Discover more from Codon
Announcing Homeworld Ideas: A Writing Challenge
Write about biology. Spread good ideas. Compete for $12,500 in prizes.
Writing is a way to will ideas into the world. A good idea — presented clearly, backed by evidence, and packaged in a story — can help you raise money for a cause, rally people to an idea, or shift the directions of a field.
But too many promising ideas are filed away on dusty hard drives, doomed to an eternity of damp, cardboard boxes. And that’s a real shame. More people should share their ideas in public. Public feedback strengthens ideas, and hitting “send” is often the defining step to make an idea feel tangible or actionable.
I want more people to publish their ideas in the open. I want to read more essays about biology. I want to see blog posts become the foundation of new companies. I want to help elevate people with good ideas, especially those outside the ivory tower, in the ivory foothills.
That’s why, today, we’re announcing Homeworld Ideas, a $12,500 writing challenge that invites you to share your visions for how biology can enable a positive and more sustainable future. I’m co-leading this with my friends at Homeworld Collective, a climate biotechnology nonprofit. Runners-up prizes are generously provided by Pillar VC.
Anyone can submit a piece in just about any format – poetry, essays, reportage, science fiction, book chapters, and so on. We’ll give away a $10,000 top prize and $2,500 in additional prizes. We’ll also take the best submissions, publish them online, and share them in this newsletter. You can enter up to three pieces (including work you’ve already published), pseudonyms are okay, and the deadline is October 1st. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be honest, this writing challenge is an experiment. I hope lots of people submit pieces, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. Our hypothesis is that money and marketing (from myself, Homeworld, and Pillar) will incentivize people to share their work and also boost the signal-to-noise ratio of good ideas. But we can’t test this hypothesis without you.
To encourage you to enter, let’s consider a few essays that tangibly bent the arc of a person’s life.
Alexey Guzey’s “How Life Sciences Actually Work” helped him raise money to start a non-profit. Adam Green wrote a brilliant blog, “A Future History of Biomedical Progress,” that helped him start an AI drug discovery company. My friend, Dan Goodwin, wrote a blog called, “What are the most productive communities?” that was read by donors who later helped him co-found Homeworld Collective. Matt Faherty wrote a long report about problems with the National Institutes of Health (that I edited), which was later cited by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce.
All this to say: Give it a shot. If you have a good idea on your hard drive, or stored in a cardboard box somewhere, send it to us. If there’s an idea you’ve been meaning to write down, now is the best time to do it.
If all goes well, this will be the first of many writing challenges, and hundreds of voices will contribute ideas to the radical blossoming of our biological future. We’re excited to read your work.
Subscribe for future posts.