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HOT! Great Entrepreneur? Or Great Fraudster? The Story of Elizabeth Holmes.

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What will be the outcome of the Holmes trial?

  • Acquitted.

    Votes: 2 6.5%
  • Convicted, Slap on the Wrist

    Votes: 15 48.4%
  • Convicted, Less than 18 months

    Votes: 2 6.5%
  • Convicted, 18-36 months

    Votes: 1 3.2%
  • Convicted, 3-5 years

    Votes: 3 9.7%
  • Convicted 5+ years

    Votes: 8 25.8%

  • Total voters
    31

MJ DeMarco

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Interesting article...

Just goes to show how important your product is -- while great marketing, a great story, and a great network of people can buoy a shit product, give the market enough time, and it will expose the truth.

Theranos’s board may not have been equipped to ask what exactly the company was building, or how, but others were. While Holmes was bounding around the world on a private plane, speaking on panels with Bill Clinton, and giving passionate TED talks, two government organizations started quietly inspecting the company. On August 25, 2015, months before the Journal story broke, three investigators from the F.D.A. arrived, unannounced, at Theranos’s headquarters, on Page Mill Road, with two more investigators sent to the company’s blood-testing lab in Newark, California, demanding to inspect the facilities.

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/09/elizabeth-holmes-theranos-exclusive
 
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Fox

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Did she actually believe it would eventually work with enough funding or was she just enjoying the ride?
 

Twopro

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A few things in the story were messed up to me

"Holmes, meanwhile, did not seem willing to tolerate his resistance, according to his wife, Rochelle Gibbons. Even though Gibbons had warned that the technology wasn’t ready for the public, Holmes was preparing to open “Theranos Wellness Centers” in dozens of Walgreens across Arizona. “Ian felt like he would lose his job if he told the truth,” Rochelle told me as she wept one summer morning in Palo Alto. “Ian was a real obstacle for Elizabeth. He started to be very vocal. They kept him around to keep him quiet.” Channing Robertson, who had brought Gibbons to Theranos, recalls a different conversation, noting, “He suggested to me on numerous occasions that what we had accomplished at that time was sufficient to commercialize.”

A few months later, on May 16, 2013, Gibbons was sitting in the family room with Rochelle, the afternoon light draping the couple, when the telephone rang. He answered. It was one of Holmes’s assistants. When Gibbons hung up, he was beside himself. “Elizabeth wants to meet with me tomorrow in her office,” he told his wife in a quivering voice. “Do you think she’s going to fire me?” Rochelle Gibbons, who had spent a lot of time with Holmes, knew that she wanted control. “Yes,” she said to her husband, reluctantly. She told him she thought he was going to be fired. Later that evening, gripped and overwhelmed with worry, Ian Gibbons tried to commit suicide. He was rushed to the hospital. A week later, with his wife by his side, Ian Gibbons died."

This guy, instead of coming forth with the truth and scared of being fired, took his own life.

Also

"Silicon Valley, once so taken by Holmes, has turned its back, too. Countless investors have been quick to point out that they did not invest in the company—that much of its money came from the relatively somnolent worlds of mutual funds, which often accrue the savings of pensioners and retirees; private equity; and smaller venture-capital operations on the East Coast. In the end, one of the only Valley V.C. shops that actually invested in Theranos was Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Many may have liked what Holmes represented about their industry, but they didn’t seem to trust her with their money."

Investors playing wildly with other peoples money.

P.S. How do you do those quotes in the yellow box quote?
 
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Ravens_Shadow

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Hmm... what a shame, a bright mind infected with narcissism and an uncontrollable, psychopathic need to lie and "be right" rather than *rich. Not that her technology would've made her rich anyhow, because it frankly didn't work, nor will it work in our time.

Here's the lesson for all the kiddos: You can lie your way into millions in investments, say that your shit is the realest and lie about it for years. Soon enough you'll get hit with many law suits, people committing suicide due to your actions, the FBI investigating you, and your entire professional name and career demolished.

Look who it is, its dat boi, just kidding, its me, elizabeth!

cq1gO9t.png
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Here's the lesson for all the kiddos: You can lie your way into millions in investments, say that your shit is the realest and lie about it for years. Soon enough you'll get hit with many law suits, people committing suicide due to your actions, the FBI investigating you, and your entire professional name and career demolished.

