Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Book Thoughts - Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

TL;DR: I adore and admire Elizabeth Holmes.

JK, LOL. You won't find a less sympathetic character in any book this year. J-Law is going to play her in a movie? Welp, I hope they fluff her up a bit or they've got a paper-flat villain.

But the book Bad Blood is a nice tick-tock, true-crime thriller. If that's your jam, get on this. Since there are a lot of great reviews already by people smarter than me, but I won't reinvent that particular wheel. But I do have some thoughts to add (in addition to endorsing the obvious* themes):
  • Unlike so many of our top-name grifters, Holmes is not lazy. Sure, she was way overconfident and lacked a compass (moral or otherwise), but she busted her ass creating Theranos (and its $900m of funding) out of an original idea, thin air, and a billion hours of midnight oil. She pulled a LOT of very talented people into her wake and demanded the same level of sweat from them. It's snake oil for sure, and criminal, but not lazy.
  • If I pray hard enough, will Ms. Holmes tell her side? I would love to understand how she saw this playing out, especially once Carryou was on her tail. It's one thing for the Theranos board to get all dreamy eyed, but I cannot understand what kind of gear-grinding was going on in her OWN head while the avalanche of devastating reporting went to print.
* Theranos was the quintessential IRL house of cards: delusions of grandeur by the kids, lack of oversight by the adults, wholesome sunk cost effect leading to criminal conspiracy... Jeezy Petes, read this book.

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