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Theranos: The Elizabeth Holmes Reality Distortion Field

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I had only been vaguely aware of the Elizabeth Holmes saga until recently. My impression from all the magazine covers had been that the celebrated Silicon Valley startup foundrix had invented some revolutionary disruptive new method for testing blood and made the Forbes 400 off her invention.

Back in 2014, this high tech startup’s board of directors was … remarkable. From Fortune:

Little known and privately held, Theranos has assembled what may be, in terms of public service, the most illustrious board in U.S. corporate history. It includes three former U.S. cabinet secretaries, two former U.S. senators, a retired Navy admiral and a retired Marine Corps general.

In 2011, explains company founder Elizabeth Holmes, she realized that changing the way health care is delivered in this country would require the help of great strategists.

That July she finagled an introduction to George Shultz (above), the former Secretary of State, Treasury, and Labor, at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Shultz had held four cabinet-level positions, counting his stint as director of the Office of Management and Budget, and had also been president of engineering giant Bechtel Group and a director at biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. …

Schultz, Holmes, the late Lee Kwan Yew

Three years later nearly all the other outside directors on Theranos’s board are people who were introduced to the company through Shultz, now 93. They are former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Bill Frist (a heart-transplant surgeon), retired U.S. Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, retired U.S. Marine Corp Gen. James Mattis, former Wells Fargo CEO and chairman Dick Kovacevich, and former Bechtel Group CEO Riley Bechtel.

Why isn’t Prince Bandar on her board?

This sounds a lot like that Strategic Advisory Board for Genie Oil and Gas, which is drilling in the Golan Heights: Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, Bill Richardson, Mary Landrieu, Lord Rothschild, Jim Woolsey, and Larry Summers.

This sounds like a good data mining project for moneyballing investors: which famous name on boards is most often associated with firms with something to hide? Can you detect patterns of board membership that have predictive value?

Maybe statistics would suggest that adding superlawyer David Boies to your Board isn’t a good sign?

David Boies – Director
David Boies is the Chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, an internationally recognized trial lawyer, legal advisor and counselor to boards of directors. Mr. Boies served as Special Trial Counsel for the United States Department of Justice in its antitrust suit against Microsoft; lead counsel for former Vice-President Al Gore in connection with litigation relating to the 2000 Florida vote count; and as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Perry v. Brown, which established for the first time the federal constitutional right for gay and lesbian citizens to marry.

From the WSJ just after Christmas:

At Theranos, Many Strategies and Snags
Elizabeth Holmes’s blood-testing ambition has long collided with technological problems

By John Carreyrou

The night before a big meeting with a Swiss drug company in 2008, Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes and a colleague sat in a Zurich hotel, sticking their fingers with a lancet.

They drew drops of their own blood to try the company’s testing machine, but the devices wouldn’t work, says someone familiar with the incident. Sometimes the results were obviously too high. Sometimes they were too low. Sometimes the machines spit out only an error message.

After two hours, the colleague called it quits, leaving Ms. Holmes still squeezing blood from her fingers to test it again.

Ever since she launched Theranos in 2003 when she was 19 years old and dropped out of Stanford University, Ms. Holmes has been driven by ambition that is big even by Silicon Valley standards. Instead of a smartphone app to hail a car or order food, she wants to revolutionize health care with a vast range of diagnostic tests run with a few drops of finger-pricked blood.

Now 31, Ms. Holmes has emphasized a variety of strategies—a hand-held device, tests for drugmakers, drugstore clinics—while trying to turn her dream into a business. She often has collided with technological problems, according to interviews with more than 20 former Theranos employees, company emails and complaints filed with federal regulators.

In Switzerland, she went ahead and pricked her finger in front of a group of Novartis AG executives at the meeting the next day, testing for a protein that measures inflammation, says the person familiar with the incident.

All three of her Theranos devices flickered with error messages, the person says. Ms. Holmes was unfazed, blamed a minor technical glitch and continued to pitch the vast potential of her technology.

At the WSJDLive 2015 conference, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes discusses her company’s proprietary technologies, the FDA’s inspection of its facilities and the assertion that Theranos was too quick to market its products.

Ms. Holmes and several current or former Theranos directors declined interview requests. A spokeswoman for Theranos, Brooke Buchanan, says Ms. Holmes recalls only one machine with an error message, because someone tripped over the cord. A second machine ran perfectly, and the third wasn’t used, the spokeswoman says. A Novartis spokeswoman wouldn’t comment.

Since a Wall Street Journal article in October, Ms. Holmes has defended the Palo Alto, Calif., company’s laboratory work and promised to publish data proving the accuracy of its more than 240 tests, ranging from pregnancy to diabetes.

She said earlier this month that customer volume was higher than ever. The company has said it performed millions of tests, with highly positive feedback.

For now, though, Theranos has stopped collecting tiny samples of blood from patients’ fingers for all but one of its tests while it waits for the Food and Drug Administration to review the company’s applications for wider use of the small proprietary vials called “nanotainers.” As a result, Theranos is using traditional lab machines for most of its tests.

But it turns out that back in 2003 she only came up with the idea that it would be awesome to invent some revolutionary new method for testing blood that wouldn’t require a big needle. (Getting rich off a replacement for the needle isn’t a wholly original idea, either. In the 2000 movie Boiler Room, a fictionalized version of The Wolf of Wall Street shenanigans, the boys are pushing a penny stock firm said to have invented a replacement for the hypodermic needle.)

The various devices that Theranos’s engineers have come up with since then evidently haven’t worked well enough to get FDA approval, so Theranos has apparently been using its large sums of investor money to have the blood tests it does at drug stores processed the old-fashioned way. (And / or deliver not very reliable results.)

This kind of fake-it-until-you-make-it strategy is hardly unknown. I suspect numerous successful companies went through just such a ploy of promising a revolutionary cheaper technology and then delivering on contracts using an expensive old fashioned technology until making the new tech work.

Of course, so did lots of ultimately unsuccessful companies.

It’s also not uncommon in Silicon Valley for entrepreneurs who are funded for their original idea to get repurposed into working on something else when the original idea proves a dud, but the investors still like the founders’ personalities.

Obviously, she’s good at impressing important men. That’s a remunerative skill, even without being an inventor. The interesting question is why didn’t she get redirected away from a field, biotechnology, in which she had no particular technical skills to one in which her abundant people skills would be useful?

But perhaps the Elizabeth Holmes’ reality distortion field was so strong that all the venture capitalists and famous board members backing her never noticed that she actually wasn’t a genius biotech inventor? Or did it have something to do with everybody who was anybody getting too invested in the idea that it was time for Silicon Valley to have a female Steve Jobs (she wears black turtlenecks like Jobs) to notice?

