s $99 DNA Revolution,” Fast Company, October 14, 2013: http://www.fastcompany.com/3018598/for-99-this-ceo-can-tell-you-what-might-kill-you-inside-23andme-founder-anne-wojcickis-dna-r. 34. FDA, “Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations: Warning Letter to Ann Wojcicki,” November 22, 2013, http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2013/ucm376296.htm. 35. A. Pollack, “FDA Orders Genetic Testing Firm to Stop Selling DNA Analysis Service,” New York Times, November 26, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/business/fda-demands-a-halt-to-a-dna-test-kits-marketing.html. 36.

Epstein, “The FDA Strikes Again: Its Ban on Home Testing Kits Is, as Usual, Likely to Do More Harm Than Good,” Point of Law, November 27, 2013: http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2013/11/t.php. 82. A. Wolfe, “Anne Wojcicki’s Quest for Better Health Care,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/articles/anne-wojcickis-quest-for-better-health-care-1403892088. 83. C. Bloss, N. Schork, and E. Topol, “Effect of Direct-to-Consumer Genomewide Profiling to Assess Disease Risk,” New England Journal of Medicine 364, no. 6 (2011): 524–534. 84. R. C. Green and N. A. Farahany, “The FDA Is Overcautious on Consumer Genomics,” Nature 505 (2014): 2. 85. R. Leuty, “23andMe’s Andy Page Gets Disruptive with the Masses,” San Francisco Business Times, October 22, 2013, http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/biotech/2013/10/23andme-andy-page-anne-wojcicki.html?page=all. 86. N. Fliesler, “Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: A Case of Potential Harm,” Boston Children’s Hospital science and clinical innovation blog, May 5, 2014, http://vectorblog.org/2014/05/direct-to-consumer-genetic-testing-a-case-of-potential-harm/. 87.

And the public’s heightened awareness of genomics, in particular, represents a key step in the democratization of DNA, just one vital component of our digital identity. There are other complementary forces that are, in parallel, pushing DNA democratization forward—consumer genomics and a landmark decision at the United States Supreme Court. We’ll now zoom in on each of these. The Angelina Effect and Consumer Genomics On the same morning as Jolie’s op-ed, the CEO and cofounder of the consumer genomics company, Anne Wojcicki, had e-mails, texts, and calls pouring into her office. She said, “Angelina Jolie talking about a technical subject and saying, ‘I did this, you can do this’ is a great thing for us. She did something to prevent disease, and that’s exactly what we want people thinking about.”33 We’re going to drill down on 23andMe, whose mission is to democratize genetic information. This was the first direct-to-consumer genomics company; it was founded in 2006 and launched in November 2007 with a $999 saliva test that gave information on gene variants for risk of fourteen medical conditions.


pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game

Sergey is still very emotional about autocratic governments and anti-Semitism. But even though he was raised as a Jew and attended Hebrew school for a few years, he was nonpracticing, did not have a bar mitzvah, and was put off by traditional Jewish celebrations, which he once told an Israeli reporter he “associated with getting lots of gifts and money, and I was never comfortable with that.” When he was married on an island in the Bahamas in May of 2007 to Anne Wojcicki, cofounder of 23andMe, a genetics research company, the couple stood in bathing suits under a chuppah, the traditional Jewish wedding canopy, but no rabbi officiated. Then, as now, he was uncomfortable with introspection. Asked by the same Israeli reporter if it was a coincidence that his wife was Jewish, he said, “I believe there are lots of nice non-Jewish girls out there. My wife is, I guess, half Jewish.”

He ruthlessly guards his time, and can treat those who ask him to make a speech or meet reporters as if they were thieves trying to steal his time. A longtime Google employee describes Page this way: “Larry is like a wall. He analyzes everything. He asks, ‘Is this the most efficient way to do this?’ You’re always on trial with Larry. He always pushes you.” While Brin is more approachable than Page, he, too, can be awkward around strangers. His wife Anne Wojcicki’s company, 23andMe, was feted at a fashionable cocktail party in September 2008 that was cohosted by Diane von Furstenberg and her husband, Barry Diller, Wendi and Rupert Murdoch, and Georgina Chapman and her husband, Harvey Weinstein. The event was held at Diller’s Frank Gehry-designed IAC headquarters in Manhattan. Brin appeared wearing a dark crewneck sweater and gray Crocs. He and Google are investors in her company and he is openly proud of her work.

