Esther Dyson does business as EDventure Holdings, the reclaimed name of the company she owned for 20-odd years before selling it to CNET Networks in 2004. In the last few years, she has turned her sights towards IT and health care. She dedicated two issues of her newsletter, Release 1.0, to the topic (Health and Identity: No Patient Left Behind? in January 2005 and Personal Health Information: Data Comes Alive! in September 2005). Also in September 2005, she ran the Personal Health Information workshop that laid out many of the challenges still perplexing the health-care community.
Currently, she is on the board of directors of 23andMe and is one of the initial ten subjects of George Church's Personal Genome Project. Her primary activity is investing in start-ups and guiding many of them as a board member. Her board seats include Boxbe, CVO Group (Hungary), Eventful.com, Evernote, IBS Group (Russia, advisory board), Meetup, Midentity (UK), NewspaperDirect, and WPP Group and Yandex (Russia).
Some of her past direct IT investments include Flickr, Del.icio.us, BrightMail, Medstory and Orbitz. Dyson was the founding chairman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000, and was also chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the 90's. In 1997, she wrote Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age, which appeared in paperback a year later as Release 2.1. In 1994, she wrote a seminal essay on intellectual property for Wired magazine.
Question: How can people manage their privacy online?
Esther Dyson: Well, first of all if you want to be really private don’t put it on line and if you are going to merge with some with in X don’t write about it because it will be out there digitally some where and some one can find it second there is a compact probably people make which is okay, I am going to be in public and people are going to say nasty things about me. The publicity here once understand that are they should in it is a compact they make more or less explicitly as people live thought they were sort of private go on line. They need to become more aware of that same compact it is like we go to cock tail party and you talk a lot usually what you say kind of just vanishes in to the air, but now it is all recorded and people need to understand that so the first role is, if you don’t want to repeat it don’t say it, the second rule is people may take pictures of you or write about you in some people will, you have to pick your friends because some people will take that and abuse it. There are more ways to abuse people stress now then the world in past but so you, you pick your friends, you decide what you are going to do in public and you realize it what ever you do with your friends is de facto now in public and you need to act accordingly on the other hand I think we need to have some kind of it is a pity because hypocrisy is not all bad it we need some thing to aspire to enough early it is pictures and all these people have feed of clay, it’s harder and harder to think that you ought to aspire to perfection We are losing some of the role model idealism in to lose much better than act of the I think as the bad things but the reality is that is what happening and the good news about that is I think people are being more tolerant of others failings, bad news is that become more tolerant of their own failings and not try to be better.
Question: Should people try to remove things about themselves they don’t like?
Esther Dyson: It is a personal decision in fact this morning I just got some there is a particular guy who writes for the register who just for some reason has it in for me I think some how I most have inadvertently snubbed them long ago, so sometimes we are just [inaudible] mentioned me like if he is writing an article about somebody totally different and he will say so and so is kind of an idiot just like Esther Dyson and they go on and write about so and so and so today he kind of mentioned me the piece was about me and particular and he mentioned two things I had done one of which he misunderstood and so he said she is such a contradictory person she must be cleaning herself and I am trying to think should I go in and write to the publication not to him and say you misunderstood my point in the second instance or shall I abandon it, I don’t really know there is no, single answer depends on #1 I am kind of busy, do I really want to bother, #2 one zone sense of Dignity when is it one guy out of a hundred or fifty people misunderstandings and at some point you need to look yourself and say well may be I should explain my self better and may be I should stop doing the things are criticizing your what have you so it the internet just like real life the internet doesn’t have rules for judgment people need to develop those for themselves.
Recorded on: 03/21/2008