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.
"Schuler envisions a world where cutting tools no longer use blades, cancer treatments take a few hours and DNA treatment is a simple outpatient procedure."Daniel Dumas, WIRED
“We are all 99.9 percent genetically equal. It is one one-hundredth of one percent of genetic material that makes the difference between any one of us.”
“By being able to write a genome and plug it into an organism, the software, if you will, changes the hardware.”
“Nature has provided us a spectacular toolbox. The toolbox exists. An architect far better and smarter than us has given us that toolbox, and we now have the ability to use it.”
“Living in your genome is the history of our species.”