Measured by growth, it was Google’s best year, with revenues soaring 60 percent to $16.6 billion, with international revenues contributing nearly half the total, and with profits climbing to $4.2 billion. Google ended the year with 16,805 full-time employees, offices in twenty countries, and the search engine available in 117 languages. And the year had been a personally happy one for Page and Brin. Page married Lucy Southworth, a former model who earned her Ph.D. in bioinformatics in January 2009 from Stanford; they married seven months after Brin wed Anne Wojcicki. But Sheryl Sandberg was worried. She had held a ranking job in the Clinton administration before, joining Google in 2001, where she supervised all online sales for AdWords and AdSense, and was regularly hailed by Fortune magazine as one of the fifty most powerful female executives in America. Sandberg came to believe Google’s vice was the flip side of its virtue. “We’re an engineering company in that products come first,” she said.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

Bert Vogelstein and Luis Diaz are concerned: Bert Vogelstein, interview with Teal Pennebaker, December 9, 2013. Founded by Anne Wojcicki: Katie Hafner, “Silicon Valley Wide-Eyed over a Bride,” New York Times, May 29, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/29/technology/29google.html. the company provides ancestry-related: “How It Works,” 23andMe, https://www.23andme.com/howitworks/. It’s not a full sequencing: “About the 23andMe Personal Genome Service,” 23andMe, https://customercare.23andme.com/entries/22591668. Since then, he drinks green tea: Elizabeth Murphy, “Do You Want to Know What Will Kill You?” Salon, October 25, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/10/25/inside_23andme_founder_anne_wojcickis_99_dna_revolution_newscred/. all of them have faced: Kira Peikoff, “I Had My DNA Picture Taken, with Varying Results,” New York Times, December 30, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/31/science/i-had-my-dna-picture-taken-with-varying-results.html?

As these tests become more common, one of the most crucial issues for us to grapple with, he says, “will be to educate people as well as physicians about the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of particular challenges they might find, and to do it in a fashion that doesn’t cause great anxiety or anxiety out of proportion to the risk.” Vogelstein and Diaz’s concerns were brought to the surface recently by the genomic testing company 23andMe. Founded by Anne Wojcicki at age 32 in 2006, the company provides ancestry-related genetic reports and uninterpreted raw genetic data for its clients. You spit in a tube, send it to 23andMe’s lab, and for $99 they send you back your genetic information. It’s not a full sequencing of your genome, but a snapshot of the areas of your DNA that researchers know the most about, like genes that indicate a risk for Parkinson’s or how a person might react to certain blood thinners.


pages: 302 words: 74,350

I Hate the Internet: A Novel by Jarett Kobek

Anne Wojcicki, Burning Man, disruptive innovation, East Village, Edward Snowden, Golden Gate Park, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, immigration reform, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, liberation theology, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, packet switching, PageRank, Peter Thiel, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Whole Earth Catalog

Eric Schmidt was the man behind the scenes, the unmoved mover, the guy who made deals with the government and the CIA and the NSA, the guy who worked on various Presidential commissions and had a hand in the company’s Washington dealings. He loved that Google afforded him proximity to power. Like Zeus, he was weird and mysterious in a way that the others weren’t. He was always there but you never knew what he was really like. And let’s not get into his complicated romantic life, the servicing of which required a fuckpad on Manhattan island. Susan Wojcicki was the sister of Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Sergey Brin, and she was the Senior Vice President of Advertising. She was like Demeter, the goddess of the harvest and the growing earth. It was Susan Wojcicki who let Sergey Brin and Larry Page start Google in her garage, and it was Susan Wojcicki who really ran the show, overseeing the advertising which was the source of all the money. Susan Wojcicki had wanted to be an artist and Susan Wojcicki was even more mysterious than Eric Schmidt.

