From Business Writing To Biotech Journalism With Luke Timmerman


Journalism is all about serving the reader. It doesn't matter if you're in sports or biotech, it's all about serving the reader. Luke Timmerman certainly believes this. Luke is a biotech journalist-author and entrepreneur. He's the founder and editor of the Timmerman Report. He is also the author of Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age. Tony Martignetti brings him on to the show to share about his career in journalism and his interest in biotech. Learn how he became inspired to become a journalist. Discover how he found out about biotech despite not knowing anything about it.


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From Business Writing To Biotech Journalism With Luke Timmerman

It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, Luke Timmerman. Luke is a biotech journalist, author and entrepreneur. He is the Founder and Editor of the Timmerman Report, a biotech newsletter. He is also the author of Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age, a biography of the automated DNA sequencing pioneer Leroy Hood. Luke was named 1 of the 100 most influential people in biotech in 2015 by Scientific American. He is still one of the most influential people in biotech now. He has a Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin. In the 2005-2006 academic year, he was awarded the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. As a volunteer, his Climb to Fight Cancer campaign has raised $2.4 million for research at the Fred Hutch Institute. I want to welcome you to the show, Luke.

Thank you, Tony.

I'm thrilled to have you on. I've been following you for many years in my time in biotech. Now that I've come into the world of coaching, I'm thrilled to have this show and be able to bring people on like you to share your story and now we're here. We're at the campfire.

It's a pleasure to be here. I have enjoyed your show. You have a very uplifting style and people need that these days.

Thank you so much. I appreciate that. We're going to go through the process of telling your story and create a free-flowing space for this. The way we're going to do that is through what's called flashpoints, points in your story that have ignited your gifts into the world. We'll give you space to share whatever you're called to share. Along the way, we'll pause and see what's showing up. With that, you can take it away.

My story begins in childhood like many others. Sometimes, as people become adults, they tend to edit out this part of their biography. It's part of becoming who we think we are, but things that happen early on play a big role in influencing our trajectory. I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Wisconsin. I'm an Upper Midwestern boy. This was a small family farm in the 1980s. This is maybe 75 or 80 acres. It was my mom and dad. I'm the oldest son and I had one younger sister.

We had cows, pigs and chickens for a little while. We raised corn, alfalfa and oats and rotated our crops. From a very early age, I had a lot of work to do, helping my dad. I was his good little helper from about the age of 8 or 9, stacking hay bales, shoveling corn, feeding the pigs, cleaning up after them, and spreading the manure on the fields. You get the picture. That was important because it instilled some consistent disciplined work habits.

I would go to school like any kid, but when I came home, I had chores. The pigs needed to be fed, watered and cleaned up after. It didn't matter if I was having a bad day or I got home late or the weather was cold. You have to deal with it and do what needs to be done to help out the whole family. I credit my mom and dad with instilling some of that hard work and consistent and reliable discipline from when I was a kid.


Because I was a child of rural America, I was a little bit isolated. I went to a small public school in Platteville, Wisconsin. I was curious about this wider world, "What's going on out there beyond rural Southwestern Wisconsin?" We've subscribed to the local newspaper. It arrived every day. My parents thought it was important that we be informed and that was one way. I would gobble up news from the local area.

Also, you get the AP wire service reports. This was the Dubuque Iowa Telegraph Herald. It was delivered to our mailbox. I would read this thing after school, "What's going on in Africa?" Occasionally, they have a little article in your hometown newspaper about something like the famine in Ethiopia, "What's that? Where's that?" I was curious.

By the time I was coming through high school and thinking about what I was going to do, journalism seemed like a place where I could explore and learn about that wider world. You could ask pretty much any kind of question you would want of people doing all kinds of things in politics, business, sports and science. It was all out there for you to learn about and that attracted me when it was time to go to college.

Your world is starting to get bigger. The curiosity that you knew you had is now starting to scratch that itch of curiosity. The hard work mentality has been ingrained in you. A lot of our parents have done that for us. The previous generation had this hard work mentality that is instilled in us. That's great to have, but then you start to see that there's a smarter way to work as well that starts to unlock the better ways to get more stuff done without working quite as hard.

That came much later but this is laying the foundation. Like a lot of young people, I go off to college and I don't know what it is that I want to do with the rest of my life. Who does when they're 18 or 20? I knew I liked sports. I watched the local sports teams or the Olympics in the summer on TV and I thought, "Why don't I write about sports and be a sports writer?"

