Three by Five.7 Yeast Engineering and Apple Clinics

Dennis Kunkel Microscopy/Science Source [1]
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about this MIT Technology Review article on writing the yeast genome. The article profiles NYU’s Jef Boeke, one of the founders and leaders of Genome Project write (GP-write). Writing a genome, which is still expensive, will drive advances across many fields (I’ve written about this project in the past and predicted – incorrectly – that the scientists would be finished by the end of last year.)

Healthcare is broken. It’s expensive, eats up a significant part of our gross domestic product, and entering the healthcare system is no fun. Just think about the forms you have to fill out every time you visit a new doctor. The news that Apple is creating medical clinics for its employees (and to test new products) is very very interesting. If you believe that Apple was instrumental in designing technology that is easier to use (and I do), then for sure they will create a healthcare experience that many of us will crave.

Image Caption:

[1] Colored scanning electron micrograph of lab-grown baker’s yeast.

Three by Five.6 | Teenage Engineering. Hemingway.

Teenage Engineering is a Swedish manufacturer of synthesizers and audio gear. For my birthday, Tomás and Felix, my youngest sons, gave me a Pocket Operator Arcade. It’s a calculator-sized, AAA-battery powered synthesizer. Pre-programmed with 16 video game sounds, 16 prebuilt patterns, and 16 sound effects, the Arcade is a simple, elegant sound maker. I’m using it for chiptunes-making (and time wasting!). It was the perfect, sweetest birthday present.

Question: What will be the synthetic biology equivalent of a PO-20?


Hemingway Editor. I usually jot these three by fives on an actual notecard, then transfer them to Hemingway for editing. Hemingway shows me what sentences are hard to read, reminds me not to write in passive voice. Plus, it tells me how readable my prose is. Usually, I aim for 6th grade but given the long, biology-related words I use, I’m usually happy for 12th.

Three by Five by Eleven.5 | Organism Design. Minecraft Chemistry

Organism or microbe design is an emerging industry.

It’s analogous to the semi-conductor industry. Companies design and manufacture the semi-conductors found in computers, phones, cars, and televisions.

Today, end-users rarely make semi-conductors themselves. They hire the expertise and apply what is manufactured to create a product.

Organism design companies are reprograming yeast and bacteria to produce useful molecules. Those molecules are used in consumer goods, foods, medicines and industrial products.

Perhaps the best known organism company is Boston’s Ginkgo Bioworks. Sarah Zhang profiled the company this week in an article I enjoyed in The Atlantic. (We featured co-founder Jason Kelly and creative director Christina Agapakis in What’s Your Bio Strategy?)

Minecraft Chemistry. A couple of week’s ago, Microsoft added a Chemistry Set to its popular game. Since there are about 55 million people worldwide playing (and some 122 million games sold) that’s a lot of potential exposure to chemistry and crafting. What does the synthetic biology expansion kit look like?

[Beautiful fruit photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash]

My Billboard

I Built a 22,000 Contact Network on LinkedIn. Here’s Why You Don’t Need To. Part 1

22,000 people is a big network to maintain. Do you need this many people in your network?

TL;DR I grew my LinkedIn network to 22K contacts. You *might* grow yours to advance your career.

“You want to have as large a LinkedIn network as possible,” he said.

At the time, I didn’t understand.

What was this investor was telling me?

I’d been on the professional social network for a few years. I’d cultivated a decent group of contacts.

“A large network,” he explained, “makes it easier to get introduced to people who can make a difference for your business. Or career.”

I could agree with his logic. It made sense at the time.

“How do you do that?” I asked.

“Work on it every day.”

I asked a few more questions and learned he had grown his network to just over 3,000 contacts.

He repeated:

“A large network will give you greater access.”

My competitive fire was sparked.

I was determined to grow a larger network.

I became a LinkedIn Open Networker (a L.I.O.N.) and spent one year sending out invitations and helping others grow their own networks.

It took about 15 minutes a day.

The result?

By the end of the first year, my network had grown to 7,500.

By the end of the second year, it was more than 10,000.

At the beginning, I wasn’t selective at all about inviting people in my network.

I started with the people known to have the largest networks, moved my way through the LIONs in my industry, and accepted everyone who asked to join my network.

Today, my network is nearly 22,000.

Do You Need A Large Network?

Before I give you a few tips to grow your network, let me ask Do you really need that big of a network?

[To be continued]