If you were from California and the year was 2013, and you were discussing the consensus amongst public intellectuals who supported the War in Iraq, you might say, “It was, like, so ironic¸ because, you know, like, all of America’s, like, public intellectuals supported a total, you know, disaster of a war and, like, thought, that there could be, like, you know, democracy in Iraq.” You’d be wrong. There was nothing ironic in the wrongness of a bunch of dumb assholes who offer bogus opinions for money. Dumb assholes who offer bogus opinions for money don’t need to be right. They only need to be loud. “I was very much captivated,” said Adeline, “by news of Sergey Brin’s affair.” Sergey Brin was one of the co-founders of Google. He was married to Anne Wojcicki. Over the summer, news had broken that Sergey Brin was having an affair with an underling at Google X. Google X was an experimental lab that developed products like driverless cars, dogs that don’t need to lick their own genitals, and Google Glass. Google Glass was a wearable computer built into a pair of ugly eyeglasses. Google Glass allowed its wearers to act out their social inadequacies.


Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve

Given the money at stake, “it seems only a matter of time before humans were added to the growing list of creatures whose genomes” were up for grabs.25 I’d hazard a guess that “Christina” will not be the last entrepreneur down this road. In fact, there are already players milling around the starting gate, many of them true heavy hitters from Silicon Valley. The best-known “consumer-facing” genetics company is probably 23andMe, founded by Anne Wojcicki. Anne’s father, Stanley, was the chair of Stanford’s physics department in the late 1990s; he had a couple of students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who would go on to start a thing called Google. In fact, they started it in Anne’s sister Susan’s garage. (Anne would later marry and divorce Brin; Susan is now the CEO of YouTube, owned of course by Google.) The company 23andMe is best known for its saliva test that unveils your genetics, though one of its patents envisions using this knowledge to help people, in the words of UC Davis’s Paul Knoepfler, “select a potential mate from a group of possible mates.”

Supreme Court Unity Biotechnology Urban, Tim USA Today Utah utilities Vanity Fair vapor pressure deficit Vassar, Michael Venezuela Venice Verity, William Vermont Vietnam Vinci, Leonardo da Virgin Galactic Virtue of Selfishness, The (Rand) Vodafone volcanoes voting rights Walker, Scott Wall Street Journal Walton family Washington Post water Watson, James Wealth of Nations (Smith) welfare West, Michael wet-bulb temperature wheat Whippman, Ruth White, Curtis Whitehead, Emily white supremacy wilderness, protected wildlife Wilkinson, Richard Williams, Jerry Williams, Ted wind power Wired Wisconsin Wohlforth, Charles Wojcicki, Anne Wojcicki, Stanley Wojcicki, Susan women’s rights Woods, Darren World Bank World Happiness Report World Meteorological Organization World Petroleum Congress (Beijing, 1997) World War II Worster, Donald Wozniak, Steve Y Combinator Yellowstone Yosemite Valley Youtube Yudkowsky, Eliezer Zhang, Feng Zinke, Ryan Zuckerberg, Mark ALSO BY BILL McKIBBEN Radio Free Vermont Oil and Honey The Global Warming Reader Eaarth American Earth The Bill McKibben Reader Fight Global Warming Now Deep Economy The Comforting Whirlwind Wandering Home Enough Long Distance Hundred Dollar Holiday Maybe One Hope, Human and Wild The Age of Missing Information The End of Nature ABOUT THE AUTHOR BILL MCKIBBEN is a founder of the environmental organization 350.org and was among the early advocates for action on global warming.


pages: 97 words: 31,550

Money: Vintage Minis by Yuval Noah Harari

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, British Empire, call centre, credit crunch, European colonialism, Flash crash, greed is good, job automation, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, lifelogging, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, self-driving car, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