I found the hero worship of Steve Jobs particularly disturbing.
 

becks22

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Something always felt off about her even a few years ago when she was just starting to gain popularity.

Whenever she was interviewed, it was always about the Steve Jobs Turtleneck, eating (uh drinking?) green juices and how she worked 20 hour days. It always felt forced for some reason.

It's a real shame though, I wanted it to be a success but I knew it wasn't. Wonder what we will hear from her in 10-15 years time...
 

Andy Black

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Scarey reading. It's like a modern day retelling of The Emperor's New Clothes. I can definitely see a movie coming out of it, but not one I'd want to watch.

It reminds me so much of my time in a startup - all the time and effort going into looking good from the outside, instead of making a valuable product.

The constant telling of the founder story and relentless PR. (Shudder.)


Why spend all that time trying to market a shit product?

Why not spend the time building a product that adds value, and let the product sell itself through the word-of-mouth of delighted customers?

There's a simple phrase for this:

"You can't polish a turd."




I'm deeply suspicious of CEOs at Startup Conferences. (I'm deeply suspicious of anything that has the label "Startup" in it tbh.)

Why are you giving a presentation about your "startup" instead of being back in the office ensuring you make more sales?

Who are your customers? Are they the attendees at the conference?

What's your end game/exit strategy?

What business are you in exactly?
 

Bila

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the board included former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state George Shultz, former Georgia senator and chairman of the Armed Services Committee Sam Nunn, and William J. Perry, the former defense secretary. (Bill Frist, the former Senate majority leader, and former cardiovascular doctor, was an exception.) “This was a board that was better suited to decide if America should invade Iraq than vet a blood-testing company,” one person said to me. Gibbons told his wife that Holmes commanded their attention masterfully.

You mean a 32 years old duped these guys ?? Come on !!!

It seems to me like it's the technique of the scapegoat ( found this translation from French, not sure if it is correct ) ....Anyway, but she is given now to the public vendetta, after some bigger guys flew ( and continue to do so, they are not in the public eyes ) in even bigger private jets.
 

Red

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As a client/customer of Theranos here in Arizona, I haven't had a single problem with them. I've had extensive bloodwork done over the past 6 years now -this past year with Theranos exclusively. The value they bring to the table is enormous. My tests have all been in line with previous testing done & I can see the changes in various tests that I'm putting in the effort to impact. They cost a fraction of the price, give me the freedom to assess my own body & sometimes I get my results back later that day. Amazing.

The relationship they had with Walgreens was to help establish social familiarity (y'know, teaming up with a well-known name that's trusted & therefore viewed as approved) & was both temporary/transitional in it's planning from the start. It was proving the model's efficacy, market testing. Once they knew that they had the customers using the services, they then moved on to the next phase which was their own offices, independent of Walgreens. Walgreens did not "sever ties" & shutter the relationship. Walgreens was a premeditated & outlined stepping stone from the start. All parties involved knew & understood this agreement.

As far as quality concerns, I've received notification on one Vitamin D test I had done in the first month they opened here. The email informed me that the test may have had inaccurate results & as a result, they were offering the re-test for free, just stop back by. When was the last time you ever had a doctor or a lab notify you that there might have been a problem with a test of yours & they are offering to make it right for free? Oh that's never happened, you say? It probably has, you just were never made privy to it... think about it.

When Theranos invited (yeah, invited) the scrutiny of government regulatory agencies (the gov't, contrary to popular belief, doesn't regulate processes like how a lab derives results -don't believe me? google it & read up on how genetic testing processes, blood testing processes, etc, are not govt regulated) for scrutiny, they notified customers of the process & stated that while they were being reviewed, some tests would require full blood draws as opposed to the finger prick method. While I'm sure that impacted many customers, I was not one of them. From the start, Theranos has disclosed up front in their paperwork that not every single test they offer can be done with the pin prick & many of my desired tests required a full draw -no prob here. I knew it walking in.

