Esther Dyson is a board member and angel investor for a long list of startups. Her primary focus right now is on health technology (e.g. FitBit, Health Gauge, HealthEngage) and healthcare, but she also dabbles in aerospace, worldwide. By “dabbles”, we mean she went to Moscow and was trained as a backup cosmonaut. She has a Harvard degree in economics and cut her teeth as a fact-checker for Forbes before moving into a research and reporting role that gave her the foundation of knowledge she uses as an investor.
Dyson was one of the early investors in the online photo sharing surge, backing companies such as Flickr. As a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council she helps entrepreneurs scale up their businesses. In an interview with the BBC’s Tanya Beckett, Dyson said one of the greatest challenges for entrepreneurs is finding people who are better than they are who can help them mature and achieve their full potential.
“Always make new mistakes.”
“Think about what you’re doing and how the technology can enhance it. Don’t think about technology first.”
“From the business point of view—not to overstate it—intellectual property is dead; long live intellectual process. Long live service; long live performance.”
“Change means that what was before wasn’t perfect. People want things to be better.”
“A worker’s paradise is a consumer’s hell.”
“Without order, planning, predictability, central control, accountancy, instructions to underlings, obedience, discipline—without these things nothing fruitful can happen, because everything disintegrates. And yet—without the magnanimity of disorder, the happy abandon, the entrepreneurship venturing into the unknown and incalculable, without the risk and the gamble, the creative imagination rushing in where angels fear to tread—without this, life is a mockery and a disgrace.”
“I don’t like wasting things and I don’t like redundant effort. It offends me when people do useless work.”
“It may not always be profitable at first for businesses to be online, but it is certainly going to be unprofitable not to be online.”
“The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect.”
-Esther Dyson, Investor