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Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

von John Carreyrou

Weitere Autoren: Siehe Abschnitt Weitere Autoren.

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
1,8071297,262 (4.29)84
"The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. 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 tests 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 $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley"-- "The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos--the Enron of Silicon Valley--by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. 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 tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in an early fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: the technology didn't work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at the Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley"--… (mehr)
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Listened to this as an audio book and I found all sorts of excuses to do things so I could continue listening (my wife loved it because most of that work involved cleaning.) As almost everyone knows Elizabth Holmes had dropped out of Stanford so she could get rich. She had an idea for a device that would revolutionize blood testing, a nifty idea. Unfortunately it never worked but she insisted in public it did and fraudulently manipulated the data behind the scenes to prevent investors from recognizing that. When VP Biden visited the Theranos lab in 2015 he was presented with rows of machines. The Problem was they were all fake.

She persuaded numerous well-known people to sit on the board and invest. As a young, attractive woman, perhaps that influenced the older men who jumped on board. (Henry Kissinger and George Schultz were among them. Ironically, Schultz, who got his grandson a job at Theranos, refused to believe him when the grandson reported the "place was rotten.") I don't know. Then again, I always wondered about John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin who seemed to offer little except a nice face. The media fell for it, too. Adoring profiles appeared in numerous magazines that did not do their homework. CEOs at Safeway and Walgreens were not immune to her spell.

I found this quote from the NY Times review particularly apt: "Swathed in her own reality distortion field, she dressed in black turtlenecks to emulate her idol Jobs and preached that the Theranos device was “the most important thing humanity has ever built.” Employees were discouraged from questioning this cultish orthodoxy by her “ruthlessness” and her “culture of fear.” Secrecy was obsessive. Labs and doors were equipped with fingerprint scanners.

The media was completely bamboozled and fawned all over her. All sorts of evidence was there from employees who were quitting in droves, but they were never interviewed. The old geezers on the board had even been warned by relatives who worked at the company to no avail. The old guys were so enamored of this pretty thing with nice legs that they abandoned their fiduciary responsibility and really should have been held responsible for the disaster. David Boies doesn't escape condemnation either. The esteemed lawyer who charged $1000 per hour had a stake in the company, violating all sorts of ethical tenets, sued anyone who might say something negative about the company, harassing them with private detectives and threats.*

Holmes and her erstwhile boyfriend, ex COO of Theranos, Ramesh Balwani, are now under indictment facing decades of imprisonment if found guilty. As further evidence of her cold manipulative personality, detractors cite her becoming pregnant just before the trial was to begin (resulting in a postponement) as a calculated move to garner sympathy. The story is not over and several podcasts (The Dropout and Bad Blood: the Final Chapter) are reporting on the trial.

Society functions well only when there exists a level of trust. We want (and need) to assume that people are not fooling us. It's OK to be moderately skeptical but actions like Holmes's raise the skepticism bar to an impossible level that will eventually stifle progress.

*see https://isb.idaho.gov/blog/theranos-and-the-tale-of-the-disappearing-board-of-di... for more. ( )
  ecw0647 | Nov 3, 2021 |
The story of Elizabeth Holmes and how she built Theranos and lost it. Theranos was a company that she said would revolutionize lab testing by doing hundreds of routine tests using just a drop of blood. It didn't work, though. How she managed to perpetuate this fraud, and get hundreds of millions of dollars from old rich men who should have known better, I don't understand. ( )
  Pferdina | Oct 29, 2021 |
Scary things in this book:
*Patients were harmed
*The complete lack of ethics by Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani and those who enabled them
*The pure sloppiness of those in charge, the employees and the board members
*How many investors and board members would invest millions without doing the due diligence to verify their investments--including George Schulz, Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, and James Mattis. (I guess if you are a billionaire throwing away $100M is fine).
*How companies such as CVS and Safeway could invest millions in a partnership--even changing their store layout to build wellness centers without due diligence. (I always wondered why my Safeway took floor space away to build what looks like a clinic/spa).
*Why there aren't more protections for employee whistleblowers and maybe we've gone too far with NDA protections if it means this type of fraud can go on for years. ( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
I listened to the audiobook, and I was pretty entertained by the story.
John Carreyrou has done a great job writing the book, the flow of the story is attracting and I only felt bored a few times in the midst of the book, but focusing on what I was hearing the rest of the time.
( )
  mdibaiee | Sep 23, 2021 |
As I write this review, Elizabeth Holmes is on trial in U.S. federal court for fraud—a situation which is entirely unsurprising, having read John Carreyrou's Bad Blood. At its peak, the tech start-up which she once ran, Theranos, was valued at $9bn, but as Carreyrou shows that valuation was based on nothing more than bullshit.

Much has been made in the media about Holmes' wide-eyed stare, artificially deepened voice, and penchant for cosplaying Steve Jobs. Anecdotes about this crop up quite a bit in Bad Blood. What I found much more interesting—and what I wish Carreyrou had hammered home a bit more—was how much the story of Theranos is an indictment of systemic issues. Holmes is fundamentally a fairly boring, run-of-the-mill sociopath—she wants money and adulation and doesn't much care who she has to step on along the way in order to get it.

But most sociopaths don't end up on the cover of Forbes by the time they're 30. The real story here is that Holmes attended a private high school in Texas and dropped out of Stanford; the people she got to know along the way allowed her to get a Who's Who of terrible human beings to invest in her company, including Henry Kissinger, Rupert Murdoch, the Waltons, and Betsy DeVos. Holmes leveraged the prestige of her expensive education and wealthy connections, the greed of those who valued dollar signs more than human lives, and the anti-intellectual narcissism of those who believe that "disruption" is a greater good than expertise and common sense. In 2021—a year when people are choosing to ingest veterinary-grade dewormers and shit their brains out rather than take a free, safe vaccination—this is the part that resonates more deeply than the schadenfreude of it all. ( )
  siriaeve | Sep 4, 2021 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
John CarreyrouHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Damron, WillErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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"The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. 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 tests 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 $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley"-- "The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos--the Enron of Silicon Valley--by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. 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 tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in an early fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: the technology didn't work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at the Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley"--

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