Esther Dyson

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Esther Dyson

Born July 14, 1951 (1951-07-14) (age 57)
Zürich, Switzerland

Esther Dyson (born 14 July 1951, Zürich, Switzerland) is a journalist and commentator on emerging digital technology, a founding member of the digerati, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

On 7 October 2008, Space Adventures announced that Dyson had paid to train as a back-up spaceflight participant for Charles Simonyi's trip to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz TMA-14 mission scheduled for 2009.[8]


[edit] Life

Dyson's father is the physicist Freeman Dyson; her mother is mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson; and her brother is digital technology historian George Dyson.[9] After graduating from Harvard in economics, she joined Forbes as a fact-checker and quickly rose to reporter. In 1977, she joined New Court Securities as "the research department,"[2] following Federal Express and other start-ups. After a stint at Oppenheimer covering software companies, she moved to Rosen Research and in 1983 bought the company from her employer Ben Rosen, renaming it EDventure Holdings. She sold EDventure Holdings to CNET Networks in 2004, but left CNET in January 2007 after CNET declined to continue her PC Forum conference.[10]

[edit] Publications and business ventures

Dyson said, "I'm flying!", 2007 courtesy Zero-G
Dyson in 2007

Currently, Dyson is a board member and active investor in a variety of start-ups, mostly in online services, health care/genetics, and space travel.

Previously, Dyson and her company EDventure specialized in analyzing the impact of emerging technologies and markets on economies and societies. She created the following publications on technology:

  • Release 1.0, her monthly technology-industry newsletter, published by EDventure Holdings. Until 2006, Dyson wrote several issues herself and edited the others. When she left CNET, the newsletter was picked up by O'Reilly Media, which appointed Jimmy Guterman to edit it and renamed the newsletter Release 2.0.
  • Release 2.0, her 1997 book on how the Internet affects individuals' lives. Its full title is Release 2.0: A design for living in the digital age. The revision Release 2.1 was published in 1998.
  • Release 3.0, her bimonthly column for the New York Times, distributed via its syndicate and reprinted in Release 1.0 (now defunct).
  • Release 4.0, her weblog. On March 4, 2005, that weblog moved to Dyson's Flickr account.[11]

Dyson is an adviser to the First Monday journal, and an occasional contributor to Arianna Huffington's online Huffington Post as Release 0.9.

Dyson has also been a board member or early investor in several tech startups, among them Flickr,, Eventful, Netbeans, Powerset, Systinet, ZEDO, CV-Online, Medscape, and Medstory.

As of early 2007, Dyson describes herself as "spending more and more time on private aviation and commercial space startups."[12] and also in health care and genetics. She has invested in XCOR, Constellation Services, Zero-G, Icon Aircraft, and Space Adventures. Since 2005, she has hosted the Flight School conference in Aspen. She is currently on the board of directors of 23andMe, and is one of the first ten volunteers in the Personal Genome Project.

[edit] Philanthropy

Dyson is an active member of a number of non-profit and advisory organizations. From 1998 to 2000, she was the founding chairman of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. As of 2004, she sat on its "reform" committee, dedicated to defining a role for individuals in ICANN's decision-making and governance structures.[2] She has followed closely the post-Soviet transition of Eastern Europe, and is a member of the Bulgarian President's IT Advisory Council, along with Vint Cerf, George Sadowsky, and Veni Markovski, among others. She has served as a trustee of, and helped fund, emerging organizations such as Glasses for Humanity,, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Eurasia Foundation. She is also a member of the board for The Long Now Foundation, and a trustee of the Santa Fe Institute.

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Esther Dyson Profile". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-10-12. "She left CNET at the end of 2006 and now operates as an independent investor and entrepreneur, [..] She is also active in public affairs and was founding chairman of ICANN" 
  2. ^ a b c "Biographical Data on Esther Dyson". Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Retrieved on 2008-10-12. "Esther Dyson, former Chairman of the ICANN Board [..] She was appointed as one of ICANN's nine initial directors in October 1998. She served as an ICANN director until 16 November 2000." 
  3. ^ "Edge: Esther Dyson". Edge Foundation, Inc.. Retrieved on 2008-10-12. "Esther Dyson is editor of the computer-industry newsletter, Release 1.0, a CNET Networks publication" 
  4. ^ Esther Dyson on Charlie Rose
  5. ^ Esther Dyson in Reason Magazine
  6. ^ Esther Dyson on Huffington Post
  7. ^ George, Don (1997-11-04). "Road Warrior: Esther Dyson". Salon Wanderlust. Retrieved on 2008-10-12. "Esther Dyson, one of the preeminent visionaries of the digital age -- and a quintessential road warrior [..] She also invests in and sits on the boards of several U.S. start-ups. In addition, Dyson is chairwoman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil liberties organization" 
  8. ^ "Space Adventures Announces Esther Dyson as Back-Up Crew Member for Spring 2009 Spaceflight Mission". Space Adventures. 2008-10-07. Retrieved on 2008-10-12. "Esther Dyson, an investor in Space Adventures [..] will train as the back-up crew member alongside orbital spaceflight candidate Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., who is currently planning a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring 2009. [..] The price of the back-up crew member program is $3,000,000 (USD), which includes the required spaceflight training costs, along with accommodations in Star City" 
  9. ^ See excerpt from Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite by John Brockman (HardWired Books, 1996)
  10. ^ CNET Networks Q4 2006 Earnings Call Transcript
  11. ^ weblog moved to Flickr
  12. ^ New Horizons for the Intrepid VC (

[edit] External links

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