P.S., Back in October, Holmes was named to the Board of Trustees of the Center for Strategic & International Studies:

CSIS Names 9 New Members to its Board of Trustees
OCT 1, 2015
WASHINGTON, October 1, 2015—The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to announce that Erskine Bowles [Clinton Administration chief of staff], William Daley [Obama chief of staff], Stanley Druckenmiller [formerly Soros Management Fund], Martin Edelman [real estate legal rainmaker active in Persian Gulf gigadeals], Elizabeth Holmes, Ronald Kirk [black mayor of Dallas, US Trade Rep], Leon Panetta [got Osama as CIA boss, then Sec of Def], Bob Schieffer [Face the Nation], and Frances Townsend [chair of Homeland Security Council under Bush] have joined the CSIS Board of Trustees.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Elizabeth Holmes, Silicon Valley, Theranos

258 Comments to "Theranos: The Elizabeth Holmes Reality Distortion Field"

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  1. I just want to let everyone know that for a short period of time, I am changing my name to the Squire of Gothos.

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  2. Return of Kings posted about Holmes and her pseudo-startup the other day:

    Is Theranos A Girl-Powered Scam?

    http://www.returnofkings.com/76246/is-theranos-a-girl-powered-scam

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  3. Payout or quality….that is the question here. This product sounds like the mental equivalent of premature ejaculation.

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  4. One detail in the first big WSJ expose of the Theranos Hoax(?) really stuck in my mind…

    Apparently, her top technical guy was some experienced scientist in the field, who was an early hire in the company and was responsible for actually getting the “revolutionary new technology” built while she was going around celebrity cocktail-parties as the PR person armed with her reality-distortion field.

    According to the WSJ article, a couple of years ago that top technical guy left a note saying “It Just Doesn’t Work!” and committed suicide. Naturally, none of the venture-capital firms paid any attention to that minor detail, and continued pouring in their mega-oceans of new funding.

    Perhaps I’ve getting a few details garbled in my memory, so be sure to check the WSJ article for yourself…

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  5. ¡Ay caramba! Well, I imagine Henry A. Kissinger, born in 1923, has had a lot of blood tests so I can see why you’ld want him on your BoD. And … bonus … he probably knows some good dealing-with-the-feds white-collar defense attorneys.

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  6. This kind of fake-it-until-you-make-it strategy is hardly unknown. I suspect numerous successful companies went through just such a ploy of promising a revolutionary cheaper technology and then delivering on contracts using an expensive old fashioned technology until making the new tech work.

    Reminds me of the ’48 Tucker. Except that it wasn’t successful.

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  7. >>As a result, Theranos is using traditional lab machines for most of its tests….

    Brings to mind those hipsters in Brooklyn who were caught marketing imported, melted down French chocolate as their own home-brewed bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate at $10 per bar.

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  8. Steve: I think the last bit of the 3rd-to-last paragraph got cut off.

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  9. Steve, you might want to look into the background of Laura Deming. The mythology about her sounds a lot like Holmes’s, but at earlier stage in her hype cycle:

    http://www.tedmed.com/speakers/show?id=46921

    Laura Deming

    IN A NUTSHELL:

    LAURA DEMING, an 18-year-old venture capitalist and Thiel Fellow, will tell us how she found the next emerging market through her passion for extending the human healthspan.

    BIO:
    Currently a Forbes 30 under 30 star and partner at The Longevity Fund, Laura has wanted to cure aging since the age of 8. After years working on nematode longevity at the UCSF graduate school, Laura matriculated at MIT at 14 to work on artificial organogenesis and bone aging, and is now based in San Francisco, working to find and fund therapies to extend the human healthspan. She has also recently become a Board Observer at Navitor Pharmaceuticals.

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  10. The problems of working with “nano” blood samples have been known for years (basically capillary sourced blood isn’t chemically the same as blood from a vein), but it’s a little counter intuitive to an engineering school drop-out like Betsy. Any competent Laboratory Medicine physician could have told them they were doomed years ago. Also the medical testing field is so regulated there’s no real money to be made.

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  11. She sounds like a vampire.

    Genius for bleeding other people’s money.

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  12. That’s too bad, I liked seeing a character from The Master & Margarita sometimes converse here with the main character in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

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  13. Anonymous
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    Jobs could at least intimidate the nerds under him to come up with something when necessary. Holmes doesn’t have that luxury as a woman. A woman boss just can’t inspire or intimidate male underlings to pull through.

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  14. Ok, who is this young wunderkind related to? In all the various parts to the story that appears to be the one that is either downplayed or conveniently omitted. She just happens to be a Stanford dropout? So what? Lots of students drop out of Stanford but they don’t get to have big wigs sitting on their board of their startup. And she didn’t have to go thru gofundme or kickstarter to raise the necessary capital.

    Are we supposed to believe that she didn’t come from a well connected/mega wealthy family in her own right? She’s not distantly related to the actress Katie Holmes? Or someone on her mother’s side is some third generation Hewlett Packard co-founding member?

    There’s something there. There just has to be. Richard Sherman, he of the NFL, did actually graduate from Stanford and so did QB Andrew Luck. So if this Holmes is some middle class nobody in her own right who couldn’t cut the mustard at Stanford but happened to just luck into meeting George Schultz?

    It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t add up, and there’s something there somewhere.

    Come on, who is she really? Is she George Schultz’s great-granddaughter or distant seventh cousin once removed from Lee Kwan Yew? Or Chelsea’s step-cousin? Somehow, somewhere there is an answer.

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  15. Some useful alt-right terms can be applied here:

    A prog fantasy story that turns out to be another narrative collapse, another example of the poz:

    http://www.socialmatter.net/2015/12/21/desperately-seeking-susan-jobs/

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  16. “a couple of years ago that top technical guy left a note saying “It Just Doesn’t Work!” and committed suicide. ”

    Sounds like a movie script in the making. Who would play Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow?

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  17. First clue – TED speaker
    Eddie Huang on TED experience.

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  18. “According to the WSJ article, a couple of years ago that top technical guy left a note saying “It Just Doesn’t Work!” and committed suicide. Naturally, none of the venture-capital firms paid any attention to that minor detail, and continued pouring in their mega-oceans of new funding.

    Perhaps I’ve getting a few details garbled in my memory, so be sure to check the WSJ article for yourself…”

    Ron Unz, from the October article in the WSJ:

    “In 2005, Ms. Holmes hired Ian Gibbons, a British biochemist who had researched systems to handle and process tiny quantities of fluids. His collaboration with other Theranos scientists produced 23 patents, according to records filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ms. Holmes is listed as a co-inventor on 19 of the patents.

    The patents show how Ms. Holmes’s original idea morphed into the company’s business model. But progress was slow. Dr. Gibbons “told me nothing was working,” says his widow, Rochelle.

    In May 2013, Dr. Gibbons committed suicide. Theranos’s Ms. King says the scientist “was frequently absent from work in the last years of his life, due to health and other problems.” Theranos disputes the claim that its technology was failing.

    After Dr. Gibbons’s widow spoke to a Journal reporter, a lawyer representing Theranos sent her a letter threatening to sue her if she continued to make “false statements” about Ms. Holmes and disclose confidential information. Ms. Gibbons owns Theranos shares that she inherited from her husband.”

    Geeze, this company is supposedly worth $9 billion!

