Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
By: John Carreyrou
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.
A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.
I was curious to check out this book after I had seen the trailer of The Inventor. I had heard of the Elizabeth Holmes story in passing but nothing in great detail so when this book came up during a sale on Kobo I figured it was a good time to check it out.
It’s such a bizarre tale. Having read the story now…I still can’t fully wrap my head around how she managed to dupe Silicon Valley and all these prominent and intelligent individuals to invest into her company. And that she kept the facade up for as long as she did…When she’s dodging any major verifications to the product, the specifics of the product not adding up, the amount of secrecy being all kinds of weird, pitting departments against each other, no one knows what the other is doing…To what end? To keep the spoils to herself? The image of success and fame without the work? Isn’t it better to have a mechanis, that worked if you wanted to be world renown?
Of course, we don’t know her side of the story so there’s no way to know what she was thinking (to be fair, she was approached to communicate her side of the story bu she declined to be interviewed. But I suppose her actions and the way she ran her company says much about her. I did however feel bad for Tyler Schultz and how he was estranged from his grandfather as a result of Elizabeth Holmes and wondered by the end of the book whether he had patched things up with him (spoilers: he did. Thank goodness. I was rather invested, lol). But that she duped so many people and affected so many relationships along the way…The fear, the secrecy, the bullying. What time wasted.
Overall Bad Blood was an interesting read. It’s still astounds me that this actually happened in real life. I want to see the documentary now; not sure if it’ll say anything else new about this story since it was based off this book but still, maybe it would help clear up a few things about this very strange story.