The Yin of Startups

  • Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi 1962

The Yang of Startups

  • It is not the critic who counts...the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...who knows great enthusiasms, and great devotions...who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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April 03, 2010


Kiran Bellubbi

Hey Dan,

First off, that was a fantastic post on your blog. I read it and I can't agree more with you. I think society is totally unprepared for the changes to come in the bio-engineering space.

I am not a religious person at all, in fact I am an atheist, but, I was brought up a Hindu. My mum and dad are religious and they live by some fundamental principles which are true to Hinduism. Now, since Hinduism is a way of life the religion attempts to structure your life in certain ways: there are four fundamental stages in a persons life:

In Hinduism, human life is believed to comprise four stages. These are called "ashramas" and every man should ideally go through each of these stages:

* The First Ashrama - "Brahmacharya" or the Student Stage
* The Second Ashrama - "Grihastha" or the Householder Stage
* The Third Ashrama - "Vanaprastha" or the Hermit Stage
* The Fourth Ashrama - "Sannyasa" or the Wandering Ascetic Stage

Not only do the religious books dictate this breakdown, they also put ages on each: for example the Householder Stage is ideally from 25 to 50.

Most Hindu's just use this as a rule of thumb, but, a majority of the 1.3 billion people in the country implicitly follow these rules in their lives. It is very common for young people even today to be asked, quite frequently, about "any good news" immediately after marriage (25-30 is the time frame for marriage for example).

The disruption caused by this technology can have far reaching implications socially in a country like India where religion, life, work, spirituality are all intertwined and inter-related. I shudder to think what these clinics would be treated like in India if they challenge the social structure pre-defined by millenia of hindu practice.

Even in the developed economies, I would guess that the religious right would label and threaten these businesses at a level far greater than what we see with Planned Parenthood today. Would this even be permitted in the Wahabi Muslim countries in the middle east where this could mean a completely unknown level of rights for women who presently do not even get suffrage. Another bizarre thought experiment is in China: where they are suffering from a massive problem with regards to gendercide (the economist had really good coverage of the problem), would they make it mandatory for women to freeze their eggs in government controlled labs which could then be used to balance out the population again?

I was also reading recently about bio-engineering cosmetic body parts which is becoming a fly-by-night business in some parts of the world and it could become a legitimate worldwide market very soon and could be add-on services offered by labs but to the current body piercing and tattooing consumer market. The world is not prepared for this at all: can you imagine somebody with an extra cosmetic eye on his neck riding the L with you? anyways.. this is a topic for a different discussion...

Thanks for the post though!

קוסמטיקאית ברמת גן

Whatever choices they make, the biological clock is a factor somewhere either consciously or unconsciously.

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