Himalaya: Listen. Learn. Grow.
Sofa King Podcast
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about one of the greatest failures and cons by any tech startup in Silicon Valley, the lies and deceit of Elizabeth Holmes. Holmes started the tech firm Theranos from Paulo Alto, California, home to all the tech giants. She idolized Steve Jobs so much, that she even wore his same black turtle neck and posed for photos that he himself had already been in. Her big idea was the Edison blood test, a test that would use the power of the internet to scan just a pinprick of blood live time instead of taking vials and sending them to a lab. But it didn’t exists. She was a liar and a fake who cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars and the suffering of patients.
Elizabeth Holmes grew up in a wealthy family in Texas (son of an Enron exec) and eventually got accepted to Stanford. After a short time, she dropped out since they couldn’t teach her anything anymore, and she used her college fund to create her company, Theranos. Her goal was to make a world changing blood testing tool, and she brought a whole helluva lot of people along on her ride. Her first investor big was her boyfriend (soon to be number two at her company and nineteen years her elder), Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani. They got her set up with other investors and eventually had hundreds of millions of dollars from Rupert Murdoch, the Walton Family, The Devoss Family, and even the Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim. She assembled a major board of directors including prominent members of the government.
In no time, her company was valued in the billions, and she was a media darling. She was on the morning show circuit, doing Ted Talks, on the cover of Forbes, you name it. Problem is, her tech was a lie. She made deals with various hospitals, government organizations, and even Walgreens and Safe Way that were worth hundreds of millions of dollars. More lies. In fact, once a reporter named John Carreyrou scratched the surface based on a whistle blower, everything just fell apart.
It turns out that their labs just used the same tech as everyone else, from other companies. Their miracles were frauds. So, how did she convince so many people to invest in her big idea? Is fake it till you make it really this powerful? Did Elizabeth Holmes actually think her inventions would someday work? What legal battles face her, and what is she worth now? Listen, laugh, learn.
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