Theranos – Bad Blood

So, the Big Red Car just finished reading Bad Blood, the John Carreyrou book about the rise and fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. It is a good read.

Theranos was the brain child of Elizabeth Holmes, Stanford drop out, who hated being stuck with needles when giving blood. She “invented” a new approach in which a simple pinprick of blood could be used to conduct a myriad of different blood tests.

Elizabeth Holmes, founder Theranos, had this weird Steve-Jobs-black-turtleneck meme going on which she coupled with an artificially deep voice to create the Silicon Valley Stanford dropout genius image. Along the way, she talked some very sophisticated investors out of $900,000,000 before the entire thing imploded. “Look into my eyes!”

At scale, she was going to put these machines – portable blood analyzers – in patients’ homes and at drug stores. It was to be the fast food of blood testing with almost immediate results. The key to it was a small sample size, miniaturization, and almost instant results.

It sounded too good to be true. It was.

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