The rise and fall of Theranos


#21

her father is a “IV,” so i’m guessing yes.


#22

There’s definitely a sociopath component on big shot CEO’s. Some channel that correctly and end up building great things. Other’s are just maniacs.


#23

You have a point. The article does mention that the Theranos HQ is covered in American flags and that she spent days on end in the “war room.” It all fits.


#24

She founded the co. at 19, now she’s 32. It took that long for people to realize this was a sham? Good lord, they all deserve it.


#25

Hillary should give back every dollar the scammer, charlatan, and fraud Elizabeth Holmes has donated to her campaign, her PAC, the DNC, the Victory PAC, and all the other millions of dollars Ms. Holmes has raised as a bundler and supporter.

And then that money should then go back to the taxpayers, who subsidized Ms. Holmes’ fraud and other criminal activity.

But who are we kidding…inb4 “But Trump!” comments defending the slimy Clinton foundation and PAC structure that has created two candidates who are created by, purchased by, and elected by the rich.


#26

Based on the composition of their board(crazy connections and lobbying cred both government and military, minimal scientific or operational expertise); I’m inclined to agree with the speculation to the effect that Theranos was(aside from hoping to keep the FDA from poking around) hoping to land a 'our tests are so easy, quick, and cheap that Medicare and/or Tricare will actually save money by routinely ordering them for basically everyone they cover!" deal. The consumer testing business; and the deal with Walgreens that Walgreens apparently did shockingly little due diligence on, where all well and good; but selling frequent, ubiquitous, blood testing as a ‘preventative healthcare’ measure to one of the big players would have been an enormous success.

As for the 'Ethics? WTF?", I’d be fascinated to know exactly how much of this was pure fraud/pump 'n dump from the get go; and how much, if any, was initially promising results that didn’t pan out as well as hoped followed by doubling down on the lies; which then required continued lying to keep up the charade, and the momentum just kept building.

I’m not a subject matter expert by any means; but from what I can make of their patent filings they did do some microfluidics stuff, and roboticized test equipment for high-volume handling of routine laboratory work is an established field, so at least some areas of the company were doing real work, though nothing nearly as exciting as the PR suggested; but I don’t know if the PR started as genuine enthusiasm over the hopes for the real work, or whether the PR was always a cynical fraud; but the people brought on to create the appearance of a plausible testing company weren’t all in on it and so went to work and poked at their little piece of the problem in all sincerity every day.


#27

Yea, who knows what it was, scam from the get go or getting carried away.

Is not an excuse, though, but I can see it - that cult of the messiah-entrepreneur, that will disrupt everything and save the world and what do you mean I dont have 100% of it done yet, well, those are details, I’m sure my hard work and my genius will get us there…


#28

This is the laboratory business. “Cutting edge” has little place in it-- “cutthroat”, maybe. It’s a very mature business, and in it, there’s us, and our smaller competitors. Barriers to entry are high, the industry is heavily regulated, and the profit margins are razor-thin. The really bizarre thing is that they elected to do this in the state that probably has the most complex clinical lab regulations in the country.

The one interesting thing that Theranos did was to try and break into the industry with software-startup-style organization, bulking up on cash but no way to spend it. It didn’t work-- yet, anyway-- but it’s an interesting approach to an industry that’s almost impossible to get started in.


#29

That aspect of it is why the “OMG, we are a disruptive tech startup!!!” should probably be treated as a very, very, bad sign for a medical company.

If you are trying to build the next Social Twitfeed, or build cheap widgets or something, a certain amount of ‘ship early, ship often; more features and more bugs is better than fewer features, fast, cheap, and out of control!’ is normal and possibly even desirable.

When you are purporting to provide medical diagnostic data; This Is Not The Case. We accept a certain amount of seriously risky stuff in areas where the current standard of care is just that bad; if all our current techniques can do is keep you doped up while the disease kills you horribly, why not? But Theranos’ product offerings were all tests that actually-competent outfits already provided, just on somewhat larger samples, so it’s a pretty hard sell to accept startup-level risk on those.


#30

Isn’t Kissinger a totally natural pick if your company is trying to lie to Americans about how much blood a given plan will involve?


#31

In six months she will be hired by some evil jerk off mega Corp making a 6 or 7 figure salary, complete with golden parachute.


#33

Pro tip:

…makes most thinking people gloss right over your posts. It’s hard to imagine any kind of insightful comment prefaced with that.


#34

Hey, welcome to BoingBoing. I’m not too sure what is going on here with this post. Could you clear it up for me? Also I think you might be confused about the ‘left’.


#36

That video:


#37

The law firm I’m contracted out to is representing Holmes.

I can’t say much (due to confidentiality agreements) , other than it’s pretty mind-blowing how a person’s estimated assets can go from $9 billion to zip, damn near overnight.

That, and the fact that knowing what I do, I don’t feel very much sympathy.


#38

Or scenario for the Night’s Black Agents RPG. http://site.pelgranepress.com/index.php/nights-black-agents/


#39

So, Trump in a turtleneck?


#40

This is only tangentially related, but very interesting nonetheless, in terms of startups. Lev Grossman wrote an incredible piece on startups tackling nuclear fusion plants in Time a year or two ago. I’d link it but I am stuck on a terrible Android phone. Grossman makes some puissant observations on the nature and use of startups (and also argues why nuclear fusion is a good use of the startup paradigm).


#41

That’s it exactly.


#42

So you feel the KKK is a more appropriate backer for president?