I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the flagship state school where I was from. It had reasonable tuition, great research history, and a lot of things to explore in the big city of Madison. I went there. I'm writing about sports and taking a Liberal Arts curriculum and learning about the principles of journalism. After a while, I get bored with sports. It was something I enjoyed but I didn't want it to be my life's work, so I started looking.

This is the great thing about journalism. You can explore many different aspects of the world. I got interested in local government and city hall county government. Madison is the state capital. You had things happening. The issues of the day are being debated down the street, so I thought, "Why don't I give that a try?" I did a couple of internships and I caught the journalism bug. It's a fascinating way to learn. It’s a peek behind the curtain and see how things work that weren't evident to me growing up on the farm.

As a journalist, you get to decide what you're going to say and nobody can tell you otherwise.

Did you have any assignments as you were doing this that you felt were a super challenge or you ran into maybe some dangerous waters? I know that it's still in Wisconsin, but were there any situations that you wrote about that can ruffle feathers at any moment?

Yes. Way back at my high school newspaper, I wrote a couple of editorials defending a basketball coach who was either being demoted or fired. I can't remember what, but I know that the principal disliked this article and tried to censor it, but it was after all of the newspapers had gone to press. I remember this now. The journalism advisor at that time had printed up, not exactly a retraction but some kind of clarification, which backed away from my strong, opinionated stance and I refused to participate. We had to staple this retraction or backpedal statement to the papers that were going to be distributed to my classmates and I said, "Absolutely not. I will not do such a thing." The teacher said, "You're going to have to sit here in the corner while everyone else does it."

I battled with the then principal as a high school senior. As you've become a professional journalist, you have a whole series of battles with people who may not like your opinion or the line of investigation. I did a series of investigative reports earlier in my career. Conflict is part of the nature of that work. I found that I enjoyed that, not the conflict so much but the editorial independence that as a journalist, you get to decide what it is you're going to say. You're going to decide what you're going to write about and not write about. Nobody can tell you otherwise. That spoke to me and as a through-line through my whole life.

There's something about this that hearkens back to something that coaches often talk about, which is there's your truth and there's a truth. It's always spoken through your own lens of what you've seen. It doesn't mean that whatever you put into paper is the absolute truth and that's okay. Whenever you're reporting, it's something that's based on what you've seen and what you've been able to uncover. You stand by whatever you put onto paper because it's what you've observed.

There are different gradations of this. There is my perspective and opinions. It felt true to me but it's not a verifiable fact of whatever happened with the basketball coach. There's also the investigative reporting, the Woodward and Bernstein. Woodward likes to say that their job is to go get the best obtainable version of the truth. That's the best you can get and it's always subject to further clarification. Other reports can come and change the overall picture. Journalism is a lot like science in this respect. You rely on the facts. You're grounded in some agreed-upon objective reality. It's the best set of facts that you can collect at any one moment and analyze. It's all subject to challenges from outside others and further changes along the way.

Intellectual humility is you have to be open to being wrong. It's one of the things that I often think about. It's hard because when you start to put pen to paper, what if you find out once you've written something that that's not true or the thing that you wrote, you see many years later that was actually not accurate. At that time, all you knew was it’s accurate.

When you make a mistake, you correct it. This is one of the important principles. There are some stories that you look back and they don't age too well. Some do, some don't. That instills some of that humility that's very healthy.

Tell me more about the next steps in your journey. Here you are. You're getting into the politics of Madison, Wisconsin. What happened next?


The big one was moving out to Seattle. I got a summer internship at The Seattle Times. This was between my senior year in the late '90s. The newspaper had won a pair of Pulitzer Prizes. They had a great staff of a lot of veteran reporters and editors like an outstanding regional newspaper. They had an internship program. They brought in 8 or 10 college students like me around the country to come there for a summer and learn. This was thrilling to me to travel far away from home for the first time out of the Midwest and see the mountains and the water of Seattle, the dynamic entrepreneurial and creative vibe of the city, and also to be a part of a terrific regional newspaper.

I looked at this and thought, "This is the place that I could set my sights on with the goal of becoming a daily newspaper reporter." That was my goal in the late '90s. Newspapers were it. They were the primary fact-gathering engines of journalism. The beating heart of journalism in this country were the regional and local newspapers. I thought, "That's where I'll go. If I'm successful, maybe someday I'll go to The Washington Post or The New York Times." That was the longer term down the road.