The Baseline Study dovetails with an entire line of products called Google Fit, that will be incorporated into wearables such as clothes, bracelets, shoes and glasses, and will collect a never-ending stream of biometrical data. The idea is for Google Fit products to collect the never-ending stream of biometrical data to feed the Baseline Study. Yet companies such as Google want to go much deeper than wearables. The market for DNA testing is currently growing in leaps and bounds. One of its leaders is 23andMe, a private company founded by Anne Wojcicki, former wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The name ‘23andMe’ refers to the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that encode the human genome, the message being that my chromosomes have a very special relationship with me. Whoever can understand what the chromosomes are saying can tell you things about yourself that you never even suspected. If you want to know what, pay 23andMe a mere $99, and they will send you a small package with a tube.


pages: 465 words: 109,653

Free Ride by Robert Levine

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Anne Wojcicki, book scanning, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Firefox, future of journalism, Googley, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Justin.tv, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, moral panic, offshore financial centre, pets.com, publish or perish, race to the bottom, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

No organization is more beholden to Google than Creative Commons, a nonprofit Lessig helped found that makes it easy for creators to share their work freely online by renouncing some of their rights. In 2008 Google gave the organization $1.5 million. (Lessig, who no longer works with Creative Commons, says this amount exaggerates the group’s dependence on Google, since the gift is a pledge to be fulfilled over the course of several years.) In 2009 the company’s cofounder Sergey Brin and his wife, Anne Wojcicki, donated $500,000—more than a fifth of the money contributed that year. It was something of a family gift, since Wojcicki’s mother, Esther Wojcicki, then served as chair of the organization’s board of directors. All of these organizations do legitimate work, and some present compelling ideas for copyright reform alongside ideas that would amount to handouts to Google. (The Electronic Frontier Foundation also pushes for weaker copyright laws, but it has a broader purview and has not been afraid to challenge technology companies, especially on the privacy issues that these other groups ignore.)

Trade Representative Ustream Valenti, Jack, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 venture capital, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 Verizon, 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 10.1, 10.2 Vevo VHS, 1.1, 1.2 Viacom, 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 5.1, 5.2, 10.1 videocassette recorders (VCRs), 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1 Viiv Vulgate Bible “walled gardens”, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 Wall Street Journal, itr.1, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 Walmart, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1 Warner Music Group, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 10.1 Washington Post, itr.1, 2.1, 4.1, 4.2 WebTV Weingarten, Oliver, 5.1, 8.1 “What Peer-to-Peer Developers Need to Know About Copyright Law” Whetstone, Rachel White, Jack Who Controls the Internet? (Goldsmith and Wu) “Why Your Cell Phone Is So Terrible” panel, 3.1, 10.1 Wiggin LLP WikiLeaks, 4.1, 7.1 Wikipedia, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 10.1, 10.2 Williams, Robbie, 2.1, 9.1 Wilson, Stephen “windowing”, 6.1, 7.1 Windows operating system, 2.1, 7.1, 7.2, 10.1 WIPO Copyright Treaty (1996), 1.1, 1.2, 2.1 Wired, itr.1, 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 Wojcicki, Anne Wojcicki, Esther, 3.1, 3.2 Wolff, Michael World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 8.1, 9.1, 10.1 World of Warcraft World’s Fair Use Day Wu, Tim, 1.1, 3.1, 8.1, 10.1 Wyden, Ron Xbox Live, 7.1, 7.2, 10.1, 10.2 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Yahoo!, 2.1, 3.1, 6.1, 8.1, 8.2 Yang, Jerry You Are Not a Gadget (Lanier) YouTube, itr.1, itr.2, itr.3, itr.4, itr.5, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 Zelnick, Strauss, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 Zittrain, Jonathan ZML.com Zucker, Jeff, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Robert Levine was the executive editor of Billboard magazine and has written for Vanity Fair, Fortune, Rolling Stone, and the arts and business sections of the New York Times.


