Anne's background is in healthcare investing, focused primarily on biotechnology companies. Anne left the investing world with the hope that she could have a positive impact on research and medicine through 23andMe. From her vantage point, Anne saw a need for creating a way to generate more information - especially more personalized information - so that commercial and academic researchers could better understand and develop new drugs and diagnostics. By encouraging individuals to access and learn about their own genetic information, 23andMe will create a common, standardized resource that has the potential to accelerate drug discovery and bring personalized medicine to the public. Anne graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in biology.
Question: What is the worst career advice you have ever received?
Anne Wojcicki: It’s interesting, the worst advice I’ve probably ever got is when I was done with Wall Street in 2000. I took off a year to travel, I was going to go to Med School, and I got a job offer to go back to Wall Street, and I was like well, I can make enough money to pay for Med School, it will be easy. And everyone was really supportive of that. Wall Street was sort of at the height of the fame, everyone thought it was really cool, and I think taking that job, doing something probably more for the money was probably the worst thing I think I’ve ever done.
Question: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Anne Wojcicki: When I was investing in it and then I would complain, no stop, I’m investing in this industry that I feel like is just turning out products that are not necessarily benefit us. It was actually Larry Page who at one point was so irritated, he was like, “Just stop. If you’re going to keep complaining, just go and do something. Go and fix it.” And it was really – wow, yeah, you’re right. I should stop complaining and I should just try to fix it. And I think having that mentality – it’s so easy to be in a work situation where you complain and finally, it’s your responsibility. It’s the really fun thing about starting the company. If you want to change this world, this community that we all live in, then get up and do it. And just start something. And if it fails – every time we get criticized, I was like, well that’s great, that means I am actually doing something and I am pushing buttons. And so every time there was something critical, I feel proud.
Recorded on September 30, 2009