The beauty of The Seattle Times was that they would take on a young guy who had some demonstrated ability to write well and hit deadlines. Remember, I had been covering Big Ten Sports. I had a number of published clips but I didn't have a specialty at this point. They would take me on and throw me out a lot of different assignments and see what happens. I ended up having a good experience there. I made some good contacts.

I went back to Wisconsin for my first newspaper job and ended up coming back full-time to The Seattle Times in the Spring of 2000. The newspaper was still big and financially healthy at this time. They thought, "We'll take on young Luke and let him cover a variety of assignments." This time, it was business. I thought, "Okay, business. Just general business in the suburbs for your classic cub reporter." I'll take on all kinds of assignments and maybe work on the weekends or nights, the shifts that the veterans don't want. I enjoyed it. I was learning new things all the time, satiating that curiosity.

We ended up having a strike at the newspaper, which was very disruptive and stressful, especially being the low man on the totem pole in terms of seniority in my first year, but that was eventually settled. When the dust settled from that, there were a lot of open jobs, full-time, permanent, decent business reporting jobs. I'll never forget the business editor at that time. She opened the door for me. Remember, I was in the backwoods in the suburban bureau. She said, "I want you to come downtown." I thought, "That's great. I'll actually get a raise," because you start out with poverty wages in entry-level journalism. It's important to pay the rent.

I come downtown and she had two open positions. One was the retail beat. Seattle is home to Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco and REI. Iconic retailing brands established new industrial models in the area. That's interesting, but there was also this beat called biotech. I didn't know anything about biotech. I didn't study Biology. I was a Humanities guy in college, but I looked at this beat and saw a combination of science, human health, business and fascinating entrepreneurial characters.

There were a lot of ingredients for storytelling here. Seattle then and now is one of the hubs of biotech. There was a company called Immunex and that was like the Genentech of Seattle. It's a high-science company that had developed this drug called Enbrel, which is still on the market widely sold now and one of the biggest-selling drugs in history. It's a huge advancement for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and a number of autoimmune conditions.

Get the best obtainable version of the truth.

Immunex in the 2000 to 2001 time frame had just hit the market with this. Their stock had rocketed. For a brief moment, they were worth more than Boeing. The editors of The Seattle Times didn't understand too much of what Immunex did or how this all happened, but something big was happening with Immunex. They thought, "Maybe we should have somebody covering this. Why not this plucky youth? Let him go out there and see what he finds." As long as I had the ability to come back 2 or 3 times a week with a reasonable story that readers in a general audience could process, they were happy.

I had a long leash and a lot of autonomy to go out and visit people in the labs at their companies. I was super intimidated at first. Biotech is high science. People speak in a language I didn't understand. I'm supposed to understand this so that I can explain it to a lay reader. You don't want to mess up, but I found very quickly that I was hooked. I love this stuff and it changed fast. There was so much at stake. There was great butter for storytelling.

Here you are, somebody who doesn't have that technical background. The closest you got to biotech was dealing with pigs, goats, and what have you on the farm. It's more of agriculture. There you are, being at the stage where you're now immersing yourself. It's probably the best thing that you didn't have that background because it gave you that sense to be able to tell the story in a way that connected with people.

I'm often struck by the thought of, how do you have success? You have success because you showed up and prepared yourself. You kept on having the right attitude and hardworking attitude to keep on doing the work, even if it meant taking on the small assignments. When you were prepared and you met opportunity, that's how these things started to evolve.

A lot of people want to fast-forward right to that place where they're like, "Look at me being the CEO or the big personnel in the show making a big impact." Sometimes you got to keep on showing up and seeing what evolves by playing your part in different places. That's what I hear when I hear your story. It's powerful and beautiful to know, especially being in this industry that started along that way with one huge opportunity with Immunex.

What I found was that things got a little easier as time went on. Knowledge begins to accrue. After a while, I'm not so scared anymore talking about rheumatoid arthritis with a scientist. There were other companies down the street working on cancer so I could build out in a series of concentric rings. I've learned some of the basics of how to cover autoimmunity. Now, I got some of the basics on cancer, or at least I know who the experts are, who to call and what to ask. I can translate it into plain English for an everyday editor, reader or person who is a non-scientist.

After about two years or more, I started feeling comfortable. I won't say I have achieved mastery but a lot of journalism for general audiences doesn't have this steep learning curve. To be able to write with sophistication about biotech is very hard. This is a several-year process. I'm thankful that I had that opportunity or that long leash at Seattle Times to spread my wings and learn. Eventually, I decided that I didn't want to rotate off, as it's often the case.