pages: 425 words: 112,220

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, young professional

But, if nothing else, the ongoing discussion supplants ambiguity and any “elephants in the room” by keeping the team engaged and motivated. By participating, everyone feels more in control of their destiny. Especially when failures or major setbacks occur, you need to carry your team through it. For example, imagine working years to launch your product to much fanfare and then suddenly having your product shut down by the government for a couple of years. That’s exactly what happened to Anne Wojcicki, CEO and cofounder of genetic testing company 23andMe. Founded in 2006, 23andMe allowed customers to spit in a small tube and, within a few weeks, get access to a wealth of genetic information about their ancestors, predisposition to health issues, and other insights based on their genes. The company thrived in its early years, attracting excited customers and some of Silicon Valley’s greatest investors.

Eventually I realized that I was striving to keep him in a job that wasn’t a good fit for him. And so we lost him. But after the initial shock of someone leaving us rather than being dismissed, I realized that our team’s immune system was working as it should. As you lose people who aren’t a good match your team becomes stronger. Be great at retaining your A players, and less so with your B players. “You have to constantly be reevaluating the people you have,” says Anne Wojcicki from 23andMe. “Figuring out talent is hard. You never want to set someone up to fail. Doing so only hurts them and the company. One of the hardest parts of leadership is not getting attached to people. Even the people you enjoy the most may face a point where they become too specialized for their role or not specialized enough. You need to always be evaluating each person in their role—and be willing to make the change.”


pages: 598 words: 134,339

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, Benjamin Mako Hill, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, congestion charging, disintermediation, drone strike, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, failed state, fault tolerance, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hindsight bias, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, national security letter, Network effects, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, Ross Ulbricht, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, stealth mode startup, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero day

Watson (10 Oct 2013), “The latest smartphones could turn us all into activity trackers,” Wired, http://www.wired.com/2013/10/the-trojan-horse-of-the-latest-iphone-with-the-m7-coprocessor-we-all-become-qs-activity-trackers. Companies like 23andMe: Thomas Goetz (17 Nov 2007), “23AndMe will decode your DNA for $1,000. Welcome to the age of genomics,” Wired, http://www.wired.com/medtech/genetics/magazine/15-12/ff_genomics. Elizabeth Murphy (14 Oct 2013), “Inside 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki’s $99 DNA revolution,” Fast Company, http://www.fastcompany.com/3018598/for-99-this-ceo-can-tell-you-what-might-kill-you-inside-23andme-founder-anne-wojcickis-dna-r. personalized marketing: Charles Seife (27 Nov 2013), “23andMe is terrifying, but not for the reasons the FDA thinks,” Scientific American, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/23andme-is-terrifying-but-not-for-reasons-fda. insurance companies may someday buy: Rebecca Greenfield (25 Nov 2013), “Why 23andMe terrifies health insurance companies,” Fast Company, http://www.fastcompany.com/3022224/innovation-agents/why-23andme-terrifies-health-insurance-companies.


pages: 233 words: 58,561

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Anne Wojcicki, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Wall-E

We’ve used sprints for prioritization, for marketing strategy, even for naming companies. Time and time again, the process brings teams together and brings ideas to life. Over the past few years, our team has had an unparalleled opportunity to experiment and validate our ideas about work process. We’ve run more than one hundred sprints with the startups in the GV portfolio. We’ve worked alongside, and learned from, brilliant entrepreneurs like Anne Wojcicki (founder of 23andMe), Ev Williams (founder of Twitter, Blogger, and Medium), and Chad Hurley and Steve Chen (founders of YouTube). In the beginning, I wanted to make my workdays efficient and meaningful. I wanted to focus on what was truly important and make my time count—for me, for my team, and for our customers. Now, more than a decade later, the sprint process has consistently helped me reach that goal.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

“I would say, ‘The electrician’s going to come, show him the light that needs to be fixed.’” Her husband traveled a lot, and when she got lonely, she would go to the other side of the house and talk to the Googlers. After a number of late-night sessions when she’d heard Larry and Sergey’s dreams time and again, she quit Intel to join Google herself. Eventually Sergey began dating her sister. (Anne Wojcicki and Sergey would marry in 2007.) In early 1999, Google moved to its new office space on University Place in Palo Alto, over the bicycle shop. The conference room had a Ping-Pong table, and, maintaining the tradition, the desks were doors on sawhorses. The kitchen was tiny, and food was yet to be catered. Larry and Sergey’s fondness for physio balls was apparent, as the red and blue plastic spheres were scattered about.

