Esther Dyson is chairman of EDventure Holdings and founder of the Health Initiative Coordinating Council (HICCup), dedicated to fostering and measuring the impact of critical-density health programs. Its first project is the Way to Wellville (@WaytoWellville), a five-year, five-metric challenge to five U.S. communities to dramatically improve the health of their residents.
Overall, Dyson is fascinated by new business models, new technologies, and new markets (both economic and political).
On the international side, she is a board member of both Luxoft and Yandex, and has investments in companies including Apiary (founded in Prague), and AlterGeo, Ostrovok, TerraLink, and Zingaya in Russia. She speaks fluent Russian, French, and German. From October 2008 to March of 2009, she lived in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, training as a backup cosmonaut. She first visited Russia in 1989.
Apart from this brief sabbatical, she is an active board member for a variety of companies, including 23andMe, Meetup, NewspaperDirect, PA Consulting (London), Personal Inc., Voxiva (the company behind text4baby.org), and XCOR Aerospace. Her past investments have included Medstory and Powerset (sold to Microsoft), Flickr and del.icio.us (sold to Yahoo!), Brightmail (sold to Symantec), Vizu (sold to Nielsen), Basis Science (sold to Intel), and Eventful (sold to CBS). Her current investments in information services include AdKeeper, AnchorFree, ChallengePost, Cognitive Match, Crowdbooster, Evernote, Fancy, Factual, Flattr (Sweden), GoodData, GridPoint, Jana, LinkedIn, Linqia, Payperks, RockTech, and Square. Her current investments in health include Applied Proteomics, Genomera, GeriJoy, HealthEngage, Health Loop, HealthTap, i2Dx Keas, Medico, Medivo, Omada Health, Organized Wisdom, PatientsLikeMe, PatientsKnowBest (UK), Resilient, Tocagen, Valkee (Finland), and Vita Portal. Her current investments in aerospace include Icon Aircraft (light-sport aircraft), Nanoracks, and Space Adventures, which organizes programs such as hers for space tourists.
Dyson also sits on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Long Now Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, and the Personal Genome Project, and is a patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
Dyson has a B.A. in economics from Harvard College and started her career as a fact-checker and reporter for Forbes Magazine (1974-77). From 1977 to 1982 she worked on Wall Street as a securities analyst, covering companies such as Federal Express, Apple Computer, and Electronic Data Systems. From 1983 to 2004 she wrote and edited Release 1.0, a monthly analysis of the PC/Internet business, and ran the yearly PC Forum, the industry’s leading executive conference, as head of her own company EDventure Holdings. She sold EDventure to CNET in 2004 and worked there for two years before going independent. Along the way, she served as founding chairman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000. In addition, she wrote the best-selling, widely translated book Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age (Broadway Books, 1997). She posts photos at www.flickr.com/photos/edyson.