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  19. I mentioned the Theranos similarity in a comment on your Genie post: http://www.unz.com/isteve/good-news-for-syrian-refugees/#comment-1260453

    Re the idea of doing blood tests with just a drop of blood, there already are a couple that I know of that can be done that way with existing tech: blood sugar and complete blood count (CBC). Diabetics check their blood sugar now, with expensive chemical test strips (there’s a grey market for diabetics’ unused strips). The margins on those test strips must be huge. I can see why Theranos investors had dollar signs in their eyes.

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  20. Obviously, she’s good at impressing important men.

    There’s an enormous oversupply of women trying to impress important men. It’s a competitive field. Maybe she’s good at impressing biotech nerds instead? That would be a lot easier. And a successful tech company COULD be created that way – she’d just have to attract the right nerds.

    But there’s a structural problem: in determining which nerds are geniuses and which ones aren’t a woman would necessarily have to rely on the judgement of other men, usually other nerds. She can’t make that judgement herself, not correctly anyway. But people lie. And they don’t work as hard at being objective when it’s not their money at stake. Second-hand judgements are, on average, less accurate than first-hand ones. Who knows, maybe that was her company’s problem.

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  21. OT- Merkel claims that Germaness is a state of mind:

    “Next year is about one thing in particular: our cohesion,” Merkel said. “It is important not to follow those who, with coldness or even hate in their hearts, want to claim Germanness solely for themselves and exclude others.”

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  22. “Ok, who is this young wunderkind related to?”

    Good blood, good bone old money folks. Fleischman’s Yeast money from way back. Her father works for the government in foreign aid and has also worked as a high ranking staffer in the energy industry. Her mother was a Congressional aid in defense and foreign affairs before starting a family. Not super important people themselves, but extremely respectable.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/12/15/blood-simpler

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  23. I just saw a brief clip of Elizabeth Holmes’ TedMed talk. She has a surprisingly masculine voice.

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  24. But it turns out that back in 2003 she only came up with the idea that it would be awesome to invent some revolutionary new method for testing blood.

    I like to show this TED Talk parody to kids to hit home the ideas-are-like-belly buttons thing, and to take these Snake Oil Change Agents with a grain of salt.

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  25. anonymous
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    Sounds like she may end up being charged with fraud unless big clout can protect her. There’s a bewildering array of people on these boards with little in common besides being on the make. Kissinger? Some of those named are fairly well up in years which brings up the peculiar psychology of many of them, that is, no matter how old and close to eternity they are they’re still out there trying to turn yet another dollar somehow. When is enough ever enough? It’s hard to understand this mindset.

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  26. Who would play Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow?

    No, actually it’ll be Shia LaBeouf — the gender of the main character will be changed to enhance the story.

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  27. Aha. So technically its possible that her mother may have met George Schultz a few times. In that case her family was in the loop to some extent.

    Fleishman’s sponsored Rudy Vallee’s radio show back in the late ’20′s by the way, so yes they do go way back. Max Fleishman, either the illustrator or one of the founders of Fleishman’s Yeast committed suicide and before that untimely event was a friend/acquaintance of Ty Cobb (who later lived in Atherton, CA an area then as now is a fairly wealthy area and stones throw from Silicon Valley).

    In other words, Holmes didn’t just come from out of nowhere. There was a John Holmes of some notoriety, but he passed away in the ’80s, and came from obscure origins. But I already took for granted that this Holmes wasn’t related to that uh,…blood line.

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  28. Kissinger has got to be Paul Sorvino … maybe Mira could be Elizabeth Holmes? How cool would that be?

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  29. It reminds me of the MCI ads in the 1990′s where they claimed they had a great new video conferencing feature. It turns out the idea was invented by their marketing people, sold to to top brass as real, and left to the IT grunts to implement. When the IT grunts told them it wasn’t possible, the IT grunts were the ones responsible somehow.

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  30. The New Yorker article noted that a Fleischman relative had been one of the founding investors in The New Yorker.

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  31. Re the idea of doing blood tests with just a drop of blood, there already are a couple that I know of that can be done that way with existing tech: blood sugar and complete blood count (CBC). Diabetics check their blood sugar now, with expensive chemical test strips (there’s a grey market for diabetics’ unused strips). The margins on those test strips must be huge. I can see why Theranos investors had dollar signs in their eyes.

    IMHO –MBlood sugar: yes. CBC: no. Money in testing: no.

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  32. Anonymous
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    Judging by the ages of the powerful old men she has surrounded herself with, she didn’t sleep her way to the top. She prostate massaged her way to the top.

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  33. I did a lot of early 1990s videoconferences. They worked well enough in the sense that you could sort of see the person at the other end, but not well enough to build a personal relationship.

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  34. Thanks. That must be where I got the idea.

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  35. “I just saw a brief clip of Elizabeth Holmes’ TedMed talk. She has a surprisingly masculine voice.”

    You can’t tell anything from the sound of someone’s voice. Why, Francis the Talking Mule also had a very masculine voice.

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  36. in determining which nerds are geniuses and which ones aren’t a woman would necessarily have to rely on the judgement of other men, usually other nerds. She can’t make that judgement herself, not correctly anyway.

    Women show nerd-blindness in general, compared with their ability to pick out the jock, jerks, thugs, cads, bad boys, rakes, narcissistic sociopaths, etc., they prefer for their early sexual experiences.

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  37. Anonymous
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    Not to mention that finger sticks can be more painful than venous blood draws. I can recall experiences with both, and I would much rather have blood drawn from a vein than a finger stick.

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  38. Steve,

    Ready for some deja vu? Take a look at Meredith Perry and uBeam.

    Very similar storyline….

    http://fortune.com/2015/12/02/meredith-perry-ubeam-criticism-science/

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  39. This sounds like a good data mining project for moneyballing investors: which famous name on boards is most often associated with firms with something to hide?

    That’s a great idea. Does anyone know of any good sources for company board member data?

    Here is one commercial database: http://datacards.alc.com/market?page=research/datacard&id=56322
    Interesting to see what a small percentage of board members are on more than one BOD (~2% there).

    This looks like a comprehensive source. I wonder what it costs…

    http://thomsonreuters.com/en/products-services/financial/company-data/officers-directors.html

    This site says sec.gov does not have the right data, but does not suggest an alternative: http://e-pluribusunum.org/2014/02/19/rankandfiled-com-is-like-the-secs-edgar-database-but-for-humans/

    It might be possible to scrape EDGAR (search for “DEF 14A”) proxy filings. In the AAPL filing the section heading is “DIRECTORS, CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND EXECUTIVE OFFICERS”, but I don’t know if that is consistent between filings.

    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/320193/000119312515017607/d774604ddef14a.htm#toc774604_3

    You can get the number of boards someone serves on (e.g. 65 for George Shultz) at http://www.dnb.com.au/Express/results/director_list.asp
    but it costs $56 to get the actual report.

    It would also be interesting to do some social network analysis on corporate BOD connections. Here’s a 2003 paper looking at the Fortune 1000: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1140%2Fepjb%2Fe2004-00127-8#page-1
    Also see http://soq.sagepub.com/content/1/3/301.abstract

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  40. The spectre of eugenics never sleeps:

    <blockquote>Britain’s largest sperm bank has been turning away donors with dyslexia in what it describes as attempts to “minimise the risk of transmitting common genetic diseases or malformations to any children born”.

