Guru, lady, Digerati? Esther Dyson turns 70


Network guru, first lady of the Internet, libertarian capitalist, digerati, even “ruler without land, land and time” and now also Mother Theresa of the good life: Esther Dyson has many names. She simply sees herself as an entrepreneur and investor. Esther Dyson will be 70 years old on Wednesday.

Black and white portrait of Esther Dysons

Black and white portrait of Esther Dysons

Esther Dyson im August 2008

(Picture: Bob Lee CC BY 2.0)

With her company EDVenture Holdings, she initially produced newsletters and later influential conferences. After all, she explained the rules of the game in digital society in a book and was head of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which globally coordinates the assignment of domain names and IP addresses). When the Berlin Wall came down, Russian-speaking Dyson invested in Eastern European startups.

Esther Dyson came as the daughter of the Swiss mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson and the British physicist Freeman Dyson on July 14, 1951 in Zurich. Her parents moved to America; the father taught at Princeton, the mother moved to the west coast after the divorce in 1958. Esther stayed with her father and grew up with five sisters and one brother George on. She studied economics at Harvard and wrote for the student newspaper Harvard Crimson.

After graduation, the woman went to Forbes magazine as a fact checker. In 1982 she worked as an analyst at Rosen Research, where she wrote Electronic Letter for Rosen. A year later, she bought the company from Ben Rosen, who in turn would be chairman of the Compaq supervisory board for many years. Rosen Research became EDventure Holdings.

The monthly letter was renamed “Release 1.0” and appeared until 2006 under the direction of Dyson. The publisher O’Reilly bought the newsletter, and called it in Release 2.0. All old issues are available online. They are still very interesting read to this day.

With the fall of the wall, Esther Dyson started another important newsletter, “Rel-EAST”, subtitled “East-West High-Tech Business Report”. In addition, the versatile entrepreneur developed a conference series called PC-Forum. The conference on everything that moved the young PC industry ran from 1984 to 1992 and was then renamed the High-Tech Forum, later the East-West High-Tech Forum.

In parallel to the newsletter and the conferences, Esther Dyson began investing through her EDVenture Holdings in those companies that presented new ideas at their conferences. The List of your investments is long and incomplete. She probably achieved her greatest financial success with Flickr, where she is an avid swimmer and is well worth seeing Portfolio of swimming pools and made friends.

Esther Dyson described the Internet and the struggle for the freedom of the Internet as the greatest investment adventure, which began with her involvement with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF’s 30th birthday will take place in a few days Fireside-Chat held by the founder of this organization. There is already great interest in Dyson’s meeting with Wozniak, Kapor and Gilmore.

Her connection to the Internet led her to the publication of a book called Release 2.0 / 2.1 in which she tried to explain Internet society and the rules of the game to a wider audience. Telepolis has published the interview for the book release 2.0 / 2.1. Unfortunately, the very first “Tagesschau-Chat” held in November 1997, in which Esther Dyson vehemently defended freedom of speech in the American sense, is no longer online. At that time she was the boss of ICANN, this “world government of the Internet”. In Germany, Esther Dyson was honored with an award in 2009 when she was the backup astronaut for Charles Simonyi for the Space flight trained.

Five years ago she was part of a group of IT influencers who opposed Donald Trump’s election. If you want to know what moves Esther Dyson today with her commitment to the rather abstract term “well-being”, that’s it Interview about the Wellville project recommended, which was accepted shortly before the election of Joe Biden as US President.