Esther Dyson has just returned from a five-month stint training as a cosmonaut in Russia’s Star City. This is just the latest chapter in her lifelong education, which she started to take seriously shortly after graduating from Harvard (in 1972, five years after she started) with a BA in economics. Among other things, she has been a fact-checker at Forbes magazine, a Wall Street Securities analyst, the author of a book (»Release 1.0: A design for living in the digital age«, Broadway Books 1997), and the author of a commercially successful refrigerator magnet (»Always make new mistakes« which is now also the inscription on her cosmonaut patch).
But she has devoted much of her life to fostering start-up companies, initially as host of the annual PC Forum and editor of the computer industry newsletter Release 1.0. Since selling her company to CNET Networks in 2004, she has become a full-time and active investor, doing business (still) as EDventure Holdings. Her commercial interests include software, the Internet and health care and, of course, private space travel. She is known for her insight and the ability to temper enthusiasm with skepticism…or was that skepticism with enthusiasm?
Her current board seats include 23andMe (personal genomics), Airship Ventures, Boxbe, CVO Group, Eventful.com, Evernote, Meetup, Voxiva, WPP Group and Yandex (Russia). Her advisory board seats include Ameritocracy, AnchorFree, Choicestream, IBS Group, Keas, Live Journal, PGP Corp., ReframeIt and Viewpoint. Companies she has invested in include Del.icio.us and Flickr (both sold to Yahoo!), Medstory and Powerset (sold to Microsoft), Brightmail (sold to Symantec), as well as ChallengePost, Dopplr, Icon Aircraft, PatientsLikeMe, ReliefInsite, Xcor Aerospace.
She is also a trustee of the Eurasia Foundation, the Long Now Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, Personal Genomes.org (for which she has posted her genome and soon all her medical records online), the Santa Fe Institute, Stop Badware and the Sunlight Foundation.