Bill Maris has had an eclectic career. He studied neuroscience and Shakespeare in college, started his career as a portfolio manager picking biotech investments and got smitten by the idea of entrepreneurship during the internet boom. His startup went through hell after the dotcom crash but Maris survived and eventually sold the firm before rebooting his life. After taking a two-year break with a social project that involved a novel hydrophobic acrylic lens for cataract surgery, his career took an unexpected twist at Susan’s. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had first set up shop at Susan Wojcicki’s garage, and Maris being Susan’s friend happened to connect with them and the rest as they say is history. In his second innings, Maris as president and managing partner of Google Ventures has built a formidable team and so far has poured $2 billion into about 300 fledglings that include Uber, which is also its biggest investment. Maris is personally both passionate and bullish about life sciences and in recent times famously said, “Today, it’s possible to live to be 500.” While that statement is more headline grabbing, his larger point is about how life sciences today is at the cusp of helping to slow or reverse ageing, fight disease and elongate our lifespan.
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You can read the first edition of Masterspeak that was published in 2013. Some of the world’s finest thinkers offer their insights, advice and food for further thought in this Collector’s Issue