Through all of this social shitstorm, I feel like we're missing the bigger point here. Theranos opened up the clenched-butthole-tightness of the medical testing realm & helped facilitate putting the power of taking responsibility of one's health into the hands of the people. No more bullshit permission slips from your doctor to understand if you're vitamin deficient in certain areas or if you need to work on your cholesterol. No more waiting for f*cking weeks on end to get results that might impact your life & no more waiting on/paying additional for an appointment from a doc to review your basic results. Of course they're going to take it on the chin in an industry like this. Look at the taxi companies lobby & fight to get Uber run out of town. Is Uber perfect? no, but they're improving their processes & they keep on ticking. Same with Theranos. I don't feel like we have all the answers to this melodrama, but I do know that I'm a satisfied customer & will continue to do business with them until I see results that I find to be incongruent. I want to see this company succeed & the model perpetuated throughout this country. Our healthcare is in shambles here & I feel like this company could be a great stepping stone in ushering in a new movement of personal health awareness & responsibility. I hope they succeed & more like them follow.
 

YoungPadawan

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Holy shitake, that's intense.
 

TwoSteps

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"the venture capitalists (who are mostly white men) don’t really know what they’re doing with any certainty—it’s impossible, after all, to truly predict the next big thing—so they bet a little bit on every company that they can with the hope that one of them hits it big"

'a little bit' - with 6 or 7 zeros

If the monster believes you will feed it, it wont kill you straight away. In fact it will put one arm around you and guide you towards the emerald city, all the while whispering sweetly in your ear.

William Blake: "Truth cannot be told, so as to be understood, and not be believ'd." - The same applies to hyperbole, half-truths and mere aspirations.

If you believe your idea can feed the monster and you believe you can convince the monster of the same, ask for the money.
 
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ZF Lee

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Scarey reading. It's like a modern day retelling of The Emperor's New Clothes. I can definitely see a movie coming out of it, but not one I'd want to watch.

It reminds me so much of my time in a startup - all the time and effort going into looking good from the outside, instead of making a valuable product.

The constant telling of the founder story and relentless PR. (Shudder.)


Why spend all that time trying to market a shit product?

Why not spend the time building a product that adds value, and let the product sell itself through the word-of-mouth of delighted customers?

There's a simple phrase for this:

"You can't polish a turd."




I'm deeply suspicious of CEOs at Startup Conferences. (I'm deeply suspicious of anything that has the label "Startup" in it tbh.)

Why are you giving a presentation about your "startup" instead of being back in the office ensuring you make more sales?

Who are your customers? Are they the attendees at the conference?

What's your end game/exit strategy?

What business are you in exactly?
This is why most 'networking events' have left a bad taste in my mouth.
It's not as if such 'startup' events are trade shows for potential clients or investors. I share your suspicions and rightfully so.
Too many startup founders focus too much on innovation, trying to make something as new as adamantium rather than sales and delivery of actual value. They are like geeks testing X and Y, trying to find the bingo moment, when actually the 'magic moment' is actually right in their faces.

But if we notice, all the so-called successful startups are actually OLD.

Facebook and Google? Both operate on the advertising model.
Uber? Just taxis connected by smartphone apps.
Apple and Microsoft? Big computers downsized into homely-sized PCs and tablets.The best technology needs to be smaller, not bigger.
AirBnb? Just an informal online hotel service. Hotels existed for centuries, and everyone needs to book a room sometimes.

Probably the term 'startup' should be banned. Nobody gives a shit whether your startup is going to be the next hit of the century. Nobody cares. All they want is help and services. Enough of the jacked-up valuations and funding. (Anyway the funding will reduce ownership, and funding from sales looks more healthy and organic)
 

MJ DeMarco

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G-Man

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Probably the term 'startup' should be banned. Nobody gives a
shit whether your startup is going to be the next hit of the century. Nobody cares. All they want is help and services. Enough of the jacked-up valuations and funding. (Anyway the funding will reduce ownership, and funding from sales looks more healthy and organic)

You're right, but given human nature, this phenomenon isn't going anywhere. The people that gave money to Madoff were intelligent and connected. They have to post the odds of winning the lottery, and people still play it. The government is broke and people still think they'll retire in dignity with Social Security.

If the payoff is big enough or the downside is scary enough, human beings are willing to suspend disbelief.

It's an incontrovertible fact of the universe, and why history repeats itself so f'ing always.
 

RHL

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u're right, but given human nature, this phenomenon isn't going anywhere. The people that gave money to Madoff were intelligent and connected. They have to post the odds of winning the lottery, and people still play it. The government is broke and people still think they'll retire in dignity with Social Security.


I think successful entrepreneurs sometimes have a serious Achilles heal: Their confidence in themselves and, alternately, their incredulity concerning other people, especially people who are not "in their lane," to use MJ's terminology.