You come to a fork in the road where, "You've done pretty well at biotech, young man. Now, maybe you can cover the major leagues like Microsoft, Boeing or something like that." I thought about it, but there was some debate between me and the then editors about maybe I should stick with biotech and specialize here because it was a competitive advantage that I had built up against a cross-town newspaper rivalry at that point. I felt good and I was still enjoying it. I love writing about this stuff.

I decided to stick with it. I did the MIT fellowship for a year to invest in not getting a degree or a PhD in something, but having a lot of exposure to a lot of great scientists and business people in the Boston area for a full year and no real deadlines and responsibilities. It's a classic academic fellowship. It was nice. That helped me resolve to make this my long-term goal to move from a regional to a national biotech writer.


I then went to Bloomberg News. Suddenly, I'm covering the major leagues like Genentech, Amgen and Gilead, their big appearances at medical meetings, earnings, and all the stuff for a different kind of audience, that professional investor type of audience. I reaffirmed that I enjoyed this subject matter a lot. However, because Bloomberg was big and competing with The Wall Street Journal and such, they weren't that interested in the little companies where a lot of the innovation and the science occurred. I felt like I was covering a little too much corporate earnings and not enough science.

I got the opportunity to join a startup, Xconomy, which I know you've read back in the day. They wanted me to cover local innovation in local hubs like Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, all the way up through the cool thing that might be happening at Genentech without having to cover all the corporate M&A and those big stories. I thought, "This is a great chance for me to stick to the things that I love doing." I was there at Xconomy for 5 to 6 years before getting the itch to write my book, which you referenced. That was going to take a lot of time and focused effort away from the daily hurly-burly deadlines.

I got to a place where Xconomy was in good shape, and there were others who could cover some of the daily news. I decided that I needed to take a break. In this case, being a small company, I needed to leave if I was ever going to finish this book. I had been living modestly. My wife and I were saving some money. We said to ourselves, "Fortunately enough, I can step away for about a year. I can give myself a book leave and then find a job after."

That focused my mind to, "If I'm going to quit my job, I better finish this book and it better be good, but then I'll figure something out after that." A lot of disruption is happening in the journalism world. Things were unstable, but I had the courage and my convictions here. Biotech was what I love to do. I'm good at it. I had some recognition by this point so I thought, "I'll figure something out."

I wanted to comment on this because your book is not a light read. It's a lot. It's a great book. I enjoyed it, but it's very different. It's quite a departure from writing short pieces. It's quite an endeavor when you say, "I'm going to do this." Did you feel like you're taking quite a risk besides the risk of leaving your business? What if it didn't translate for the audience? Did you have that feeling?

It was a risk but I thought there was a great story here with Lee Hood's life. It had not been told, so nobody had written a book about it. It's like a window into the founding of the genomics field and personalized medicine applications. I thought, "I had been training my whole career to that point to tell a story like this." It struck me as clear that I'm also the right person to tell this story. I proposed this to Lee. I said, "I would like to do a book about you and sit down and do a bunch of interviews while you're still alive." He was in his 70s at that point. He thought that sounded like a good idea. I went off and did it.

I love it when you say you feel like you're the right person to do this. I was curious if there were other people saying, "Luke, you got to be the one to do this. You got to do this book," or if it was just you who said, "I think it's time for me to do this book. This was my idea from the get-go."

It was more internally-driven. I don't remember people saying this was a great idea.

They're all saying you're crazy.

Not exactly but it was like, "Are you sure about this, Luke? He is not a household name." The time I was thinking about this, Walter Isaacson came out with his Steve Jobs book. I read that avidly and thought, "This is a pretty good analogy. Is there someone in biology in biotech who has had a catalytic impact on the field? Could I come in there and tell that story?" That's how the gears got turning for me and pointing me toward Hood.

Before we move further down your path, was there any period in your investigative career as a journalist that you felt you had a lot of friction or you felt like you were in a room with people with who you felt out of place?

Many times.

It's that feeling of uncomfortableness around certain executives, certain people, and that kind of thing.

Not so much in the reporting. There are always conflicts you're going to have with sources. Sometimes they disagree with your interpretation of events. I certainly had disagreements with Lee Hood who interpreted some of the events in his life differently than I did, and some of the others around him. That's par for the course. You need to have thick skin as a journalist. You're not going to last very long, otherwise. There were conflicts within companies that I worked in big newsrooms about editors that want to prioritize coverage of this that I don't necessarily agree with.

You need to have thick skin as a journalist. You're not going to last very long otherwise.