    In a practice branded “eugenics” by campaigners and a would-be donor, the London Sperm Bank has banned men with dyslexia or other common conditions it described as “neurological diseases” from donating.

    A leaflet to donors lists a series of conditions the clinic screens for, including: attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], autism, Asperger syndrome, dyslexia and the motor disorder dyspraxia.

    Steve O’Brien, chair of the Dyslexia Foundation and a board member of the International Dyslexia Association, said: “This is eugenics. It’s trying to say that dyslexics shouldn’t be in society. But we’re moving into a visually dominated world of Instagram and YouTube where given the right tools it is no longer an issue, because people with dyslexia are right-brained often with hyper-visual skills.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/dec/29/largest-uk-sperm-bank-turns-away-dyslexic-donors

    Caplan makes the distinction between hard and soft eugenics, the former being more closely associated with Nazi Germany and the killing of so-called undesirables. Soft eugenics, or what’s often referred to as positive eugenics, is the attempt to make better babies. So, in the sense that sperm banks are promoting and encouraging the idea of having babies built to order, then yes, it can be referred to as a form of positive eugenics.

    “In this case, customers are selecting for traits they want, and avoiding traits they don’t want,” Caplan explained to Gizmodo.

    Bioethicist Nigel Cameron, the president of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies, says the practice is absolutely eugenics— and that sperm banks are starting to take it too far. “There is something inherently eugenic about assisted reproduction unless donations are accepted, by clinics and recipients, sight unseen,” he told Gizmodo. “When we take this to the extent they have, banning the color blind, we are wading in deep.”

    http://gizmodo.com/are-sperm-banks-in-the-business-of-eugenics-1750320665

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  41. Anonymous
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    Charles Louis Flesichmann, the founder of Fleischmann’s Yeast, was Jewish. So Elizabeth Holmes has a small amount of Jewish ancestry if her great-great-grandfather married Fleischmann’s daughter.

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  42. “former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Bill Frist (a heart-transplant surgeon), retired U.S. Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, retired U.S. Marine Corp Gen. James Mattis, former Wells Fargo CEO and chairman Dick Kovacevich, and former Bechtel Group CEO Riley Bechtel.”

    Any comparatively new corporation that feels the need to have that many heavy hitters on its Board of Directors has something to hide.

    • Agree: Travis
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  43. foundrix
    adventuress
    provocateuse

    the foundrix is an adventuress provocateuse.

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  44. Remember the “woman” with the 3 wheel car back in the seventies? It was a transsexual and the tech was a scam. How things change.

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  45. I’m so with you on this!

    There’s something here…but what?

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  46. I feel like the Board might be able to call in a drone strike on short sellers.

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  47. Maybe Holmes wasn’t unmasked earlier because she named her firm Theranos instead of. . . Cellyndra?

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  48. “Steve: I think the last bit of the 3rd-to-last paragraph got cut off.”

    That bit now reads: “more than 240 tests, ranging from pregnancy to diabetes”.
    The concept “range” can apply to number intervals, because the number line is one-dimensional. But how can 240 tests be arranged in a straight line in which “pregnancy test” is at one end, and “diabetes test” is at the other end? Which tests lie between “pregnancy” and “diabetes”?
    Point: The phrase “ranging from pregnancy to diabetes” conveys no more information than “including pregnancy and diabetes”.

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  49. Right, getting blood taken from the inside of my elbow is pretty straightforward, but I’m squeamish about getting jabbed in the finger.

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  50. The New Yorker reporter says she drops her voice an octave when she gets up on stage to give a speech, presumably to sound more authoritative.

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  51. I did a quick search after Michael Moritz quoted that WSJ article in his FT op/Ed on “unicorns”, and I couldn’t find any mention of that guy’s suicide before the WSJ article. I thought that was pretty odd, considering the plethora of articles about Holmes & Theranos before the WSJ expose.

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  52. Have you seen Sam Hyde’s TED talk?

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  53. Mast Brothers. I bought one their bars on sale once at Whole Foods. Beautiful packaging, but it tasted like baking chocolate. Speaking of which:

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  54. Franzen mocks the TED talks and quest for immortality of Silicon Valley elites in his most recent novel.

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  55. Women (not necessarily Holmes) can be very good at getting men to do what they want.

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  56. A leaflet to donors lists a series of conditions the clinic screens for, including: attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], autism, Asperger syndrome, dyslexia and the motor disorder dyspraxia.

    HOW do they screen? Likely they screen by asking sperm donors to be honest. If these anti-eugenics people are so upset about parents screening for good traits, then they can disrupt the process by creating fictional accomplishments and donating sperm and siring vast numbers of children afflicted with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, autism, etc and sit back and wait for the Jodie Fosters of the world to sue the sperm banks for misleading advertising.

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  57. “female Steve Jobs”

    You could reasonably have written off pretty much every single thing Steve Jobs did as a stooopid idea which’ll never work, until it actually did.

    It’s really hard to figure out which tech ideas are brilliant and which are stupid. Heck, most of the employees of a tech startup don’t have any real insight into whether they are working on a great product or a fundamentally dumb idea. Even when a company fails, it doesn’t necessarily mean its detractors knew what the hell they were talking about.

    Given Theranos huge valuation, I’m highly skeptical of any simple story explaining why it’s a fraud. Solyndra’s failure didn’t validate Republican skepticism about alternate energy — like a stopped clock, they also mocked Tesla. Likewise, if Theranos fails, it’ll say nothing at all about women founder of tech startups. Or even about Elizabeth Holmes!

    By the way, this also highlights why liberals are so reluctant to acknowledge race and gender differences. Whatever differences exist are stastistical in nature and are pretty useless in predicting individual success or failure. But it’s just too tempting to judge a female CEO or a black President to their race or gender when analyzing their success or failure.

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  58. Girl reporters tend to drop an octave at the end of a sentence. They surely teach this faux-gravitas at J school.

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  59. Yeah, there was an article recently arguing her tech was physically impossible without being incredibly dangerous.

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  60. Anonymous
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    prostatemasseuse

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  61. Anonymous
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    The problems of working with “nano” blood samples have been known for years (basically capillary sourced blood isn’t chemically the same as blood from a vein), but it’s a little counter intuitive to an engineering school drop-out like Betsy. Any competent Laboratory Medicine physician could have told them they were doomed years ago. Also the medical testing field is so regulated there’s no real money to be made.

    Not to self: when trying to make a quick buck on VC-backed, smoke and mirrors tech, stay away from a legitimate scientific and rigorously controlled field like medicine. Lest I be proven to be a fraud before I can cash out to work on another start up.

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  62. Nerve density in your fingers is a lot greater. A trick they teach diabetics is to stick the side of your finger, which is less sensitive. And they have lancing devices for home use where you can adjust the depth of the strike to the minimum required to get the blood.

    But when I got a CBC test once, the tech just stabbed my finger with some implement which was much more painful.

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  63. There are worse reality distortion fields for elites:

    http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2015/12/31/2015123101249.html

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  64. Maybe not uncommon in male-dominated fields. When I was in mutual fund wholesaling, I recall having a casual conversation with the only female wholesaler at a convention of some sort. She sounded in the normal range then. But when she got up to give her presentation, she sounded like a football coach.