Treps have to "break the programming" of the slowlane/sidewalk world in order to become who they are. They're used to living in an environment where everyone is telling them that they can't possibly be doing what they're doing, that the reality they live is bullshit and impossible. They grew up with everyone telling them life had to be lived one way (the slowlane) to succeed. They figured out that they were all wrong. That incredulity towards the "haters" is what makes them a success.

But it can also leave them open to being blindsided by people like Holmes.

People like Holmes realize that entrepreneurs are readily lured in by the notion that "The world is out to use you, control you, and keep you down for no good reason except its own profit, but you, wise and unique freethinker, have discovered the way out in this vertical: My product." The investor reasons that this is the same logic which soundly led them from mediocrity to millions, so it might hold true here too, and they invest their millions. And they lose everything.

It's a good dose of humility to remember that just because you have succeeded in one area does not mean that you automatically know better than everybody else in every area. It's a lesson that the investors in Theranos seem to be learning the hard way.
 

Sadik

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I don't live in the US and had never heard of Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes. So from a very objective third person point of view, I find lots of problems with the story MJ linked.

1> It implies that because you are a "white man" you are somehow by nature biased or incompetent.

2> It mentions names like James Mattis (isn't he your Minister of Defence now?), Kissinger and many others and implies they were all incompetent and had no clue. Really?!

3> It says Venture Capitalists are all dumb and are merely playing the lottery.

4> It does not specify how the Gibbons guy died. But mentions that he tried to commit suicide and shortly died. So mostly people are assuming he committed suicide. Did he or didn't he? Maybe the Gibbons guy was depressed but in my experience people with such a background and career aren't so paranoid of losing their jobs.

Maybe the story is true, and Elizabeth did fraud her way into many billions of dollars. But the story seems anything but objective and reads deeply deeply biased.
 

ZF Lee

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Probably my most hated word, only behind "passive income".
Now to think of it, passive income has been misinterpreted and even executed so wrongly until it goes to hell.
People keep thinking that doing anything on a Forbes or Entrepreneur 'Passive Income' ideas list will net quick quid, or even worse, you can just buy some rotten building or stocks and get the money flowing in already. Or churn up some money blog, selling repackaged information or a mini consultant firm run by low-standard outsourced customer services from India. All for the want of 'make money online' or 'make money while you sleep'.

I think desperation of the masses, complete with over-marketing of money gurus made this mess.

I realise FULLY now why you can't just work for money.
Why you can't just work on passive income just for the financial freedom.
Why you can't just go for profits at the cost of screwing everyone around you.
It's all about giving value to people.
That way, the Fastlane money tree, the correct and pure passive income can live for a very long time, with good water and fertiliser (money from happy customers) keeping it growing.

You know what, screw passive income.
The richest people in the world don't even stop working once they are rich. They continue working hard to solve problems, even when they stepped down to have advisory or investor roles. And they stay alert of their businesses' progress. I want to have my eyes on my chess pieces too, or else I'll crash. Not passive, but I don't want to crash.
 

ZF Lee

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I don't live in the US and had never heard of Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes. So from a very objective third person point of view, I find lots of problems with the story MJ linked.

1> It implies that because you are a "white man" you are somehow by nature biased or incompetent.

2> It mentions names like James Mattis (isn't he your Minister of Defence now?), Kissinger and many others and implies they were all incompetent and had no clue. Really?!

3> It says Venture Capitalists are all dumb and are merely playing the lottery.

4> It does not specify how the Gibbons guy died. But mentions that he tried to commit suicide and shortly died. So mostly people are assuming he committed suicide. Did he or didn't he? Maybe the Gibbons guy was depressed but in my experience people with such a background and career aren't so paranoid of losing their jobs.

Maybe the story is true, and Elizabeth did fraud her way into many billions of dollars. But the story seems anything but objective and reads deeply deeply biased.
I would say that they rushed things at Theranos. I looks more like a bull out of control rather than a fraud.

Remember, Theranos is a medical technologies company, championing a more efficient way of taking blood tests, with less materials involved. It is not like any Internet startup, in which wireframes and prototypes can be built within weeks by well -trained outsourced teams. You have to test, remake, reconsider and plan every single screw of the mechanisms involved. Although I am not a doctor, I can tell that any technology that can take blood samples without injections is like having a teleporter to send people to Mars.

