Why 23andme Killed Its Next Generation Gene Sequencing Project

Information from the new technology would have been too confusing for consumers, CEO says.

Gene sequencing startup 23andme has abandoned plans to develop a next generation sequencing technology, CEO Anne Wojcicki said on Wednesday.

The company currently offers consumers information about their genetic heritage via a $200 mail-in DNA testing kit and a more limited $100 ancestry report. The company was valued at over $1 billion in a fund raising round last year, pushing it into the category of so-called unicorns.

Wojcicki had been working on developing a new technology that could extract much more information at rapid speeds and give more precise reports and advice to consumers. The problem was that 23andme is focused on giving information directly to consumers, not to their doctors, and the next gen information might have been too complex or too vague to fit that model, she said.

Source: Why 23andme Killed Its Next Generation Gene Sequencing Project

Be Kind — Brian Gilham

One Friday afternoon, early in my career, I was wrapping up some new features for the back-end of a client’s Rails app. Simple stuff. Confident in my work, I deployed the changes, closed my laptop, and drove out of town for a weekend of camping with friends. I had just arrived when my phone rang. It was my project lead, Kevin. “The client’s site is down. What happened?”Oh shit. Fuck. I had no idea. I was three hours away with no laptop.“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ll take care of it. Have a good weekend.”Like that was going to happen. I’d let the team down. I’d ruined someone else’s weekend. I beat myself up for days. Come Monday; I walked into the office certain I was about to be fired. The project lead walked over. “Hey, Brian. How was your trip?”He was smiling. There wasn’t even a hint of frustration or annoyance. “It was okay,” I said, waiting for the bad news. “Sorry about Friday. I completely blew it.”“It’s okay,” he replied. “We’ve all done it.” He paused for a moment. “But what did you learn?”I talked about the need for proper QA. About thoroughly testing my changes. About taking the time to make sure the job gets done right. After a few minutes, he held up his hand. “Great. It sounds like you get it. I know that you can do better.”And that was the end of it. Kevin never brought it up again.Kevin gave me the space to screw up, as long as I learned from it. He jumped in, with his years of experience, and helped me out when I needed it most. And still believed I was a competent developer, despite my mistake. He saw my potential.Now that I’m the one leading projects and mentoring junior developers, I often think back to that day. And I remind myself to be kind and see the potential in people. Give them a break.Just like Kevin did for me.

Source: Be Kind — Brian Gilham