Nightline has a new two-part post-mortem of the Theranos scandal that’s worth watching. Of note: they were able to obtain deposition footage of disgraced CEO Elizabeth Holmes acknowledging some of her deceptions, plus an interview with the COO’s defense lawyer. I also appreciated that they got in touch with a Theranos customer to allow people to understand the human misery and wasted resources that this company was capable of causing.
I read reporter John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood last year and found it to be thoroughly engrossing, but almost a year later I’m still really shaken by what the Theranos case says about our culture. Here was a CEO that was making claims about her product that were, on their face, medically impossible. Through some really skillful self-hype and through a corporate culture that prized silence and complicity (and punished anyone who stepped out of line), she was able to convince the world she was right to the tune of a $4 billion valuation.
It says a lot about a culture that we allowed this to happen, and that our only bulwark against it was a lone journalist willing to risk his own livelihood to find the truth.