In other words, its hard! Thus the huge funding might be justified. Besides,should the project be a huge success, more funding should be needed for a spin-off of more medical products utilising the new validated medical tech.

I might consider the medical industry to be one of the more difficult fields to be Fastlaned. But it is one of the most lucrative (check MJ's table of industry multipliers....quite high too)

Venture capitalists are not dumb. I might say that they are actually expanding their network. Think of referrals, contacts and relations. Look at Sequoia Capital. They have had their share of failures and successes, and yet it is famous for funding hits like Google and Whatsapp. Just because one general in the battlefield is losing doesn't means its all over. Any army has many generals. You might want to continue fighting until you see a general with a winning strategy, and then you fund him and support him.

If Theranos falls, the venture capitalists WILL (I'm being optimistic here) stay in the field to fund another more successful medical company who actually WINS and PROVIDES. Besides, they'll probably learn what is really needed for a medical tech company to rise in this new century better enough not to do the same shit.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Andy Black

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ZF Lee

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So was it another of these?
Yes and no, IMO.

Yes as the tech didn't live up to its hype.
No because she did have some working tech...but the tests to gauge its effectiveness was flawed in terms of reporting.

I will admit that I feel disappointed. In the first place, she didn't struck me as a BRO-marketer...just another visionary who did challenges.

If only Theranos' solution was real and working well, we would have more lives changed. Easier blood tests...who wouldn't like that?

Is it me, or something else, that makes me somehow think what on earth Holmes is gonna do within that years-long ban? Is there anything she can do in the far-fetched future to make something of more tangible and solid value?
 

HappyStoic

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Scarey reading. It's like a modern day retelling of The Emperor's New Clothes. I can definitely see a movie coming out of it, but not one I'd want to watch.

It reminds me so much of my time in a startup - all the time and effort going into looking good from the outside, instead of making a valuable product.

The constant telling of the founder story and relentless PR. (Shudder.)


Why spend all that time trying to market a sh*t product?

Why not spend the time building a product that adds value, and let the product sell itself through the word-of-mouth of delighted customers?

There's a simple phrase for this:

"You can't polish a turd."




I'm deeply suspicious of CEOs at Startup Conferences. (I'm deeply suspicious of anything that has the label "Startup" in it tbh.)

Why are you giving a presentation about your "startup" instead of being back in the office ensuring you make more sales?

Who are your customers? Are they the attendees at the conference?

What's your end game/exit strategy?

What business are you in exactly?
This is so true.

I always feel like their customers are potential investors. There is no grind. I see them smiling and joking around. "We are a young cool start-up. Have fun!"

That's simply not how you make money. There is no success without struggle.

Those start ups with a million in financing, founded by some handsome or pretty ivy league'er.. That makes me sick. They get outcompeted by real entrepreneurs all the time.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 

MJ DeMarco

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Bellini

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Criminal charges filed against Holmes and her BF

U.S. files criminal charges against Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes, Ramesh Balwani

Bro-marketing on steroids.

Yep.

I hope all these young, over-zealous entrepreneurs think twice before trying to solicit millions of dollars from investors with exaggerated stats and bro-marketing.

I read about these charges in the Wall Street Journal the other day. Holmes and Balwani are looking at 20 years in prison each. Yikes.

So sad, really. The whole analyzer thing seemed like a great concept, though fraught with challenges.

It wouldn't surprise me if some big medical company magically comes out with the same technology a few years from now. Yet they won't need to raise funds because they already have them.

I just read the entire 15 page government indictment that was handed down (link is within MJs link) and it has "Wire Fraud" stamped all over it.

"That's how they getcha"
 

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Good video laying out the whole Theranos idiocy.

They basically had to charge her. Shkreli gets 7 years despite his defrauded investors making money, rather than losing it. And a few too many people have noted the double standards in her getting nothing, despite her fraud being orders of magnitude greater than his.

Hopefully cooler heads within the state will prevail, they'll see the dangers to the country of increasingly politicizing the judicial system, cut his sentence on appeal, and give her a similar or greater sentence.
 

Ravens_Shadow

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Bump. Will be following her trial as it starts soon.
 

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Most of the current startup "success stories" with high amount of raised capital are equal fraudsters. They just haven't been caught yet.
 

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Bump. Will be following her trial as it starts soon.

Finally! I honestly thought it was never going to happen with her pregnancy and covid shutting down jury trials!
 

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