Juan's Open Road

JUAN ENRIQUEZ

Futurist and Author, CEO
Biotechonomy

“If you’re not scaring the hell out of yourself every once in a while you’re not close enough to the edge. It’s very difficult to go out and do something new. It’s much easier to say ‘to get along, go along.’ It’s also kind of boring.”

INTERESTS:

Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Education Fear Opportunity Risk Transitions Passion Hard Work

TAGS:

being open, cells, change, confidence, easy way out, evolution, genes, genomics, government, Harvard, immigrant, life science, Mexico, new industries, on the edge, programming, science, teaching, the future, war

BIOGRAPHY:

Futurist and author Juan Enriquez has gone from working for the Mexican government to living in the jungle brokering peace treaties to co-founding a company that programs cells the same way we do computer chips. “Life takes some strange turns,” he says, “but it’s always been fun.” Growing up in Mexico, he assumed he would just work for the government, and he did for a while—until a war started and he became a peace negotiator. Tired of getting shot at, he decided to take a short sabbatical at Harvard. That’s where he started learning about an obscure field called genomics and began to write about how being able to read and write the life code of the human genome would change the global economy. His ideas about where the field of genomics is going are big; we’re beginning to directly and deliberately engineer evolution to do what we want it to do, he says, and that will create the opportunity for new pathways—new fields, industries, and jobs that were inconceivable 20 years ago. The possibility of engineering ourselves and other species is the single biggest change going on out there, he says. Does that scare him? Sure. But it’s also exciting, and an incredible adventure. You just need to be open to things and looking for what’s coming next, he says. “How do I get in front of this wave? And then you have to surf it.”

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