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Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, Blood Tests: Fraud

theranos and silicon valley story

Theranos at Walgreens, Palo Alto

Fraud and Failure

Fail often, fail fast is often said to startup founders.  But why?  You can get an answer to ‘why’  from tech gurus, plain folk and failures as to why that might be a good thing. Supposedly the lessons learned are invaluable.

Here’s my take: if you need to fail to know what difficulties are, then good ahead and fail. But if you haven’t lived in the bubble called perfection then you know failure happens.

You don’t have to idolize failure however – or make it mythical –  which leads to complacency which leads to obtaining a lot of other people’s money, using them, lying, and more.

Let’s get specific. It gets us to Theranos and Noatta. You may not know Noatta (but you will because they owe yours truly) but you must know Theranos, the blood testing company now outed as a fraud.

I’ve written about Theranos since 2013, in the days when no one know who Elizabeth Holmes was. I called it “The Almost Perfect Palo Alto Start Up.” l loved the idea of faster, cheaper, better blood tests. I admitted I knew nothing of the tech but the idea of getting results according to Holmes’ view was great. I still think that way and agree with her you shouldn’t need an Rx to find out your triglyceride level or your vitamin D3 level. Health care costs are outrageous enough.  Why pay $400 to get an Rx to get a blood test? (ok, we know why – it’s a cash cow for the medical profession).

But today we know that Theranos had a talking head who was so very, very good at what she did,  con people  – that many are hurt. And she and lover boy, Sunny Bulwani may end up in prison.

I knew someone who worked closely with Holmes. She told me Elizabeth stayed late every night and was a real workaholic. She believed in Elizabeth through her outing. Maybe not now, I don’t know. Apparently Holmes had a way about her that could make you believe in her. Others not so much.

I knew she was special because the Executive Office of the President came to my website to my post called Blood Money  Also arriving was DOJ,  DOD and CIA. Initial soup – but why? Well, the Executive Office of the President came in on the keywords ‘general mattis and theranos’ The date was early December 2015. And Holmes’ Dad was CIA and her mom was also a Washington DC insider. And someone from Theranos itself would come with keywords ‘theranos fraud’. (November and December 2015).

And then came all the wealth management firms (to see what they could learn to consider investing), her competitors such as Lab Corps, Quest Diagnostics, etc and finally, the lawyers…including a firm involved with Enron case. I knew the end was near then.

Elizabeth, you didn’t have to fail unethically. Maybe if you announced your troubles, helpers would have come that you didn’t need to defraud.

And Noatta: you should have listened to what people were telling you. But that’s another story.

Failure is only good if it helps you. Not when your friends and helpers are bamboozled and betrayed.


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