Esther Dyson is actively involved in improving the world's health, both as an investor and a research subject. Her genome and some health records are available online to the public, courtesy of George Church's Personal Genome Project. She believes fiercely in the power of information to affect people's behavior and to improve the quality of health as well as health care. She has written two monographs on electronic records and health information liquidity, and ran the 2005 Personal Health Information workshop cosponsored by New York's New School University.
Dyson brings to her work insights from economics, information technology, management practice and practical psychology. In addition to her own genome (plus those of 26 family members on 23andMe), she is exploring her own data with help from MyZeo.com, FitBit, Boston Heart Lab, Biophysical Corp., and New York University Medical Center immunologist Derya Unutmaz, M.D.
However, her primary activity is investing in startups and guiding many of them as a board member. To that end, she travels broadly and speaks four languages (English, Russian, French and German). Her board seats include 23andMe, Airship Ventures, Boxbe, Eventful.com, Evernote, IBS Group (Russia, advisory board), Meetup, NewspaperDirect, Voxiva, Yandex (Russia), and WPP Group (not a startup). Her past IT investments include Flickr and Del.icio.us (sold to Yahoo!), BrightMail (sold to Symantec), Medstory and Powerset (sold to Microsoft), Plazes (sold to Nokia), Orbitz (IPOed, sold to Cendant and later re-IPOed), Tacit (sold to Oracle), and ActiveWeave (sold to Buzzlogic). Her current holdings include BlogAds, ChoiceStream, Dopplr, Dotomi, Linkstorm, Ovusoft, PatientsLikeMe, Resilient, ReliefinSite, School of Everything, Technorati, TerraLink (Russia), UCMS (Russia), Vizu.com and Zedo.
Dyson is also active in the nonprofit world. She is a director of the Sunlight Foundation, devoted to transparency in government; the Eurasia Foundation; and the Santa Fe Institute. She is also a member of the NASA Advisory Council and chairman of its Technology and Innovation Committee.
See Esther's talk