The personal genomics startup game

Drew Yates at ThinkGene has a delightfully cynical take on the personal genomics industry:

I know 23andMe's game, it's the "break the mean with variance" game,
and it's the same Silicon Valley game that's been played by internet
media companies for the last decade. How to play: a network of superior
talent and funding backs a group of startups that executes something
outrageous and otherwise unobtainable by contractual or legal
permission (like YouTube, Napster, Google itself... have we forgotten the
shear audacity of copying all the information in the world without
permission?) Then, that startup pushes to spread that new idea as far
into the public as possible before lumbering regulatory agencies and
competitors can react. When the opposition (like RIAA, the State of New
York, etc) finally mounts a counter attack, it now must compromise
between the unsustainable but irretractable audacity of the startup and
the previous status quo. The resulting compromise between these two
extremes settles far beyond what could have been arranged in advance.

I'm incredibly naive when it comes to the biotech business world, so I can't testify to the accuracy of Drew's depiction - but any comments from industry insiders would be welcomed.

Subscribe to Genetic Future.

More like this

College, Reinvented: The Finalists Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Is the death of newspapers the end of good citizenship? MOOCs and the Future of the University Survival of the Fittest in the New Music Industry The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever How Dead Is…
RIAA, the music industry's mouth-piece and hired hand, sends you a message through this case:Jammie Thomas, a single mother of two, was found liable Thursday for copyright infringement in the nation's first file-sharing case to go before a jury. Twelve jurors here said the Minnesota woman must pay…
Regular readers will know that I'm not an intertubez triumphalist. But I read that the Harvard Book Store has bought itself a fancy gizmo to print any book in about four minutes: Battered booksellers, especially independent ones, have so far withstood the punishing shock-and-awe offensive of…
YouTube is quickly emerging as a new tool for strategic communication. Uses include promoting documentaries by posting trailers and news clips (see this post on Jesus Camp), reaching bigger audiences with community-based or advocacy media (see this clip by PR Watch), amplifying the views of…

Why stop at genetics? Your ancestry (ancestry.com) can tell you quite a bit as well.

Maybe Drew needs to look into government protection from them (and many others like them).

One should be dismissive of anyone afraid of the "public" having information without government oversight, IMHO.

@marc: If you'd like to learn more about government programs, your local city library offers personalized literacy coaching at no cost for qualified community members.

@Daniel: I'm incredibly naive, too, but that seems to describe how the startup game is played ---intentionally or not.

@Andrew Yates

"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people." -- George Bernard Shaw