It lasted long as a bedtime story would. Tale of Theranos proves one thing for sure, only say lies you can protect. Elizabeth Holmes learned that hard way. Theranos, a Silicon Valley biotechnological firm which gained prominence due to all the things a normal struggling entity lacks; female found with such charismatic personality, an audacity to promise biotechnological revolution, an all-star board of two secretaries of states and two senators.
This gave Silicon Valley investors FOMO or the fear of missing out. Investors threw their investments at Theranos and a rising female in all male dominate Valley received prominence. The credible board of Theranos plays a huge role in the success and protection of the lies of Theranos. So how exactly did this all happen?
Elizabeth Holmes Phobia
Coming from a wealthy family and a student from Stanford University, she took biotechnology in her first year. She took a job at Genome Institute of Singapore where she worked on technology relating to the erupting disease SARS. The disease spread was faster in Asia and East so Genome needed faster devices to detect SARS in patients.
This inspired Holmes into putting these devices more in use for other types of treatments and she came back to Stanford with the same ideas. She previously worked in Robertson’s lab and all these experiences does make her profile of an intelligent girl.
Elizabeth Holmes, during that time, criticized the medical tests taking place. She raised questions regarding the amount of blood taken from patients’ veins. Specifically asking why such amount was needed when it could be done with a prick of blood. Her claims might’ve based on her phobia of medical needles. Although it was childish, she made a huge statement and claiming that she was the one who can overcome this problem.
She managed to get resourceful and trustworthy people on board. With that being said, her board members didn’t include the PhD’s and the people who have been in biotechnological advancements in their records. As the prestigious board member consists of scientists and engineers that settle upon the utter-most quality control regarding public health. Elizabeth and her board members only consisted of businessmen, politicians, and a second-year college drop-out.
Too Good to Be True
It’s a shame that Theranos kept operating for such an elongated period without being noticed as too good to be true. Only if Holmes was cunning enough to keep it together and not getting Balwani involved. Holmes later on hired Ramesh Balwani, whom she met when she was 18. Balwani held the position of Chief Operating Officer. Balwani was way too underqualified to do the job.
Holmes and Balwani had secretly been in a relationship and were living together at the time. Although, they specially didn’t let the board members know about it. As an underqualified COO, Balwani’s incompetence was a torture for the employees. He was seen yelling and occasionally firing people.
The Domino Effect
Later in 2014, the Wall Street Journal published a report that disclosed all the lies behind Theranos and this was the last push on the dominos. Before that the employees, the ex-employees, and the unhappy Theranos customers only had pieces of dissatisfying suspicions. With WSJ’s report the pieces clicked right into place and the respected organizations began their work. FDA never approved of the Edison’s usage nor any of their tests, except just for one.
Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh Balwani had to face the trials and lose everything that they owned. Elizabeth Holmes returned all of her shares which summed up to half of the company that she owned. She was found guilty on four accounts of fraud and was sentenced twenty years in prison. They were both fined $500,000 and the company was dissolved.
Author Bio: Ahsun Bh is our geeky writer who loves pulling threads in stories and compiling different opinions. He likes writing tech, space exploration, and business news. When he’s not writing he reads techie stuff (something like that) and plays outdoor sports.