Theranos' greatest invention was Elizabeth Holmes

www.theverge.com
7 min read
fairly easy
In opening arguments for Holmes' trial today, we may get a glimpse of why Theranos' story was engineered to be so compelling.
When I say "Elizabeth Holmes," a character probably comes to mind: wispy bleach-blonde hair, black turtleneck, thin, white, unusually low voice, unblinking gaze. In most of her magazine covers, she's holding a tiny vial meant to contain the "few drops of blood" needed for her company's finger-prick blood tests.

"When I finally connected with what Elizabeth fundamentally is, I realized that I could have just as well been looking into the eyes of a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates," Theranos advisor Channing Robertson, a Stanford chemical engineering professor, told Fortune in 2014. "She has sometimes been called another Steve Jobs, but I think that's an inadequate comparison," former defense secretary and Theranos board member William Perry told The New Yorker the same year. (Perry knew Jobs.) "She has a social consciousness that Steve never had. He was a genius; she's one with a big heart."

"I literally designed my whole life for this."

In the Forbes article, Holmes tells journalist Roger Parloff that she tests a drop of her own blood on a slide after a meal — claiming she can tell the difference between someone who had a healthy dinner and someone who had a cheeseburger. She told Inc that she didn't date and hadn't taken a vacation for all of her 20s. "I literally designed my whole life for this," she said — in what the article describes as "a strikingly baritone voice." She only stops working to go for seven-mile runs, she told Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, spouse of Silicon Valley VC Marc Andreesen, in a piece for The New York Times' T Magazine.

.@eholmes2003 says we must raise our little girls with the stereotype that they can be the best in engineering, science, and math. #CGI2015 — Theranos (@theranos) September 29, 2015

Before John Carreyrou's exposé was published in The Wall Street Journal, Theranos was valued at $9 billion. Now Holmes is facing 10 counts of wire fraud, along with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The character seems to be…
Elizabeth Lopatto
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