[LMB] Bad Blood

Richard Molpus rgmolpus at flash.net
Sun Aug 25 18:39:24 BST 2019

 I could see her as an analogue to Emil Borgos - she had a great idea, but the tech was a bit out of reach; she played fast and hard with the investment market - and lost when she promised more than she could deliver. 

Dr. Borgos had a great idea, could deliver - but sold 225% of the company to get funding... whoops!
Holmes sold 100% of the company - all legal - but didn't have the tech ready in time to start making money. Oops!
(Developing the Tech each was working on is cash-intensive; Lots of dead ends and useless machines built and discarded as the application is perfected. In a dozen years a micro-sample tester will come to market, and behind it will be the people who had been at Theranos; but that won't be advertised.)

    On Sunday, August 25, 2019, 12:08:02 PM CDT, Nicholas David Rosen <ndrosen at erols.com> wrote:  
 I have been reading John Carreyrou’s _Bad Blood_, about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, and a thought occurred to me: Elizabeth Holmes is Miles Vorkosigan without the author on his side.

At least if we can trust the book, she was dishonest, with a nasty streak, but I don’t think she is purely and simply a crook; a smart crook would have jumped at the right time with millions of dollars of Theranos’s money, and acquired a new identity, probably in a country with which the United States does not have an extradition treaty.

She didn’t do that, and while I don’t claim any deep insight into her mind, it seems likely that she wanted to be somebody, a technology innovator, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and a hero who saved people’s lives by advancing medicine, not just a fugitive with some stolen money, and she cut corners to accomplish this.  The pile of lies and scams just grew, as in _The Warrior’s Apprentice_, and she may have hoped that her employees could redeem her assurances, and achieve the radical advances in blood testing that Theranos claimed to have already, or to be on the verge of fully unveiling.

The real world doesn’t usually work like _The Warrior’s Apprentice_ (did Ms. Holmes by any chance ever read it?), so the truth eventually came to light — there was too much evidence, and too many ex-employees with grudges — and the hollow pyramid collapsed.

The same would have happened to Miles long before _Memory_ if the author didn’t like him, or if adventure stories with happy ending didn’t generally outsell those in which the protagonist ends up utterly defeated and disgraced.

Best Regards,

Nicholas D. Rosen 
ndrosen at erols.com
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