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  65. anonymous
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    OT: “…Merkel said. “It is important not to follow those who, with coldness or even hate in their hearts, want to claim Germanness solely for themselves and exclude others.”…

    Yes! We are all Germans now! Deutschland über alles at last! The last surviving nazi zombie vampire from Antarctica did manage to slip the potion into Merkel’s drink, I guess.

    “Hate in their hearts”? I seem to be hearing “haters gotta hate” a lot on the radio recently, I suppose it’s the approved response to all those who might not be instantly ready to announce they have become German overnight. The poor souls who don’t realize they’ve been Trans-Germaned all along.

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  66. But when she speaks she betrays a bit of uptalk. That’s a dead give away of something not good.

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  67. Anonymous
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    Not her fingers, after all those prostate massages. By now they’re probably very tough and calloused.

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  68. You wrote something like this about Maggie Thatcher: “Sir Laurence Olivier arranged voice lessons for Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s. She learned to sound less shrill and more calmly authoritative.”

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/09/why-did-lesbian-democrat-lose-so-badly.html

    Hillary could use some coaching to get that “edge” off her voice. I can’t imagine any man voting for someone who sounds like this:

    She could cause a mass epidemic of genital retraction syndrome.

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  69. It happened in Hawaii in the go-go ’80s.

    A con named Ron Rewald established an investment firm in Hawaii called “Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong.”

    That would be the equivalent of a Wall Street firm being named “Goldman, Buffett, Bloomberg, Maddoff, and Blankfein.”

    It was a pyramid scamp that no one noticed as long as the money came in.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Rewald

    People want to believe the story.

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  70. Anonymous
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    Lots of BMR – Beta Male Rage – in this thread…..

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  71. Assuming it will take a few years for the investigation and all the details to come to light and then another year or two for Aaron Sorkin to write a screenplay and get it produced, I’d say Jennifer Lawrence (then 30) will have matured into the role.

    She will give very conflicted interviews during the press junket, trying to spin the whole affair in a feminist way. Hopefully Sorkin won’t try to pin it all on the suicided stale pale male who failed to make the astounding genius tech grrrl’s dream come true, but Jennifer Lawrence will probably try to.

    I hope there’s a gratuitous Quaaludes scene, perhaps involving people jabbing themselves with lancets.

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  72. All I know is she can distort the reality of my field any time.

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  73. But at least the finger pick is a tiny needle. What they take from the elbow is a massively ginormous needle, must be nearly four to five inches long. Goodness gracious.

    Maybe that’s what Holmes is selling: The promise. The idea that instead of having to get a vein drained or at least major amount of blood taken from that area, the same exact results can be gained all by the jab of a finger. After all, if medical science can now produce accurate results for some things, like blood sugar and total cholesterol levels, why not go for the whole nine yards and have all the blood work done by a simple jab of the finger? After all, it wasn’t that long ago when the finger results weren’t recommended, whereas now they can give about 95% accuracy on the few results that they can measure. Therefore, why not attempt to get all the blood work, just by the jab of that finger?

    And, they do tend to use a much smaller needle when they jab the finger.

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  74. Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence, how come she wasn’t cast in the new Star Wars film? Is she too old for the lead or something? Or maybe Lucas will cast her as one of the main baddies in the next installment, so she can face off vs. the new heroine?

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  75. So, basically, there are billions of dollars to be made from modern Americans aversion to a pin-prick.

    May I suggest y’all go and see ‘The Revenant’ to remind yourselves of the way we used to be?

    Somewhere, the ghost of Hugh Glass is grunting in disgust.

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  76. But perhaps the Elizabeth Holmes’ reality distortion field was so strong that all the venture capitalists and famous board members backing her never noticed that she actually wasn’t a genius biotech inventor?

    She’s leveraging an already existing reality-distortion field driven by smaller family sizes. Powerful men more often now have only female heirs to carry on their legacy (directly) so push them toward more traditionally masculine pursuits, and the institutions they dominate to support them.

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  77. As someone who lives and works in the area, the tell will be when the board members start to resign.

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  78. How much is the value of having these solons on the board of directors? Is it just social proof?

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  79. Anonymous
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    First time I heard of the claims, I thought “what a pile of bullshit; there is no way it can be true – not without at least a hint of how it is done”. All the other components of the scam came into the focus later. All in all, the scam is pretty remarkable even though I still don’t understand how she managed to get all these people. There must be someone behind the scenes.

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  80. https://i.imgflip.com/wlzl2.jpg

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  81. Your best medical frauds are in the billing area of the MediCare-Industrial complex. Step one bill x millions and get paid for 5-10 YEARS; step two, when feds come knocking it’s back to Fraudistan. (I know iSteve is a big fan of these type of smash-grab-and-flees.) It all comes down to blocking and tackling.

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  82. The interesting thing is they stopped accepting ginger donors years ago, and nobody cared. Now apparently it’s worse to exclude dyslexics than to exclude gingers.

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  83. Theranos bumped up against all blood tests getting less expensive. We have walk in blood test discounters in my area and you can get the tests done 100% privately without an MD’s authorization. Blood tests have become commodified. I would be going to go with these guys that draw blood into one vial or a few vials depending on how many tests you get at the same time. They will be less expensive. But so far my tests have been covered by insurance.

    The main advantage of Theranos was a pin prick and just taking a drop or two? Theranos overestimated how many people hated blood being drawn and wanted it done via a pin prick. Instinctively I would go for large volume via vials than relying on just a few drops of blood to analyze. Plus this kind of “miniaturization” is going to cost lots more. Theranos found out it could not be done. Not now at least and not at a good enough price and not quickly deliverable. FAIL!

    And my local blood test discounters also do inexpensive B12 shots. So I got a few just because I heard so much about them.

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  84. The black turtle neck sweater uniform screams “poseur”.

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  85. Yup, that’s a huge detail in the October 2015 WSJ article that kicked off the latest round:

    In 2005, Ms. Holmes hired Ian Gibbons, a British biochemist who had researched systems to handle and process tiny quantities of fluids. His collaboration with other Theranos scientists produced 23 patents, according to records filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ms. Holmes is listed as a co-inventor on 19 of the patents.

    The patents show how Ms. Holmes’s original idea morphed into the company’s business model. But progress was slow. Dr. Gibbons “told me nothing was working,” says his widow, Rochelle.

    In May 2013, Dr. Gibbons committed suicide. Theranos’s Ms. King says the scientist “was frequently absent from work in the last years of his life, due to health and other problems.” Theranos disputes the claim that its technology was failing.

    After Dr. Gibbons’s widow spoke to a Journal reporter, a lawyer representing Theranos sent her a letter threatening to sue her if she continued to make “false statements” about Ms. Holmes and disclose confidential information. Ms. Gibbons owns Theranos shares that she inherited from her husband.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/theranos-has-struggled-with-blood-tests-1444881901

    I couldn’t find anything before that WSJ article online about the poor man’s death other than a few perfunctory death websites. So that is probably not something that was all that widely known.

    It appears there was a big board shakeup a few months after the scientist killing himself.

