A couple of weeks ago I was at home in the middle of my Friday night routine of making dinner, and watching my usual Friday night lineup of the Cool Kids on Fox followed by either 20/20 or Dateline. That Friday night I chose 20/20 and that particular episode was titled “The Dropout.” This episode documented the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes the 35 year old entrepreneur and creator of Theranos, a company she claimed would be able to run over 200 blood tests on a single, teeny tiny drop of blood.
This is Theranos “Nanotainer”
Holmes claimed that the small amount of blood collected would then be put into a machine she called The Edison (another fraud if you ask me, we all know that Tesla was way better at his inventions and wasn’t a raging egotist) that would run over 200 blood tests. My question is, where is the FDA in all of this?
This “machine” supposedly would run a series of blood tests on that small amount of blood in under 4 hours.
Too good to be true? Yes, yes it was and not only did she deceive many of her multi-million dollar investors she also keeps up the falsity of her persona, which according to 20/20 she modeled after Steve Jobs. She even dropped out of Stanford at the age of nineteen, it seems she took this Steve Jobs imitation just a bit too far. Did she really think she’d be successful if she dropped out of college like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others? For a while maybe, but then everything went pear shaped.
She also began to dress like Jobs, in black turtlenecks and black two piece suits (creepy? Abso-fucking-lutely) never falling out of character in front of her employees, board members or the press. What struck me the most odd is that in spite of her emulating Steve Jobs, which for a woman is just plain icky weird, was that she faked her deep baritone voice, that’s right if that doesn’t say psychopath what does?
If you have to actively change your voice in order for people to take you seriously, then there are bigger issues at play here than pretending to be something you’re not. How do people know she’s not a baritone? One of her former employees that was interviewed in the 20/20 episode said that during a Christmas party a few years back, she had one too many cocktails and fell out of character and spoke in her “normal” voice. Which according to this former employee was high pitched and more feminine. There are even a couple of YouTube videos of her speaking in her “real” voice. Which was also corroborated by a former professor of hers from Stanford, saying that when she was in college, she didn’t talk that way.
The definition of a psychopath is someone that has superficial charm, inflated sense of self-worth, pathologically lies, lacks remorse or guilt, shallow emotions, conning others and being manipulative. Now Elizabeth Holmes’ has a lot of these traits and behaviors because she seemed to just seemed drink in the attention of being the darling of Silicon Valley. Giving interviews about her company and her invention, which was still not working the way she claimed, and speaking in that deep fake voice of hers. What she thought she’d gain from faking her voice or dressing like Steve Jobs one will never know, but the in-authenticity of it all just makes you wonder why someone would go through all that trouble to be someone or something they’re not? The Silicon Valley mantra of “fake it until you make it” seems to be taken to heart by Holmes in every aspect of her identity. But I suppose that’s what a psychopath does, they pretend to be something they’re not. Holmes has shown no remorse over the fraud she committed and still insists that her product works despite her former lab staff and software engineers saying it’s never did.
According to many of her former employees there is no way for over 200 blood tests to can be done on such a small amount of blood. A reporter for the Wall Street Journal named John Carreyrou launched an investigation into Theranos and Holmes claims about her product. He questioned employees of hers wanting to know about how Holmes’ “super invention” worked. And no one could explain how it worked, all they could do is tell him how it didn’t work, you can read his original WSJ article here. Even being indicted on Federal charges, nine counts of wire fraud to be exact, she is still (STILL) using her fake baritone voice. But why? I suppose she’s so delusional that she thinks people will still take her seriously even though her world is crumbling down around her if she still “pretends” to be successful. She just might be delusional enough to think her faded glory might come back and shine a light on her once again, not likely.
Her ability to convince people of her accomplishments was astounding, she was even invited to speak at a commencement ceremony at Pepperdine University. Not having graduated herself she spoke in front of a graduating class, spewing her “knowledge” and “experience” to a group of students who accomplished what she couldn’t, get their degrees. The act never stops, but maybe the Federal Government might force her to give up her false sense of inflated ego.
Maybe dropping out of Stanford was something Elizabeth Holmes shouldn’t have done, and yet somehow she was invited back to her alma mater (is it though if you never graduated?) to speak to a chemical engineering class after she started her fake company Theranos. In the 20/20 episode she says “At this point I didn’t think that a couple more classes in chemical engineering were going to help with what I wanted to do.”
YES! I definitely think it would have helped since what she was doing involved micro and nano fluidics and had she graduated maybe her “invention” and her company would have been successful. Instead she created a culture at her company of lying, hiding from her employees how her product had failed, touted her successful company that even Walgreen’s bought into it and fired everyone that questioned her claims of how her product was being used in Medivac helicopters and emergency rooms, which they weren’t she was lying yet again. If she had finished college maybe she wouldn’t have put peoples lives in danger with her false advertising and selfish personality. But then again a psychopath has no sense of remorse so maybe if she had graduated from Stanford she might have killed someone with her invention.
In the words of a famous Warner Bros star (Bugs Bunny) what a Maroon! Elizabeth Holmes is not Steve Jobs, not even close, in fact I think Jobs himself would be spinning in his grave at this cheap wannabe knockoff. So in this case imitation is definitely not the sincerest form of flattery. It’s like a counterfeit designer handbag, they are thousands out there and easy to buy but if you try and pass it of as real, once someone’s found out about it, they will never let you forget it.