You could even spot an occasional Dilbert cartoon on a cubicle. Many cheeky activities that had once seemed so refreshing began to assume an aura of calculation when they became routine. How many scavenger hunts can you attend before it becomes a chore? Page and Brin themselves had grown in the decade since they founded Google. Both were now married and within a year of each other fathered sons. Brin’s wife, Anne Wojcicki, was a cofounder of 23andMe, a company involved in personal DNA analysis. Brin defied corporate propriety when he shifted his personal investment in the firm to a company one. Google’s lawyers made sure the transaction passed formal muster. The normally gregarious Brin could turn icy when an unfamiliar person referred to his private life—for example, when a reporter offered congratulations at a Q and A at the Googleplex soon after his wedding, he changed the subject without acknowledging the remark.


pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison

23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, disruptive innovation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kickstarter, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

Through Google, Larry Page has given over $250,000 to Singularity University and has said that if he were a student, SU is where he’d want to be.67 Interestingly, his wife, Lucy Southworth, is a biologist who has written papers on aging issues, including one titled “Effects of Aging on Mouse Transcriptional Networks,” coauthored with Stanford’s Dr. Stuart K. Kim, who is a well-known aging expert and one of Larry Ellison’s award recipients.68 Sergey Brin is spreading the meme in a more personal way. 23andMe is a genomics company that was cofounded by Brin’s biologist wife, Anne Wojcicki, and has gone a long way toward popularizing the idea of personalized medicine. “Spit parties” are one of the cute marketing techniques the company uses to get the public interested in thinking about their DNA and how it might be fixed to cure disease. One high-profile party took place during New York City’s Fashion Week. Company staffers recounted the event on their blog, saying, “23andMe managed to lure a few hundred people away from the catwalks Tuesday night to consider the beauty that lies within—DNA.


pages: 281 words: 79,958

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, twin studies, Upton Sinclair, X Prize

I am also indebted to Nicole Hughes, Tracy Locke, Caroline Garner, and Leigh Butler, who doubles as a longtime friend. Many friends have heard me drone on about this subject for years—encouraging me all the while. (And also arguing—which I tend to see as the same thing.) For their support and good cheer I would like to thank Gary Kalkut, Esther Fein, Gerry Krovatin, Sarah Lyall, Robert McCrum, Anne McNally, Richard Cohen, John Kalish, Jacob Weisberg, Deborah Needleman, Jacob Lewis, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki and Alessandra Stanley. When I was a child it often annoyed me that my parents, Howard and Eileen Specter, acted as if I could do anything. As I age, however, I have come to realize there is a role for blind devotion in this world—and I thank them for it profusely. My brother, Jeffrey, and his wife Yaelle, shouldered much family responsibility while I hid behind my laptop, and without that help there would have been no book.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

I applied for a press ticket See my report, “Cyborg Soothsayers of the High-Tech Hogwash Emporia,” 2015, Baffler (no. 28). Sjöblad’s cyborg evangelism Bryan Menegus, “Company Offers Free, Totally Not Creepy Microchip Implants to Employees,” July 24, 2017, gizmodo.com; James Brooks, “Cyborgs at Work: Employees Getting Implanted with Microchips,” April 23, 2017, apnews.com. “gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations” Anne Wojcicki et al., U.S. Patent 8543339 B2, December 5, 2008; Karen Kaplan, “23andMe’s Designer Baby Patent Is ‘a Serious Mistake,’ Critics Charge,” October 3, 2013, latimes.com. endorsed the Singularity sect Lev Grossman, “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal,” February 10, 2011, time.com. an online forum of futurists who called themselves extropians. Max More For more on cryonics and the extropians, see my report, “Everybody Freeze!


