Why he left consumer tech for health

Sean Parker speaks onstage at WIRED25 Summit: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tech Icons Of The Past & Future on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images

Sean Parker speaks onstage at WIRED25 Summit: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tech Icons Of The Past & Future on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Sean Parker, founder of Napster as well as the first president of Facebook, pivoted to medical technology because he worried about how his social media as well as consumer internet products were impacting society.

“You’re not 100 percent sure if you’re having a totally positive or totally negative impact inside planet when you’re working in consumer internet,” Parker explained at the Wired25 conference in San Francisco on Monday.

“You’re spending a lot of time trying to make your products as addictive as possible. Transitioning to life sciences can be incredibly refreshing, because you definitely feel as though the energy as well as time you are putting into in which are helping people. in which’s about saving lives, definitely changing people’s lives, advancing medicine.”

Parker said he could never have predicted the impact Facebook would likely have on today’s world, pointing out the move to mobile made in which “ubiquitous” as well as “rewire(d) the fabric of society.” In 2016, he started out the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) to develop better cancer treatments.

“I, at some point, got a little bit frustrated with the monoculture of the consumer internet world,” Parker said. “in which feels somewhat unsatisfying to constantly make products for teenage girls…. You worry about what in which effect may be having on their development as well as on society.”

in which was refreshing to work with scientists instead of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, he said.

“Every 22-year- old shows up at your doorstep with in which sort of belief in which they are going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, as well as they deserve to be a billionaire, as well as their company deserves an absolutely obscene valuation,” Parker said.

Scientists find the work itself “the true reward,” Parker said. His completely new work reminds Parker of the early days working on the Internet when people like him were more interested in generating products in which were “great for the planet.”

“Scientists have a level of humility where they have quite a bit of pride in their work, as well as being published can be important, as well as being recognized by your peers can be important, as well as having an impact on patients can be important – nevertheless scientists aren’t running around trying to get rich as well as don’t possess the same distorted expectations about how rich they are going to become,” he pointed out.

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