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  86. But it’s just too tempting to judge a female CEO or a black President to their race or gender when analyzing their success or failure.

    This is a classic example of the false narrative that liberals like you keep pushing. There is ONLY ONE REAL reason this company and individual is talked about – and that is because she is a woman. She was made famous because she is a woman, if this was a white man nobody would be talking about it, the people judging her are the people that decided to make her famous because of gender, the one falling to temptation is in fact you.

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  87. Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos: Transforming Healthcare by Embracing Failure

    Yeah, baby, that’ll do it. Embrace failure.

    Even her voice and cadence of speech are (bad) copies of Steve Jobs. Another case of female projection. She must have had some crush for the man, so she has become him.

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  88. The black turtle neck sweater uniform screams “poseur”.

    “Poseuse” in the case of a fondatrice like her.

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  89. Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence, how come she wasn’t cast in the new Star Wars film?

    Since she’s from Louisville, she may be holding out for the next installment of “Mall Cop”.

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  90. From No-

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  91. From No-S### Sherlock to Full-of-S### Holmes.

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  92. Ok, who is this young wunderkind related to?

    I was thinking Rupert Holmes, who wrote paeans to piña colada and cannibalism (“Timothy, Timothy, Joe was lookin’ at you; Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?”)

    But he was born David Goldstein, so no dice. Unless he’s related through her yeasty Jewish connection.

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  93. Also, men under 6 feet tall. And I’m guessing the only reason they still accept non-whites is the shitstorm they’d get into if they didn’t.

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  94. regarding this link http://www.mondaynote.com/2015/10/18/theranos-trouble-a-first-person-account/

    the author only listed two items in the CBC. The CBC according to the theranos website has six items, so he is probably omitting stuff

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  95. Probably a combination of Disney wanting to save a few $$$ on their billions-grossing movie (TBF you don’t need big stars – it’s Star Wars!), and J-Law not wanting to torpedo her career like nearly all of the actors who’ve appeared in the series.*

    *Hayden Christiansen has been rather unconvincingly claiming his lack of post-SW prequel roles was because he lost interest in acting, in the round of interviews for his new film, some direct-to-video Bible-thumper thing.

    Carrie Fisher for her part likes to claim that she was frozen out because Hollywood loses interest in female actors after they turn 40, and not because she became an overweight cokehead.

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  96. I was joking. As you and the other commenters to your post point out, there is obviously a calculated strategy to lowering her voice. Apparently, the lower her voice goes, the higher the valuation of her company goes. Too bad it’s privately owned. Looks like it would be a good short.

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  97. “haters gotta hate”

    Yes, another in a long line of socially approved banalities. I wonder if anyone’s ever assembled an authoritative list of such things. It would have to include:

    “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”

    “Spiritual not religious.”

    “America is an immigrant nation.”

    “American is a propositional nation.”

    “It takes a village.”

    etc.

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  98. Anyone remember Canadian gold miner Bre-X who were hyped, crashed then burned in late 1990s? On their international advisory board: ex Canadian PM Brian Mulroney, former U.S. president George Bush and former Bundesbank head Karl Otto Pöhl. QED.

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  99. Well, yes, she thinks you can turn people into Germans, that’s pretty much the idea behind her refugee admissions.

    Is she right? We’ll see… I suspect they’ll get a permanent underclass, but that’s just me.

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  100. They could both be true, you know. And being a cokehead never stopped Dennis Hopper.

    Ask Roissy about sexual market value. Guys want to see young women, not so much old ones. Just because the feminists are wrong about so much doesn’t mean they’re wrong about *everything*.

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  101. It was like my right-wing friends who wanted to vote for Sarah Palin because she was cute. I finally won with, ‘Do you care about your girlfriend’s opinion on politics?’

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  102. You could argue sociopathy is a positive trait these days. At least for you.

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  103. Off topic (a little), but remember Hedy Lamarr? She actually did have a new idea for broadcast spectrum, but didn’t have the engineering chops to make it work, so she found someone who did. This being the forties, she was able to put aside her ego, and people weren’t looking for Susan Jobs, as Nick Steves says, and we were able to put her actual talents to work…

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  104. I was going to mention as an aside that Fisher wasn’t exactly wrong about Hollywood, just delusional about her own particular case. But I’d written a bit of a long run-on sentence already.

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  105. I think that Steve did an article on Richard Sherman and how he would not have been accepted at Stanford if he were not black and/or a great football player. From what I can remember, Sherman is probably well above average in intelligence but not really Stanford “material.”

    But, I think the point is not that Holmes couldn’t make it at Stanford. The point is to show that you have the ability to get a degree from an extremely prestigious university, something that most people can only dream of, and then drop out because you are just, as the saying goes, too cool for school. Didn’t Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg drop out of Harvard? It’s kind of a conspicuous consumption thing.

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  106. LOL. Seeing pictures of her with all those dessicated old alte kochers reminded me of the same type of pics one is always seeing in the tabloids except that the old farts in those pictures own sports teams and the pretty young thing has a solid reputation for giving great blow jobs. (OMG!! Did I just accidentally reveal the real secret of Ms. Holmes success?)

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  107. Interesting coincidence: Just yesterday I was describing Hedy Lamarr to a young woman at my current consulting location. I had to refresh my memory of her inventions — she actually had several significant ones — on Wikipedia. Although it was not used until long after WW II, due to technical difficulties with implementation, her idea for synchronized frequency variation is the foundation for most broadband applications today. And Ms. Lamarr was also drop-dead gorgeous. At her first US movie premierre there were audible gasps of admiration from the audience when she first appeared on screen. Judging from the photos here, Ms Holmes wouldn’t cause any necks to turn at the better watering spots I’ve had occassion to visit.

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  108. Anonymous
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    All I know is she can distort the reality of my field any time.

    Although I don’t care for blondes, she’s fairly attractive.
    What do you call a blonde who dyes her hair black? Artificial intelligence.

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  109. I heard that these guys are going to change their names to “Smith” and go into the cough drop business.

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  110. “This kind of fake-it-until-you-make-it strategy is hardly unknown” This is how I have made my way though life!

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    Right, getting blood taken from the inside of my elbow is pretty straightforward, but I’m squeamish about getting jabbed in the finger.

    A company trying to base itself on prick-less technology naturally needs to have a feminine female heading it. And if a company is based on just a little prick, under the thumb, than they need to tap Lindsay Graham as CEO.

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  112. I mean, let’s just take the Occam’s Razor approach. What is the usual connection between good looking young blondes and rich, powerful men?

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  113. That… is one of the best things ever.

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  114. They can intimidate, but they cannot inspire.

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  115. Just because the feminists are wrong about so much doesn’t mean they’re wrong about *everything*.

    Race-realist Michael Levin proposed that feminism is the first system of thought that manages to be wrong every single time. No male philosophy can claim that.

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  116. Fascinating saga. We simply won’t know the truth until Salon deconstructs it for us.

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  117. Easy to judge, in retrospect. And in retrospect, we aren’t judging by race or gender, but by results.

    In Theranos’ case, I’m sympathetic to your argument.

