Gene Therapy, Employee Ownership, and More

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to visit Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla at the invitation of Malin Burnham. The Institute is interested in figuring out what the functions of the genes are so that they can devise genomic medicines that can kill cancer. They are leaders in the area of gene therapy. They also are very well acquainted with Craig Venter‘s research — the two Institutes collaborate. This is a tremendously interesting area for research. I will track the progress in both areas and play some role, be it financial or otherwise, in supporting this work.

I also spent some time with John Tishler, an attorney with Sheppard Mullin here in San Diego. John is a close friend who has helped on most all of my legal matters, whether they are personal or whether they involve the Foundation. He asked us as a personal favor to meet with a Sheppard Mullin client who is in Southern California. This client has built a very successful business that he totally owns with annual revenues of more than $100 million. He is about 82 years old, and he wanted some advice on how to structure his company because he doesn’t want to run it much longer. His business will revert to his offspring, but he has not spent much time bringing them up to speed. Although I took the opportunity to expound the virtues of employee ownership, it’s clear that his company will never be employee owned. I told him he should figure out how to talk to his kids so that if anything unexpected happened they would know how to run it. I think that the advice was appreciated.

My second visit with John last week was to take him out on Solutions on Friday. John, Bill Proffer and his son accompanied us to Oceanside. It was a great trip and a lot of fun.

We are writing this blog entry at 45,000 feet headed for Washington D.C. at 645 miles per hour. As the reader may know, we’re planning to spend the week interviewing people for the book we’re writing on the Internet and Network Solutions. We have a full schedule, and we’ve already received some input from folks like Steve Lukasik on the very early days of the network which developed into the Arpanet.

— Bob