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Biotech Authors: Greg Wind

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Why Did Sergey Brin Stop Blogging?

Remember back in September 2008 when Google co-founder Sergey Brin started a personal blog? TechCrunch was the first to spot it, and it was interesting enough for the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times to pick up the story.

Of course, it was the actual content of the second blog post (the one after the obligatory introduction one) that was the real story there. After all, an executive of a major, public company sharing his genetic predisposition to Parkinson’s disease is not exactly an everyday thing.

The unusual blog post, evidently hosted on Google’s Blogger service, garnered quite some press coverage, and made a lot of people curious about what other insights in Brin’s personal life would follow. After all, the first post said the blog would be reflecting the man’s ‘life outside of work’, and it allowed moderated comments (although none were ever approved after all).

But there never came a third post, and the blog quietly slipped out of the attention stream for lack of updates. Today, the blog is still online, but it’s as dead silent as it’s been for the past 6 months.

So maybe the real question is: why did Sergey Brin start blogging?

I think this excerpt from the blog gives it away:

As a customer of 23andMe, I have always been excited about the product. I have found what pieces of DNA I share with various relatives. I checked whether other Brins were related. I explored my various gene journals — learning, for instance, that I have one copy of the fast twitch muscle fiber. I also looked over the health related entries and found that my genetic risk for most diseases is modestly lower than average but for a few diseases it is modestly higher.

23andMe is the biotech startup that was co-founded by Brin’s wife Anne Wojcicki. The company can map customers’ DNA and help them find information about their ancestry and their risk of getting certain diseases (Mike tried it). Google ended up taking a $3.9 million stake in 23andMe in May 2007, after Brin had personally loaned the company $2.6 million. It’s always been a strange story, and I doubt we’ve heard the end of it.

So what I’m wondering: did Sergey Brin actually start the blog with good intentions, hoping he would find the time in his busy life to share tidbits about the personal part of it, or was this just a way for him to draw a lot of attention to his genetic mutation and - conveniently - how his wife’s new startup plays a role in it?

I guess we’ll never know for sure, unless of course he responds to this on his blog.

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