At the risk of getting all Holden Caulfield-y on you, I really hate phony. Anything fake or phony drives me to distraction. Dyed hair. Insincere compliments. Ulterior motives. Plastic surgery. Anyone or anything constructing a facade just rubs me the wrong way.
And that is the principal reason I have written so many posts about Theranos (this is my eleventh one) even though it was never a public company and there’s nothing to chart about it. Some have even wondered out loud if I’m obsessed with Elizabeth Holmes. Far from it. First off, take my word for it, she isn’t my type, and secondly, I don’t get all tingly about baritone-voiced business criminals. Never been a turn-on. Honest.
I was prompted to write this post since John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood is coming out next month. John is the multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who brought down the company through his thorough, diligent investigative reporting, and scumbug Holmes (while Theranos still had hundreds of employees) led her entire organization into a cheer “Fuck Carreyrou! Fuck Carreyrou!” over and over again when his story hit the stands. A shameless charlatan like Elizabeth Holmes is naturally going to lead her followers with such Nuremberg-style rallies in order to counteract the forces of the truth.
In case by some chance you missed my first ten posts about Theranos, here’s a blurb about the book which will help catch you up:
The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.
The book isn’t out yet, but a handful of folks have advance copies, and here are a few tidbits that are reportedly in it:
As for Holmes – – her blonde hair is fake – – her deep voice is fake – – her technology is fake – – it seems the only thing that’s real is the $700 million that her unsuspecting investors lost by getting duped in this elaborate scheme.
The fact that Holmes and her much older, umm, “date” Sunny Balwani were able to get away with something so blatant for so long is a combination of (a) bull market mentality, in which people look the other way and (b) the old white men on her board of directors like Henry Kissinger and James Mattis who didn’t know shit about blood analysis technology but probably liked staring at Holmes’ ass during presentations.
Suffice it to say, although I personally have not been harmed one iota by anything Theranos ever did, I hope Holmes and Balwani both wind up being thrown into prison. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.