Let me share a bit of my past. There’s some fine irony here to enjoy.
I grew up fundamentalist Mormon. Mormons believe that we are practicing to be gods ourselves. Fundamentalist Mormons believe that Adam is God. That God himself came to earth to start the whole human race. And so too, (“and so too” is a nice Mormon phrase) we may become Gods ourselves. And then go build our own planets. And people them too. (That's right, the presidency is really just a stepping stone for Mitt Romney. He'll have more wives and many more kids when he gets his own planet someday.)
As a side project, my partner Ayanna and I have been working on a new business, called Think Big. We will act as planet decoration guides to the new crop of gods coming up. One has to have some fun. As I’ll probably not be a god (I left the church), I’ll have to settle for some kind of business tailored to the needs of the gods. Better I get to it.
Enter the futurists.
No sooner did Ayanna and I get our new business started, then the right folks for the job have been showing up. We’ve been meeting synthetic biologists at NASA who are working on the materials we’ll need. We’ve met those who are creating the new economies that will enable such commerce.
And recently we met Sultan Meghji. Sultan is volunteering to be the first Mayor of Mars. He just submitted his resume to Neil de Grasse Tyson.
Sultan may be familiar to some of you from our interview with him.
We had Sultan over for dinner last month to talk about what he’s doing at Appistry, a big data company who has just set up shop in the life sciences. And to let us know what he’s thinking. And we found out.
Sultan's one of those guests who, just after you've interviewed him, you want to turn around and do it again. His father was a geneticist, and he went into IT with a government grant as early as high school. He developed the first non-mainframe market system, has worked in defense, and now brings that experience to biological data. These big data folks from other disciplines come to bio and say "hey, what's the big deal--let's get it done."
"The thought process that got me so that I could take what Appistry is doing . . . and turn it into a genetics platform is the exact same process I used eleven years ago when we built the first non-main frame market systems," he explains in some video we captured.
The promise of personalized medicine is just Number 1 of Meghji's ambitions.
Number 2: He'd like to see an entire new way of doing finance that is more consumer relevant. "There's a way to . . . set up a company to replace all retail banking and all retail loans to consumers with a single unified entity that would be more cost effective, easier to manage, and fit into the lifestyle of everyone in the world."
Number 3: To be off this planet. "A single asteroid could kill us all. And frankly, we need the cultural differentiation-we need the exploring to make our culture more vivid and more exciting."
Little did Ayanna and I know when we started our business to guide the new gods in decorating their own planet that we'd have such expert help.