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Posted January 22, 2009
Ted Talks

Barry Schuler: An introduction to genomics

What is genomics? How will it affect our lives? In this intriguing primer on the genomics revolution, entrepreneur Barry Schuler says we can at least expect healthier, tastier food. He suggests we start with the pinot noir grape, to build better wines.

Barry Schuler's multimedia firm Medior built key interactive technologies for AOL, helping millions connect to the Internet through a simple, accessible interface. Now, through venture capital (and wine appreciation), he wants to do the same for genomics.

If in the mid-'90s tech revolution you found yourself intimidated by command lines (or computers in general), chances are you had your first encounter with email through America Online. Above those first-month-free CDs, the main appeal was its easy-as-a-microwave interface, which Barry Schuler and his team at Medior designed. While the other techies were complaining of eternal September, Schuler remained a populist, passionate about spreading accessibility to the next generation of services that he foresaw changing the world. (Earlier, he had developed and marketed color desktop apps for Apple.)

Schuler later served as AOL's CEO when it acquired Time Warner. But now, as high-tech democratization continues, Schuler wants to direct the momentum toward genomics. As managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, he's funding next-thing projects in tech, and he also serves on the board of Synthetic Genomics. A lover of wine (and a proponent of using genetics to enhance wine grapes), he owns Meteor Vineyard in Napa Valley. He's currently CEO of Raydiance, which is developing laser technology for healthcare use.

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