Sunday, October 17, 2021

Inside the insane world of Theranos

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Elizabeth Holmes may be feeling the heat in San Francisco, and every time the question appears to arise — “Is she too good to be true?” — Elizabeth Holmes answers it with, “Well, you’re just not seeing everything.”

In 2012, Elizabeth Holmes was interviewed by CBS Evening News and by The Wall Street Journal. These interviews are what launched the chain of assumptions that Holmes is, somehow, “made of pure gold.” She has no set, consistent pattern of lying, there’s no pattern of massive financial fraud and the sum of all of her lies are sufficient to make her the wealthiest individual in the United States.

By the time Holmes was interviewed by CBS in 2012 and by The Wall Street Journal in 2015, she was already being investigated by federal authorities for allegedly stealing documents from Stanford University, lying to investors, taking out loans for her extravagant lifestyle with borrowed monies and taking out a loan from a man she had an affair with, according to court documents obtained by The New York Times. By the time Elizabeth Holmes was arrested and charged with two counts of lying to federal prosecutors, she was just 13 years old on Fortune Magazine’s list of America’s most-loved billionaires.

Another major thing Elizabeth Holmes was caught saying was this from CBS Evening News in 2012:

“Yeah, well, you know, I am very humble about my success. I want to be able to show this to my daughter and to my grandson. I just don’t want them to feel like, oh my gosh, I want to be you. You’re not that. And you know, I am kind of nervous about talking about this stuff because it’s kind of like a supernatural force that I am part of,” she said.

This is what it sounds like when it comes to Elizabeth Holmes: pure gold. Every few years she projects this image to the world. If you look past the evidence of fraud she is charged with right now, she has enough money and enough capital to cover the liability associated with this claim. In court, the first day of her trial, I have to say that the more important evidence is all of the publicity Elizabeth Holmes received and the disenchanted people she took millions of dollars from and betrayed in order to rebuild her companies.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Holmes has taken more than $750 million from investors, pocketed $600 million, and then stole them. She drained billions of dollars from Theranos to go to school, to feed her family, to build her family compound, and to pay her legal fees. She lies, she gets a large amount of publicity — and then right back to rebranding herself, only this time she has children.

Elizabeth Holmes first caused people to believe that she was “making money on technology, not on fraud” by spending very little time in the “technology business,” she first made people believe that she was working on DNA microarrays when in fact she never did.

Her story is about people always saying “no, she’s just an eccentric genius,” because some people just seem impossible. The average person, however, may be the right person for this role. O.K., it’s the right person to play the victim in terms of, “Lincoln didn’t look very smart” or “Lincoln’s not quite like Mandela,” but the difference between Elizabeth Holmes and William Shakespeare in terms of political statements is where we’re starting to see Elizabeth Holmes breaking the mold.

Somebody was trying to tell me when Elizabeth Holmes was running Theranos “that she’s crazy.” She doesn’t fall into the category of pathological narcissists, delusional, when it comes to her negative record. This is about the disillusionment that we are seeing from a very vast number of people. Especially those who work with and for other and to Elizabeth Holmes, for so long and so hard.

Elizabeth Holmes has spent 12 years is making a case that she was just starting to break through with expectations. She was too rich to fail. But, here we are with Elizabeth Holmes as the back of the bus. As the guy in a pair of tight jeans who breaks your heart on the eve of your wedding — because even though she’s there to pick out the playlist at your reception, she’s only there for you to fall in love with, and she’s too stupid to get you through a promotion.

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