    In the case of, say, Obama, his observable failures are only partly due to race, and even those are incidental to his actual race, instead caused by his bad intentions amplified by how he views race relative to his ideology.

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  118. Hmmm, hot young blonde manages to get older male has-beens to do what she wants because she mysteriously manages to appeal to them? Notice her board comprises people with government contacts, but nobody who knows anything about business or science. But all guys who probably more easily fall for some hot chick whispering in their ears and stoking their egos.

    I perceive that a lot of feminism’s success is thanks to powerful but on the decline older guys who sentimentally promote females while simultaneously undercutting the up and coming younger males. Promote the cute and smart young female (who reminds you of your daughter?) and be happy while remaining in charge, or promote that fired-up young male who is seeking to supplant you.

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  119. “Well, yes, she thinks you can turn people into Germans, that’s pretty much the idea behind her refugee admissions.”

    Well, that view might be excusable if not for Germany’s experience with the Turks. As I recall, the former PM Helmut Schmidt (who died recently at 97 or 98—all that smoking finally caught up with him) concluded that admitting Turks after WWII to fill the labor gap was a big mistake, and I thought Frau Merkel herself admitted the same last year. Ironically, I think one reason that the EU countries have subscribed to this mass immigration nonsense is that they think they are emulating the U.S. after seeing how successful and powerful the U.S. became as a result of its past immigration policies. (The EU is basically an attempt to follow what they think is the U.S. form of government.) What they don’t realize is that many of those past immigrants who made America great were Germans and other Europeans until the law was changed in 1965.

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  120. Her manner is very affected. This is an actor playing a role, i.e., con job.

    Some other superficial observations. Her facial skin is loose and sagging already. I’d be stressed and prematurely aging too if I were taking other people’s money for my bullshit product. I’d be interested to see what a sophisticated interrogator thinks of her presentation. She looks defensive and unsure even though she’s getting a gentle tongue bath from the interviewer. Top executives are forceful, charismatic people but she is doing nothing to capture the room. The haphazard hairdo is really odd as well.

    I agree there has to be more to this story. Dad’s a USAID bureaucrat? If I’m George Schultz, you’ll have to do better than that. Who is propping this woman up? Who’s her puppetmaster? She doesn’t strike me as having the moxie to ringlead something like this. Why is she such a heavy hitter despite her utter lack of credentials and institutional memberships?

    If this were a public company she would or should have the SEC/DOJ buzzing around her. As it is, she’ll probably just have a few investor lawsuits.

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  121. I would have voted against John McCain regardless of whom he picked as his running mate. His selection of Palin simply confirmed that he lacked the judgment to be President. Icing on the cake, so to speak.

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  122. Anonymous
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    Do they accept donors who are gay?

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  123. “There is ONLY ONE REAL reason this company and individual is talked about – and that is because she’s a woman”

    You think a private company gets a 9 billion dollar valuation simply because it’s led by a woman? Then Steve has done a terrible job of educating his readers about how diversity boosting works.

    Yes, a top female CEO would get a lot of attention even if there are lots of companies run by male CEOs which are bigger or doing better. There’s nothing particularly surprising or nefarious about this. That’s completely different from imagining that a company would be overvalued by an order of magnitude because of people’s warm fuzzies towards the woman CEO.

    If being “realistic” about gender causes people to make such poor judgement calls, then they’re better off being PC. Frankly, Western political correctness may be annoying at times but it handily outperforms countries and states which are supposedly more realistic about race and gender.

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  124. It’s obvious why all those old men – horndogs like Henry the K – agreed to be on the board. It gives them an excuse to socialize with a young, pretty, smart girl without the pressure of having to buy her a condo and keep her away from their wives. Plus they get a few tens of thousands of dollars in compensation and a comped trip to the board-meeting. It’s like having a Geisha that pays you.

    Ms. Holmes seems smart in a generic sort of way – smart enough to be a good bullshit artist, anyway. America has always been fertile soil for bullshit artists.

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  125. Her problem is that she is waiting for Moore’s law to come to her rescue, but it’s not enough. Steve Jobs’ mobile computer visions were fairy tales until he both found the necessary pieces (especially the multi-touch idea, which is the key to the iPhone and iPad interface) AND brought the size, functionality and price within range by Moore’s law technology improvements.

    She’s following the Jobs playbook of bamboozling investors and browbeating engineers until the pieces fall into place. Which they haven’t.

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  126. I’ve read Steve Sailer’s article and dilgently read through 96 comments, but I’m still not sure whether the Theranos business is a scam.

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  127. Hey Steve, I don’t know if you use Muckety.com

    It makes constructing a chain of the powers that shouldn’t be of infinite length trivial.

    Here’s what you get with William J. Perry- similar is available for the other Theranos Directors.

    http://www.muckety.com/7F49977740A3EF35C3FD32ECEC03E512.map

    I’m sure the six degrees of separation is down to no more than 4 for these people.

    The Muckety database must unknowing hold the tale of many crimes.

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  128. Uh, you do know that Episode IV and V made Harrison Ford a superstar. So again, why not cast Lawrence, as one of the main baddies. Has the Hunger Games ruined her career?

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  129. Edit: should read ‘diligently’.

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  130. Investors and the media have fallen in love with the idea of the pretty (or at least young) female founder. Another example is Shirleen Yates, who wondered outloud if it might be possible to create a small sensor for people with gluten sensitivity to carry around.

    She happened to mention it to a guy who is a real engineer; he did all the work, along with a half-dozen other male engineers. Now they have a product, the Nima food sensor.

    But Ms. Yates is credited as a “founder”. And of course she’s the one prominently shown in their company video. Her degree? International relations. Oh, and her parents are Iranian immigrants.

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  131. A what point is a board overloaded with high profile worthies who know nothing about the specific business or industry (or finance or business management in general) and are chosen because they are people in the news?

    Also how can I get some nice board appointments, the ones where you show up once a year and vote the way management tells you?

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  132. I have to agree. If I was evil and had ADD, I would make it a point to donate to this sperm bank.

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  133. Question: If Ms. Holmes did follow through on her threat to file suit vs. Ms. Gibbons and Ms. Gibbons testified under oath as to what her late husband, Dr. Gibbons informed her re: Theranos, wouldn’t that help strengthen her claims that “nothing was working”? This might be considered deathbed testimony, which in a court of law is very, very strong testimony indeed. If the late Dr. confided to other close family members the contents of his research findings this could only serve to help strengthen his claim that the patents and therefore Theranos itself, is a complete failure. So Ms. Holmes could be bluffing, hoping to scare Ms. Gibbons into silence. After all, a lot of things could come out in a public trial, not all of them very good for Theranos’ future.

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  134. …to further throw proof that this company is doomed, it was visited by Vice President Biden in July. He effused on how great the technology would be…blah blah blah….in Silicon Valley, a visit by Biden or Obama is the closest thing to the kiss of death!!

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  135. Warning! Warning! William Daley is involved in this. Anything a Daley is involved in is a failure and usually a fraud. Expect the local airports to be torn up at midnight.

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  136. I hear John Holmes was very big in his, er, field. Back in the Hirsute Era.

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  137. No, Trelane.

