The Reporter Who Took Down a Unicorn


Another Theranos story.

That first Carreyrou story reported that Theranos’s blood-testing machine had significant accuracy issues and had been used for only 15 out of a claimed 240 tests. Subsequent stories revealed that the machines never really worked, would often malfunction, and could lead to inaccurate diagnoses. Today, the investors are gone; Holmes and the former president and chief operating officer of Theranos, Sunny Balwani, who was also her secret boyfriend at the time, are both facing federal criminal investigations, and they have been charged by the SEC with running an “elaborate, years-long fraud.”

The story of Theranos may be the biggest case of corporate fraud since Enron. But it’s also the story of how a lot of powerful men were fooled by a remarkably brazen liar. It took just one reporter, and three former Theranos employees, to expose her.

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Yashar Ali — NY Mag

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What Silicon Valley Can Learn from the Theranos Fraud Case


The flip side of the startup story. Sometimes things go very wrong.

As for Holmes’s future, Angel said, “she is very tainted, so no public company would really want to have her on board.” At the same time, he described her as “very intelligent, very talented and a great salesperson, [who] will land on her feet eventually.” Guay agreed. “Any kind of public role where a company would put her forward as a spokesperson or as a person of importance — that’s going to be a non-starter, at least for a while.”

Guay wondered how things may have come to such a pass at Theranos. “In many fraud circumstances, they sometimes start with small lies, and then those small lies have to be backed up with bigger and bigger lies,” he said. “[It is about] understanding how that all evolved here — whether this was something that [Holmes] felt she had to do or wanted early on, and then she dug herself a hole that she couldn’t get out of. It’s hard to know exactly how that evolved.”

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Today’s needull is a detailed story on the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos. Reading success stories of people like Elon Musk inspires us. But, there is a feeling of disappointment at ourselves on why we could not achieve as much. Conversely, reading about the fall of some previously successful figure gives us that guilty pleasure – they were not that different from us after all. Schadenfreude.

Forbes, clearly embarrassed by its cover story, removed Holmes from its list of “America’s Richest Self-Made Women.” A year earlier, it had estimated her wealth at $4.5 billion. “Today, Forbes is lowering our estimate of her net worth to nothing,” the editors wrote. Fortune had its mea culpa, with the author stating boldly that “Theranos misled me.” Director Adam McKay, fresh off his Oscar for The Big Short, has even signed on to make a movie based on Holmes, tentatively titled Bad Blood. (On the bright side for Holmes, Jennifer Lawrence is attached as the lead.)

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Vanity Fair — Nick Bilton

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