I'm a senior writer at WIRED, where I cover the business of technology. I'm also the author of Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life (Current/Penguin 2011), the story of a global hacker movement seeking to do for biotech what Steve Jobs did for personal computing. Before joining WIRED, I was a reporter in the San Francisco bureau of The Associated Press.
"Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life" recounts my deep dive into the world of DIY DNA. My adventure took me from open-source software to bioterror to the quest to build new forms of life gene by gene. At least as intriguing to me as the biology was the drive of these young scientists to forge new ways of thinking about how change and discovery happen in science, and about who gets to decide the way forward.
Even after several years in the Bay Area, I had still thought of "innovation" and "entrepreneurship" as code words for "let's make lots of money." In the mouths of many, they still are. Among the biopunks, I discovered a community of idealists who believed that that entrepreneurial thinking joined with a desire for authentic innovation could be a strategy for dramatic social change.