23-and-me = Small amounts of Facts + Smart marketing

The trigger for this post came out of the 1 day drive trip to 17 Mile Drive, Pacific Grove via the scenic Hwy 1 with the CCC friends (Chennai CEOs in California) Asif Ali, Senthil Nayagam and myself . (BTW, if you are in California or visiting California HWY 1 should be on your TODO list). As you can imagine what would have happened; the trip was dominated by intellectual masturbation starting from Software to Genetics. As you can guess by now, why 23andme figured in that discussion.

Listening to all the interesting stuff on 23andme from my friends, I put a reminder to sign up for 23andme. And today being Sunday, I started the process. As usual, I wanted to do a quick check before I hit the “Sign Up” button and I found some interesting reviews that I thought worth sharing.

http://singularityhub.com/2011/04/11/free-dna-analysis-from-23andme-good-gimmick-tired-technology/

If I were to make a recommendation, it would be this: think of these tests as exercises in scientific curiosity. If you want a serious medical analysis, spend more time with your doctor and health professional. If however, you are interested in looking at pieces of DNA just to see what you can learn, then this kind of personal genomics may be exactly what you want. There’s really no better time to satisfy that intellectual itch, so shell up the $108 and order from 23andMe today.

And, then I found this super detailed post from Aaron Saenz:

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/04/why-23andme-genetic-testing-is-a-waste-of-time-and-money/

My suggestion is that unless you have a specific reason behind your motivation, don’t bother with genetic testing services, especially if you’re not of European ancestry and you’re under the age of 30. I can see how it may be useful as a preemptive measure for people with a family history of a debilitating disease, or for people who are seeking out long-lost relatives. But for the rest of us, the money is probably better spent towards a gym membership, more fruits and vegetables and health/life insurance. And not having to worry for the rest of your life about something that may or may not happen to you? That’s priceless.

So, I decided to put the signup on hold and write this post! I have to force shutdown the curiosity daemon in me. BTW, on a side note, my dear friend Senthil thought I am pro-Google. So, by his definition I should have signed up for this service, as the 23-and-me funding story  is painted “Google” all over the place. Senthil should be happy now. :-) !

23-and-me has employed smart marketing around small amount of facts from the genetic analysis to signup all the early adopters.  It has a long way to go before it becomes really useful. Just like in “web search” unless you are able to index “the whole web” there is little usefulness  And, indexing “the-whole-human-race” is a project “Google-to-the-order-of-10″. And, no wonder Google is involved!

It is a great project – will have to keep a tab on it!

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