Watch: The Inventor documentary trailer about the rise and fall of Theranos grifter Elizabeth Holmes


I think she’s on her way:


Well, her company was private not public, so most of the hogwash and blame falls on the investors themselves for getting hornswaggled.

It took a year for Madoff to get prosecuted and a lot of the people he took money from wanted to see him hung up. I think most of the people who got swindled by Theranos just want it to go away.

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her voice…it is very clear she is faking it and it is very very disconcerting.


Their creepy marketing videos have, sadly, long been taken down from their YouTube channel. They were… certainly something. Some ASMRist was definitely getting the tingles from those things.


It’s stunning, how awful and forced her speech sounds. It sounds like a child trying to talk with an adult voice.


1:08:20 is where you here her normal voice.

Sounds like even the Theranos CEO's voice was fake

Wow. That’s… interesting.


Yeah, maybe not the customers that paid them revenue (as opposed to investors who paid them investments), but I’d think all those really, really smart VC types who just gotta be so embarrassed at being swindled, taken for a ride. It exposes them, that they really ain’t all that smart. They, certainly, want this to go away. I just want Holmes jailed.


Interesting. Her put-on voice is not hugely different from her regular voice – to me it sounds like she’s speaking in the same register but pushing the bass frequencies way forward.

There’s a comment on the fake voice (at 3:35) in this also-otherwise-interesting Wall Street Journal video with John Carreyrou, which also has more of the creepy-voice clips from the marketing video.

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What boggles my mind is that even if she’s found guilty and convicted, she will still wind up having more money stashed away from this than most of us will see in our lifetimes.

She still seems to be flying around, living the good life.


My guess is that she probably believed what she was peddling at the start. And then later believed that they might develop what they had said they already had given enough money. And then even later hope they might be able to develop it after the fact.

I’ve met a few of these ‘visionaries’ during my lifetime and they believe in their own lies 90% of the time. Very dangerous kind of people.

Also this whole story shows how dangerous the ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude is.



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she probably believed what she was peddling at the start.

Possibly. But there’s a difference in being open about what you’re doing, and what they did.

If they had said “Hey, we don’t quite have a prototype yet. Here are the challenges we are currently having, and here’s the plan to get through them” it would have been different.

Instead, they lied about what was going on, and actively engaged in deceit.

Assuming, of course, that it was possible to do what they were trying to do in the first place.


That’s why the ‘fake it till you make it’ lie is so dangerous. Lots of people actually believe in that story, and in that way justify this sort of scheming to themselves.


There’s an approach to product / program design that’s based on the “lean startup” methodology, where you proof-of-concept a product by making a “fakey” version. For example, before you bother to go through the trouble of intricately programming an Alexa skill, you prototype it by giving a person a flowchart and a script and running various inputs through it.

I guess no one told Theranos that you’re not actually supposed to market the fakey prototype.

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In a similar direction: I read once, somewhere I can’t remember, it’s quite common for AI start-ups to have a prototype where the actual AI is replaced by humans doing whatever is to be done (i.e., via Amazon Mechanical Turk). They plan to replace the hidden humans by AI at some point, using the money they might be already earning. Or be bought by a big company in the meantime.


It’s also extremely common for those kind of startups to fail spectacularly :smiley:

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… and I cannot imagine why that is :wink:

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