23andMe genotyped our one millionth customer last week. Today we celebrate one million customers: #PowerOf1Million.However, one million is more than a number. It’s a turning point.There are now one million people driving change. People are taking control of their data. People are taking ownership of personal information about themselves. People believe knowing more about who they are can benefit society, not just the individual.
Fifty years ago, doctors were reluctant to tell patients if they had cancer. The world is different today.One million customers ago, attendees were shocked at the annual American Society of Human Genetics conference when direct-to-consumer genetic testing services were announced, now they are asking to expand these direct-to-consumer services to more diverse communities.One million customers ago, the world didn’t know how consumers would react to direct-to-consumer testing, but now there are studies showing consumers don’t overreact to their results.One million customers ago, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act in the United States didn’t exist and other personal data protection laws were not in place as many are now around the globe.One million customers ago, Americans didn’t have direct access to health laboratory results. The United States recently mandated individuals can get laboratory test results directly from the laboratory upon request.The power of one million is a new milestone for us, however, the power of one is just as important. One person’s contribution to research at 23andMe informs over 230 genetic studies.When people power research the opportunity to change and radically accelerate the pace of new breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of disease starts to become reality.That’s the power of one million.