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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
Shoshana Zuboff, Nicol Zanzarella

Bad Blood

Bad Blood: Secret and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - Will Damron, John Carreyrou

I think I first became aware of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos when, for reasons I don't recall, I did a YouTube search on "sociopath." This led me to a video featuring John Carreyrou talking about Holmes. And down the rabbit hole I went.

After watching numerous videos and reading articles about Holmes, I wanted to read Bad Blood, so I put myself on the waiting list for the audiobook from my library's website.

This crazy true story is stranger than fiction. Elizabeth Holmes famously dropped out of Stanford University during sophomore year (because it's in the Silicon Valley tech CEO playbook) and founded a company called Theranos (therapy + diagnosis).

Her vision was to produce a device that could run hundreds of diagnostic blood tests, all from a single drop of blood taken from a finger stick. With her vision of the device's potential, she convinced many high-profile investors to support the company. But behind the scenes, the devices did not actually work. Rather than address the problems and ensure that test results would be reliable, Holmes and Theranos leadership covered up the malfunctions and perpetuated a fraud. Employees who raised concerns were silenced and eventually either quit or were fired. And despite the known issues, Theranos partnered with Walgreens and Safeway to provide testing (though the Safeway deal eventually fell through).

Eventually, a concerned ex-employee contacted John Carreyrou, investigative journalist for The Wall Street Journal. Carreyrou began the process of investigating Theranos, and things got very weird. As in surveillance and legal intimidation of Carreyrou and his suspected sources. Despite the efforts of Holmes, her associates, and her attorney David Boies, Carreyrou was not deterred. He ultimately wrote multiple articles. The book also recounts what happened in the aftermath of the articles, including the ultimate demise of Theranos, the fraud cases against Holmes, and the class action suit by patients harmed by incorrect test results.

After reading Carreyrou's account, I conclude that Holmes probably (probably!) is a sociopath.