Serial entrepreneur, historian and dreamer Jay Walker joined Glenn on radio Wednesday for an epic conversation about the future of America.
“If you are a dreamer and a doer, this is going to be a fantastic hour. I have wanted to sit down with this guy for quite some time,” Glenn said Wednesday on radio.
Walker — labeled the Edison of his age by Forbes in 1999 — is a modern-day Renaissance man. While his day job involves creating cutting-edge companies like Priceline.com and Upside.com that provide a patented, buyer-driven experience, his obsession is finding the connectedness . . . in everything. The breakthroughs he sees coming in the fields of health and medicine are of particular interest.
“For 3 billion years, life on the planet has followed a very simple system,” Walker said. “We all share the same DNA — a tree, a dog, a human. We have so much in common. For the first time in human history, in the history of the world, humans have control of the operating code. We are now manipulating the DNA, which means, for the first time, it’s as if we had the software of life.”
Walker explained how scientists are at the cusp of operating down to the instructional layer, which creates the proteins that create the tissues, systems and organs of the body.
“It’s almost as if we’re inventing printing, reading, writing and thinking all at the same time in forms of medicine,” Walker said.
In effect, we’re living in an extraordinary time in the history of the world.
“We’re at the end of the medical Dark Ages,” Glenn offered.
So passionate is Walker about the field of medicine he helped launch TEDMED, an independent health and medicine edition of the world-famous TED conference.
“How far do you think we are away from curing the majority of cancer?” Glenn asked.
According to Walker, it’s not so much curing cancer that’s around the corner, but being able to manage it as a livable disease like AIDS.
“How far do you think we are away from that?” Glenn asked.
“If you’re saying leukemias and blood cancers, we’re probably five years, maybe 10,” Walker said.
“Holy cow,” Glenn responded.
Walker’s belief in the systematic, connectedness of everything even applies to his remarkable library which holds 25,000 books.
“People come to my library and they say, ‘How are the books organized, Jay? How do you organize the books? You have 25,000 books. Is there a card catalog?’ I say, ‘Absolutely not. They’re organized randomly by height,'” Walker laughed.
The library, Walker says, is one of imagination.
“They were all written by humans. They’re all connected. You figure out why this is connected to that. The act of imagining is the essential act of creation. Nothing happens if you don’t imagine it, whether it’s who you’re going to marry, the children you want to have, the kind of country you want to live in, the kind of job you want to have. It’s all about your imagination. Everything happens here first. It happens in your head.”
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