- Weight: 4oz
- Size: W2xD3.5xH2.8in
- Material: PVC
- Lifespan: 2 years
- Funding: $724M
- Units shipped: 0
- Retail Price: N/A
Theranos, one-time multi-billion-dollar medtech startup, created by deep-voiced Jobsian cult leader Elizabeth Holmes, managed to get as far as national rollout with a miracle device that literally did not exist. Theranos is the pinnacle of modern innovation grift and, along with WeWork, the modern Icarus, borne aloft on wings of pure VC funding.
Theranos is proof that a good idea conquers all things, including common sense and due diligence. The company sucked in money and talent while creating an oppressive, siloed atmosphere in order to perpetuate the charade of a working product for years, even among its own staff. Theranos represents the ultimate in disruptive fraud. The company falsified reports and feverishly cobbled together minimum viable results behind the facade of an utterly nonfunctional medical device in the form of a literal black box.
The specifics of Theranos defy belief. Holmes allegedly acquired a non-housebroken Husky puppy, and insisted to all comers that it was a wolf. She and company president Ramesh Balwani maintained a semi-secret relationship. And yet, investors’ blind confidence in Theranos reached extreme degrees, with some professing publicly that they would invest in another Holmes business in a heartbeat, even after Theranos was unmasked.
Theranos belongs alongside such storied historical grifts as the Mechanical Turk, a debacle so ludicrous it seems it ought only belong in stories. Theranos stands unrivaled in both grift and perplexity: utterly abusive towards its employees, blatantly negligent in its attitudes towards customer health, and built upon a foundation of deliberate deception.