When Tuiten, a disheveled, youthful 58-year-old, told me the story of how he conceived of Lybrido and Lybridos, there was something sad and funny and metaphorically perfect about it — it was a tale of scientific ingenuity stemming from a young man’s broken heart. Tuiten was in his mid-20s when his girlfriend, a woman he’d been in love with since he was 13, abruptly decided to leave him. “I was — flabbergasted. You can say that?” he asked me, making sure, in his choppy English, that he was using the right word. “I was shocked. I was suffering.” He was an older university student at the time; before that, he’d been a furniture maker. The breakup inspired a lifelong quest to comprehend female emotion through biochemistry and led to his career as a psychopharmacologist. “I’m a little bit — not insane,” Tuiten said. “But. There became a need for me to understand my personal life in this way.
My life improved greatly when I realized I could hear “Weightless” by Brian Eno any time I want, in my head.
[Paul Graham] wanted to isolate patterns that portended ill, which he called “negative predictors.” He was already aware of a few — investors tended to be biased against older founders, for instance. “The cutoff in investors’ heads is 32,” Graham says. “After 32, they start to be a little skeptical.” And Graham knew that he had his own biases. “I can be tricked by anyone who looks like Mark Zuckerberg. There was a guy once who we funded who was terrible. I said: ‘How could he be bad? He looks like Zuckerberg!’ … But after ranking every Y.C. company by its valuation, Graham discovered a more significant correlation. “You have to go far down the list to find a C.E.O. with a strong foreign accent,” Graham told me.