New 23andMe Ancestry Ambassadors Group

Today we’re announcing the creation of the 23andMe Ancestry Ambassadors group, composed of ancestry enthusiasts in the 23andMe Community. 23andMe customer CeCe Moore and Product Manager Mike Macpherson, PhD will lead the new group. Building the best possible personal genetics service has always been 23andMe’s goal, and this group will help to ensure that we take full advantage of our Community’s knowledge and experience to achieve that goal. The inaugural members of the new group are:
  • CeCe Moore (TangledVine)
  • Andrea Badger (AndreaBadger)
  • Ann Turner MD (Ann DNACousins)
  • Larry Vick (Larry Vick)
  • Shannon Christmas (AncientPlanter)
  • Tim Janzen MD (Tim Janzen)
This group will help guide and influence product development, but will not replace other key sources of feedback we consider when developing a product.  Building a great product requires us to take into account customer interaction on the site, findings from user research, support request emails, Community posts, social media and traditional media responses. The 23andMe Ancestry Ambassadors add another high-quality source of feedback. This is a small group, as it must be in order to be fulfill its purpose. It has been a challenge to select this group from among our Community members, because many of you contribute so frequently and thoughtfully. One of the first tasks of the new Ambassadors group will be to explore ways to recognize a larger number of active Community members for their contributions, and to take advantage of this pool of ancestry knowledge. We’re very excited about this new group and its potential to improve 23andMe’s ancestry service. We look forward to a great 2012.
  • Maureen&Vladimir Markov

    Great group of knowledgeable people well representing the community, thanks to all for your volunteer time and energy! Well able bunch of diplomatic fellows.

    Heres hoping that the” tasks” ‘assigned’ the newly assigned “ambassadors” in no way overshadow any of the old issues pending for quite some time now.

    Perhaps 23&me will now be able to communicate to the representatives reasons for not addressing the long pending issues and they can in turn clearly communicate to the community why they cannot or will not be addressed or responded to here within the community.

    Priorities will be interesting! Looking forward to a whole new approach here and a fantastic new 2012.

  • A good move that bodes well for future success. Excellent choices!

  • Hi! For those of you not familiar with me, I write the blog “Your Genetic Genealogist”. I am seeking feedback both on the 23andMe community forum ( and on my blog here: Please let me know what you would like to see from 23andMe in 2012. I anticipate a great year for us genealogists here at 23andMe.
    Thank you!

  • Good choices – they will represent you well.

    Jim Owston

  • Wonderful idea. You have a great line up of Ambassadors. Good Luck! I plan to share this info on my.

  • 23blog

    Hi Mike,

    It’s really disappointing that you feel this way, because our intent is to be customer friendly during this transition. Let me go through the questions we ask and why.

    The kind of information that you are talking about that is “personal and private” is basic to your profile: name, birth date, sex and current location. We ask this information in part because it is required by the FDA for reporting out information, and it impacts how we report out results. Your risks for certain conditions are different depending on whether you are a man or a woman. In addition we ask ask information about your ethnicity. This too is important in reporting out some health conditions, which are influenced by your ancestry. (Risks are different depending on whether you have European ancestry, or African ancestry or Asian ancestry for instance.)

    We also have some basic opt in or opt out questions. This again is meant to enure that our customers understand what they are opting in or out of in terms of sharing. We also ask about whether our customers want to participate in research. All of this is an attempt to be as transparent as possible and make sure our customers are well informed about their choices. So for example if you opt in to DNA Relatives you will see what types of information is shared in the new feature that wasn’t in the old one. If you opt into research, we explain how your information might be used in our research.

    Again, we are not doing this to hold your information hostage, but to report back the right results, ensure you are informed about sharing and offering you the choice of participating in research or opting out of it.

    • Mike

      Hi 23Blog,
      I appreciate the response back. But, I don’t think you have experienced your “new reporting” tool as a customer would experience it.

      I logged in and could NOT see my reports anymore. You forced me to answer 30+ questions before I could see my reports. I did not answer most of them. But, you forced me to do this or you wouldn’t let me see my reports. You could have had one simple opt in or opt out. Instead you choose to make it painful – trying to get people to give you answers to very personal and private medical information.

      Since I had three people I bought this for, I had to do this three times – for 80-100 questions. It was extremely frustrating!!!

      I support and get why you want this information and that many may give this to you willingly. That is their desire. But, you did NOT make this an easy opt in or opt out. You forced me to go through 80-100 questions before I could see our reports. I skipped them all or provided false information because of what you made me do.

      Again, you could have made this very easy with one question (and you know it); but 23andMe did not. They choose pain and frustration and holding my information hostage until I went through all those questions.


      • 23blog

        Hi Mike,
        I’m sorry you feel this way. I’d hoped that giving you some context about why we ask those questions would help. I am a customer and manage several accounts. Yes I did go through the same set of questions, but I did not have the same reaction as you. Obviously I’m not a normal customer since I work here, but I want to get the most out of our product as any customer and I understand that there are some things I can do to ensure that.

  • 23blog

    Thank you Mike. Whenever you redesign or launch new features there are issues that come up. I will pass all of your comments onto our product team. The more that we can do to keep our customers happy the better, and if we can create a smoother transition from the old experience to the new experience that’s a good thing.