I remember once the mad cow disease story was big in the early 2000s. I remember telling the editor, "This is nonsense. This is not a big pandemic scare." They had splashed it all on the front page that day and I was objecting. He was like, "Why don't you write the second-day story that says, 'This is a little bit overblown?'" I was like, "You don't get it. That shouldn't be my job. We were going a little too far sensationalist." That would be one example. There are business imperatives in journalism. There's always a tension there between church and state. Newsroom leaders need to be very mindful of, are you doing things to serve the reader or are you doing this to pay the bills? You need to keep these things in balance.

I can see that is a big challenge, especially because there are a lot of things at play here and a lot of stakeholders. It's not just the readers but it's also thinking about how this impacts, especially when there are patients involved in biotech. How will the news that you're reporting impact the patient communities if you slant it one way or another? How will people react in different ways to what's happening?

You want to be fair and measured. Keep things in proportion. In the case of health science journalism, don't raise false hope. That's often a problem. Don't exaggerate things. Try to keep things in their proper context. Maybe that makes the story a little more boring sometimes, so be it.

I'm inclined to ask you some questions about, what have you learned about your journey up to this point? What are the key lessons you've learned about yourself along this path that you want to share with people?

I'm a mission-driven guy. I think about the readers, first and foremost. The business and my livelihood will follow. It's a little bit like the old twist on the old George Merck saying that if you focus on the patients, the profits will follow. The better that you focus on the patients, the larger the profits will be. That speaks to me as a journalist. Sometimes we in our field can lose sight of that because the concept of the reader is amorphous, "Who is that?" There are many people with many perspectives. How can you possibly serve them all?

It’s the mission and having that North Star serving the readers with quality biotech journalism. I used to say that I wanted to foster a greater public understanding of biotechnology through journalism. That's a pretty tall order. I'm idealistic. I need to be in an environment where I can speak my mind, identify the things that I think are high priority, and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe this makes me stubborn, independent and a good candidate to become an entrepreneur.

I learned this over the course of my career. I had gotten to a point where I had some success in biotech journalism. I was self-motivated. I had those disciplined work habits, getting up early in the morning and making sure everything is done at night before you go to bed. I didn't need a boss telling me what was a story and what wasn't. I had the opportunity to start my own company, the Timmerman Report. I wanted to do it on my own terms. I didn't think that the advertising-free model was going to be very sustainable for the kind of quality journalism that I wanted to do. It created some incentive structures that I don't think are healthy. It was pandering to the lowest common denominator. I thought that could mislead people.

For better or worse, I would set up a paywall and ask the people who are most committed to the industry and see the most value in my kind of in-depth reporting to pay for it to create a reader-supported publication. I hung out my own shingle there in early 2015 and that was a big risk. There were a lot of nerves about doing that. I got some early confirmation from 400 or so subscribers who signed up for a year in that first month. I thought, "This business model is not completely crazy. If I show up every day, if I'm consistent and delivering value, that subscriber base will grow and accrue over time," and it has.

When I look at what you've created, it's powerful. It starts with what you've been able to build before you started your business, which is a strong reputation for good journalism. Being a good supporter and advocate for the business in general, and having that good reputation has allowed you to build this business. A lot of people underestimate having the ability to build that network before jumping in and having a business. It's a big risk. There's no doubt about it going into business and then creating this model. Ultimately, it starts with having a good foundation.

It's also a product of time and circumstances. Here I was and I recognized all those things you say, but there was a big disruption that was happening in the publishing world. The newspapers had gone through their big decline and disruption. There weren't as many voices out there offering what I was going to offer to the readers. I had just enough of a reputation at that point to persuade people to come along and support this quality journalism, and you'll be rewarded through your subscription as the years go by.


I want to transition to one last question before our very last question. What is one thing that's on your mind right now that you want to share with people about the work you're doing that you think is important, especially given the fact that we're in this stage of the pandemic that we're in?

I trace it back to the mission. It has evolved somewhat for me. A couple of years in after starting the Timmerman Report, I got this thing established. I knew I could pay the bills to support my family and I felt like I needed something more. I had this influence in the industry, but that's a little bit amorphous like, what actually is that? What am I influencing people to do exactly? I have some basic principles that you can pick up on through following my reading, writing and speaking, but I decided I needed to channel some of that influence into good causes more directly.