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  138. There is in fact a large literature on boards of directors in management and social science journals and how it affects the behavior of firms, especially the Fortune 500. Most of this literature is on things like if firm A adopts a new business practice and it shares a board member with firm B, will firm B then adopt the business practice as well? There is also literature on whether firms that are especially core to the network give more money to PACs. And most relevant to your question, there are some articles on whether board networks among firms predict fraud and other types of white collar crime.

    Search for “interlocking boards of directors” in Google Scholar or ask a professor of organizational behavior.

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  139. Inside of forearm or higher for me every time.
    Thing is, I actually use my fingers for productive tasks, and can’t chance any of them falling out on parade. Whereas I rarely “elbow-crook” anything, ever. And any mishaps/infections there would result in more serious (and I hope picturesque) symptoms, justifying medical leave. Nearly lost the right arm due to a cannula infection once, blew up like the Elephant Man overnight, and I conked out right in the arms of the (dashed tidy, what? ding! dong!) Chinese lady doctor the minute I made it to A&E. Stupid of me driving really, irresponsible, but the official NHS method would have made me take an aspirin and wait a week. Saves “taxpayers’ ” money.

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  140. “Obviously, she’s good at impressing important men.”
    It seems Silicon Valley can’t help being duped by hot little blondies who are also a bit smarter than average. I get their charms, but it’s a shame if these darlings end up over their heads.

    Exhibit B: Marissa Mayer

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  141. Theranos bumped up against all blood tests getting less expensive. We have walk in blood test discounters in my area and you can get the tests done 100% privately without an MD’s authorization.

    Can you point me to any documentation? I’m curious about their services offered, pricing, and whether or not there really is an MD signing off on the tests. For comparison, http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/Blood-Tests/Blood-Tests offers a fairly comprehensive CBC and metabolic panel for $47 (on sale for $35 now) as well as a great variety of other tests. They have an in-house MD who signs off on the order and you just go to the local LabCorp draw site. Test results are sent via email and/or postal mail in a few days They do not offer tests in NY or MD IIRC.
    Also, how much of the decrease in lab costs has been a competitive response to Theranos and other newcomers exposing the excessive pricing of Quest and LabCorp?

    Regarding Theranos pricing, consider a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (less comprehensive than the LEF test above, CPT:80053) for $7.19 at Theranos. They quote Other labs: $17.00 – $27.40 and Consumer Reports lists a National fair price of$30 and a National range of $15 – 135.

    http://consumerhealthchoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Comprehensive-Metabolic-Panel-HCBB.pdf

    The main advantage of Theranos was a pin prick and just taking a drop or two?

    Although they touted that heavily, I always thought the big advantage was the pricing: https://www.theranos.com/test-menu

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  142. My father told me years ago, “If it seems to good to be true, it usually is.” Good advice.

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  143. Anonymous
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    SEC/Edgar only has public companies, thus not Theranos. Several of your links claim to have the boards of private companies, but it is not clear how accurate or comprehensive they are. Most are published on the companies websites, but that is difficult to scrape, because they are all different. And Theranos is typical in not updating its website on board changes.

    Your third link is doing exactly what you suggest after that: it is scraping Edgar, including boards. Again, Edgar is only public companies.

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  144. Don’t you wonder whether this company is some kind of Deep State money laundering device?

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  145. I can’t remember the exact details, but I think one or two of the articles mentioned that some of her crucial early backers or big shots on her board had been her next door neighbors or the next door neighbors of her parents. So the whole thing might just be “stupid gullibility” rather than “devious plot.”

    Also, without mentioning any names, one of her earliest VC financial backers is an individual who has always struck me as being *exceptionally* dim, perhaps even having a two-digit IQ. I think that just like in politics, there’s a huge random factor in VC success, so occasionally dim people do very well early on and get launched into orbit, a little like getting rich from winning the lottery. And once Theranos raised a big chunk of VC money, the herd mentality took over, and lots of other VCs gave her money, just like in the dotcom boom.

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  146. This “right-winger” wanted to vote for Sarah Palin because she was the only one of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who had any experience in an executive branch of government and because in both those instances — Mayor of ??? and Governor of Alsaka — her performance was better than just adequate as opposed to non=-existent.

    • Agree: TangoMan
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  147. >>It’s really hard to figure out which tech ideas are brilliant and which are stupid.

    “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

    Nigel Tufnel

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  148. The idiot liberals over at the Grauniad are up in arms about potentially screening for autism in sperm donors..

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/30/screening-sperm-donors-autism-autistic-eugenics

    I love the oh so typical self-centered specialness of the writer:

    “Screening sperm donors for autism? As an autistic person, I know that’s the road to eugenics ”

    No reply to my question in the comments
    “Why does autism give you special insight into eugenics?”

    That the sainted Margaret Sanger was all for this (with a special emphasis of removing blacks from the gene pool) seems not to be worthy of notice.

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  149. Neo-cons?

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  150. Anonymous
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    In videos, Elizabeth Holmes comes across as very unusual. It makes me wonder if she might have Asperger’s? I can understand that lowering her voice might, in some ways, be good for her professionally, but it’s like she’s gone full retard with it and lowered it too far. And her expression and body language seem contrived and stilted, but don’t those traits sometimes go along with with Asperger’s?

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  151. Anonymous
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    Or, maybe Elizabeth Holmes is really a Silicon Valley-created robot? : )

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  152. But there are some people who have an overactive vagus nerve and tend to pass out as soon as the tourniquet goes on the arm. Or who have deeply buried veins and it takes several painful minutes for a vein to plump up enough to be hit by even a really good phlebotomist. Or those like me who have both conditions. I’d love to trade the standard venipuncture for a finger stick. And you can do finger sticks on the side of the finger and they’re not bad.

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  153. I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me than a one drop phlebotomy.

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  154. Jesus cracker. Her voice in this video is terrible, like half a retard. At any moment I expected her to say, “Tell me about the rabbits, George.”

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  155. “How much is the value of having these solons on the board of directors? Is it just social proof?”

    Buying protection.

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  156. Right, but if she does that the value of the stock she owns goes into the toilet. The company is not publicly traded yet, so the smart thing for her to do is to shut up until the IPO and then bail

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  157. Haven Monahan, call your agent. There is a casting call for a blond fall guy.

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  158. Silicon Valley girl power: Put on a Steve Jobs turtleneck and investors will throw money at you | Stupid Girl
    says:
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    […] h/t: Steve Sailer […]

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  159. Or who have deeply buried veins and it takes several painful minutes for a vein to plump up enough to be hit by even a really good phlebotomist.

    Seriously, wear a warm jacket or coat until you take it off just before the “draw.” Cold extremities shrink the veins.

    If you are on a table half naked somewhere waiting for a “procedure”, tell whoever has to insert something into your veins that they need to warm your arm up. They often have camping “warm packs” and are eager to do anything not to have you as a “hard stick.”

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  160. “Not to self: when trying to make a quick buck on VC-backed, smoke and mirrors tech, stay away from a legitimate scientific and rigorously controlled field like medicine.”
    correct. Stick to Climate Science.

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  161. IIRC, Holmes said she decided t