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Whenever I see DIY (do-it-yourself)  genetic testing, it evokes thoughts of forensic analysis. One particular company comes to mind: 23andMe, of which I am not an advocate in particular. Privacy is a significant concern to me.

I do advocate genetic testing for specific purposes e.g. as part of amniocentesis, or for medically necessary diagnostics or screening. (I also endorse small-pox, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and other vaccinations!) The right to privacy was not easily achieved. Why reveal intimate and personally identifying information, especially to a small, privately held company?

In fact, I often confuse 23andMe with 37Signals. 23andMe is associated with genetic and DNA typing, and sharing of that information in a way that I don’t quite understand. The rationale for 23andMe is the 23 chromosomes of Homo sapiens. 23andMe’s official company blog, The Spittoon, is graced with the sub-title:

“More than you’ve come to expectorate”

37Signals, on the other hand, is the former holding company for TypePad and maybe Movable Type, both of which are useful for content management, digital publishing and blogging.

I just checked, and found that 37Signals seems to be quite a bit more, although it is best to let it speak for itself, rather than for me to try to articulate its purpose in a sentence! The use of prime numbers in company names is partly to blame for my confusion. I do not know what the rationale is for the 37 of 37Signals.

To further complicate matters, there is 43Folders, whose introductory salvo, in September 2004, was

productivity can be like sausage; no one likes seeing it discussed at length on the internet by middle-aged men

43Folders is “Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work”. There must be something of substance there, else 43Folders would not have existed as a going concern for nearly a decade. 43Folders is responsible for pithy little insights about patent law:

The much-discussed Lodsys patent is, in fact, an 89-page abomination that makes the patents I’ve had to deal with look like an E.B. White essay

and shared wisdom:

When people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past

I still am no closer to determining why there are 43 folders, rather than say, 41 folders.

Do you know of any other companies that use prime numbers in their names?

I was trying to determine if this were part of a series: 23, 37, 43. I haven’t discerned any relationship. Feel free to chime in with lots of friendly, or contentious comments.