Thus was born the Climb to Fight Cancer. I know we don't want to give you the whole chapter for some Climb to Fight Cancer at Fred Hutch. At that point, I had been climbing mountains for over fifteen years or so at the highest peaks in North and South America. I thought, "I'm ready to climb Mount Everest now. If I'm ever going to do it, this is the time.” If I do it, I knew I could channel some of that readership. That biotech community. I could encourage them to give big, to support basic science, and effectively support patients and science, and live up to a lot of the stated ideals of the industry.

I thought that was something I could do with my influence, reputational capital, or whatever you want to call it. I could do something bigger and make a bigger difference through Climb to Fight Cancer. The Everest climb was a big success. I put together a team to go climb Kilimanjaro the following year. We've raised over $2 million for cancer research. I've since expanded this now into Life Science Cares in the Boston area to fight poverty. That's another campaign that in 2021 alone has raised close to $400,000 and more coming. This gets me excited as an additional way to have a positive impact on the world. I do it through my journalism, but I also do it through direct community mobilization and action.

It makes you feel as though it's not just about making money and writing, but it's about seeing there's a direct impact you can make by putting something good out into the world. People feel that and people love being part of something like that. It is making an impact on people's lives. Part of the reason why I got into biotech in the first place is this feeling of wanting to be able to do something that makes an impact. I love hearing this. This is so amazing.

It's a great industry. Coming back to my point about Microsoft, I could write about the latest rollout of Windows, something or the other. That didn't speak to me like coming up with a powerful new drug for rheumatoid arthritis. I interviewed those patients. I saw the difference that it made for them and that is part of what set the hook. There's all this science going on, but it's not just a paper that appears in nature, science or the New England Journal. It reaches all the way through and alters people's lives. That is super exciting. It gets many people in this industry out of bed in the morning and me too.

What are two books that have had an impact on you and why?

I already alluded to the Steve Jobs book by Walter Isaacson. That's part of what inspired me to do the Hood book. That's one. Another that I've read is by Robert Putnam called The Upswing. Putnam, you might recall, is the author of Bowling Alone that was a bestseller, talking about the fraying community ties and the shift toward individualism in the United States. He has done this book called The Upswing. He draws on tremendous research from a whole variety of sources going back 150 years that tell the American story through the lens of swings between individualism and communitarianism.

We've had these long arcs in our history. You can measure this in a number of ways. Now, we're in a very individualistic period. There's not a lot of trust in community institutions or a lot of involvement in community activities, but his thesis is that this could be a trough. This forces intention and they have a tendency to rebalance each other. He posits that we could be heading toward an upswing of more community engagement.

Coming back to the things that I described doing like Climb to Fight Cancer, trying to bring people together to do something big for people other than themselves, I take some heart in that. I do see a yearning in the biotech community to become something more than just the best CEO they can be. You want to do very well in your professional life. We all do, but that's not the only thing in life. You have a lot of ability to impact others. If you think about it, find ways to engage creatively like this, but there could be other things in your local community. I recommend The Upswing by Robert Putnam.

I'm grabbing that book. I love it because it fills us with such hope and optimism for the future. It also empowers us to take charge of that, not just wait for someone else to take ownership of that. If we can take our own responsibility for creating that collective community, then together, that all happens. It's not like waiting around and hoping that it happens.

If I can do it, you can do it. Let's do it together.

This has been amazing, Luke. I'm thrilled and honored to have you on. It has been great knowing your stories and insights. Keep up doing all the amazing work. I'm looking forward to going on a climb with you at some point soon, hopefully.

Thanks, Tony.

Before we let you go, I want to make sure people know where they can find you if they want to reach out and learn more.

They can go to

Thank you to readers for coming on the journey with us. I hope you enjoyed the show. We'll see you next time.

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About Luke Timmerman

1516303769082Before founding Timmerman Report in 2015, Luke wrote about the biotech industry for a regional newspaper (The Seattle Times), a global financial publication (Bloomberg News), and an online startup (Xconomy). Luke's first book, “Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age" was called a "must-read" by Forbes, and named one of the "100 Best Indie Books of 2017" by Kirkus Reviews.

Luke was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview in 2015. He has won a number of journalism awards. They include the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, the Association of Health Care Journalists Award, and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) award. Luke received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997. For the 2005-2006 academic year, he was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT.

Outside of work, Luke enjoys running, family camping trips, and mountaineering. He reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world at 29,032 ft./8,849 m, on May 22, 2018. His Climb to Fight Cancer campaigns, mobilizing the biotech community to support cancer research at Fred Hutch, have raised more than $2.4 million. He lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter.

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