pages: 299 words: 91,839

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

23andMe, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, clean water, commoditize, connected car, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, different worldview, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, fear of failure, Firefox, future of journalism, G4S, Google Earth, Googley, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, PageRank, peer-to-peer lending, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, web of trust, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Zipcar

In the comments, Chris Cranley took off on Godin’s idea and suggested that just as smarter products may need less insurance, the same may be said of smarter people: “If I knew how to avoid problem X, I would not insure against it.” Education and information become insurance against insurance. Godin took this line of thinking to its extreme when he speculated about opportunities not just for smarter people but—genetically speaking—healthier people as determined by 23andMe, a service that analyzes users’ DNA. (Founded by Brin’s wife, Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe discovered his Parkinson’s gene. Google invested in the company.) Godin said: And while some may not like it, what happens when 23andMe gets a lot smarter and the healthiest gene pool starts their own life insurance coop? U.K. business journalist James Ball agreed with me that insurance is “a glorified betting market” where insurance providers “offer odds against certain outcomes—adverse outcomes—and we pay up the stake.


pages: 474 words: 130,575

Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Military-Digital Complex by Yasha Levine

23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bitcoin, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collaborative editing, colonial rule, computer age, computerized markets, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global village, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Howard Zinn, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Hackers Conference, uber lyft, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

Collecting data and profiling users became an obsession for them both. It would make them rich beyond belief and transform Google from a mere search engine into a sprawling global platform designed to capture as much information as possible about the people who came into contact with it. The Brain Tap In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin moved into the garage of a house owned by Susan Wojcicki, the sister of Brin’s future wife, Anne Wojcicki. They had an initial $100,000 check from Andy Bechtolsheim, the cofounder of Sun Microsystems, a powerful computer company that itself had come out of an ARPA-funded 1970s computer research program at Stanford University.36 The initial small investment was followed by a $25 million tranche from two powerful venture capital outfits, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins.37 Brin and Page couldn’t be happier.


pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, drone strike, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

These products will be incorporated into wearables such as clothes, bracelets, shoes and glasses, and will collect a never-ending stream of biometrical data. The idea is for Google Fit to feed the Baseline Study with the data it needs.30 Yet companies such as Google want to go much deeper than wearables. The market for DNA testing is currently growing in leaps and bounds. One of its leaders is 23andMe, a private company founded by Anne Wojcicki, former wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The name ‘23andMe’ refers to the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that contain our genome, the message being that my chromosomes have a very special relationship with me. Anyone who can understand what the chromosomes are saying can tell you things about yourself that you never even suspected. If you want to know what, pay 23andMe a mere $99, and they will send you a small package with a tube.


pages: 561 words: 163,916

The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality by Blake J. Harris

4chan, airport security, Anne Wojcicki, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, call centre, computer vision, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, financial independence, game design, Grace Hopper, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Peter Thiel, QR code, sensor fusion, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, unpaid internship, white picket fence

MAY On May 1, Steve and Allison Spinner hosted a small fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, who weeks earlier had announced that she would be running for president in the 2016 election. In advance of this event, campaign chair John Podesta, who would be speaking there that day, was advised that “There will be four important individuals within tech in the room: Aaron Levie (CEO of Box), Padma Warrior (CTO of Cisco), Anne Wojcicki (CEO of 23 and Me and married to Sergei Brinn, co-founder [of] Google), and Palmer Luckey (founder [of] Oculus VR).” Luckey had concerns about Clinton (based on her platform in the 2008 presidential race), but figured this would be a good opportunity to find out if any of her positions had changed. In particular, he was curious about ethanol subsidies; so he asked John Podesta if Mrs. Clinton planned to continue supporting ethanol blending mandates (because, in Luckey’s opinion, “those subsidies should go towards useful tech that needs it”).