Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Anybody read Bad Blood, the Theranos story?

It’s a great read. My favorite part so far are all the pat soiled_nappies02/08/19
Haven't read it; appreciate the reco. What do you mean ab wutwutwut02/08/19
Did read it; a great read. Seems lots of people ought to g toooldtocare02/08/19
Well, Theranos filed a number of applications and a Doctor r soiled_nappies02/08/19
"She conned sooooo many people, mostly old rich white dudes. imoothereforeim02/08/19
180. To become successful you often need to totally ignore soiled_nappies02/08/19
Uber and Airbnb are bogus comparisons, because maybe you're normshow02/08/19
I understand the difference. But they all belong to the gre imoothereforeim02/08/19
"people cooperating to bypass traditional taxis/hotels isn't onehell02/08/19
The corrupt nature of taxi medallions has been discussed for normshow02/08/19
There's also growing evidence that airbnb makes housing more whatnext02/08/19
Regarding the scam: it was absolutely pure, in that what she toooldtocare02/08/19
I’ve meant to. It is insane that one of “the adults in whatnext02/08/19
"believe her own hype and got an unshakeable god complex." imoothereforeim02/08/19
"But Chris was able to sell this terrible idea" That re wutwutwut02/08/19
We might have to do an investigation on every journalist tha normshow02/08/19
I finished it in a few days. It's a good read. isthisit02/08/19
good stuff kenco02/08/19
good stuff kenco02/08/19
there was clearly malfeasance or at least negligence going o whiteguyinchina02/08/19
I read about half of it but started questioning the veracity schopenhauerx9902/10/19



soiled_nappies (Feb 8, 2019 - 9:56 am)

It’s a great read. My favorite part so far are all the patent shenanigans, and the utter craziness of Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes.

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wutwutwut (Feb 8, 2019 - 10:33 am)

Haven't read it; appreciate the reco.

What do you mean about the patent shenanigans?

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toooldtocare (Feb 8, 2019 - 10:45 am)

Did read it; a great read. Seems lots of people ought to get indicted, but that's a side issue.
Anyway, read the book; of interest to me was involvement with US military kept the scam going(under the best of intentions) as the military was led to believe that the Theranos test would save lives on the battlefield. And Shulz's grandson battling the establishment, including is own grandfather, to act as a whistleblower, and...
It's worth reading.

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soiled_nappies (Feb 8, 2019 - 11:30 am)

Well, Theranos filed a number of applications and a Doctor read through them, realized that she hadn't thought through the entire problem, and patented an essential improvement to the blood testing device. So that forced her to either license the patent from the Doctor or sue him. She sued him. Not that there's anything wrong with it - I rather admired what the doctor did. It's also a great example of patent strategy.

But there's other stuff like the absurdity of a 19 year old college dropout getting listed as an inventor on so many patents. It's BS. I have been in the game for 23 years. In a highly technical field, inventors are typically people who have experience and know what they're doing. I have sat in on many brainstorming meetings where the person filing out the IDR just lists the meeting attendees. Which is BS, but usually does not get challenged.

Anyway, it's a great read. She conned sooooo many people, mostly old rich white dudes.

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imoothereforeim (Feb 8, 2019 - 11:46 am)

"She conned sooooo many people, mostly old rich white dudes."


Most (but not all) of the new tech giants are started by selling terrible business ideas (spells L-I-E-S) to the public. Uber's is to subsidize taxi rides with investor money (dude, how is that even a business idea?).
Airbnb's is to bypass local hotel laws and taxes.
Amazon's is to subsidize sales with investor money and to put legit companies out of business (also bypassing state/local sales taxes).
Theranos's is to sell this magical medical tech.

The important part is ACT 2. Amazon got it. Most of these would not.

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soiled_nappies (Feb 8, 2019 - 12:11 pm)

180.
To become successful you often need to totally ignore the rules.

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normshow (Feb 8, 2019 - 12:38 pm)

Uber and Airbnb are bogus comparisons, because maybe you're right that those companies have issues with their business models, but the idea behind them is to provide real services that should be legal. Theranos was a pure lie that had no chance of ever working, but people cooperating to bypass traditional taxis/hotels isn't unethical.

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imoothereforeim (Feb 8, 2019 - 12:46 pm)

I understand the difference. But they all belong to the greater bucket of selling terrible business ideas. Theranos is fraud, but that makes it a terrible business idea in my book.,

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onehell (Feb 8, 2019 - 4:20 pm)

"people cooperating to bypass traditional taxis/hotels isn't unethical."

Actually, it kinda is. Uber is just a payment processor and dispatcher for gypsy cab operators. The difference is that they had a plan to take something currently illegal and make it legal, essentially by popular demand. That plan was to grow really big really fast. By the time slow-moving government regulators finally start to pay attention, it's too late and shutting them down would be politically unpopular. So they have no choice but to come to the table and negotiate for special new rules to legitimize your racket.

Airbnb, meanwhile, is a similar middleman for people running illegal hotels. There's a reason those rules for hotels were adopted. It protects people's safety. It protects them from racial discrimination. And it prevents landlords from just converting apartment buildings into hotels that are much more lucrative per-night, thus putting housing even further out of reach for average people in expensive areas. Now, you see plenty of people buying entire properties and even multi-unit buildings that could have been housing for working families, for the sole purpose of doing VRBO, which is exactly the kind of thing hotel regulation was meant to prevent.

But once again, the model is to get big enough and popular enough that shutting you down would be political suicide. So once again as long as you can grow big enough fast enough you can bank on future changes to the law regardless of how illegal your current model may be as of the time it was created.

It's a very different scam then the one perpetuated by Theranos, which fundamentally just fraud based on robbing peter (investor) to pay paul (patients getting traditional tests sold below cost). But it's still a fundamentally unethical business model to knowingly do something illegal in hopes that it will become so popular that the laws will change just for you. You're supposed to pressure for the legal changes first, not just ignore the law assuming that you will soon garner enough clout to change it.

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normshow (Feb 8, 2019 - 8:43 pm)

The corrupt nature of taxi medallions has been discussed for decades. Someone is offering a solution. Uber drivers are working class people. I never thought I'd see someone defending the taxi monopolies as some sort of champion of the working family. Pressuring for legal changes obviously wasn't working and was never going to happen.

Airbnb allows a lot of working class people to make money on the side. Airbnb allows working class people to rent rooms to other working class people, like during football weekends. Plenty of people are using it without incident every day. If you're concerned about working families, those services are doing far more good than bad.

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whatnext (Feb 8, 2019 - 8:49 pm)

There's also growing evidence that airbnb makes housing more expensive and drives up rent. If you're concerned about working families, you probably don't care too much that Joe Schmo can get wasted at homecoming weekend and saves a few bucks from airbnb instead of booking the Days Inn.

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toooldtocare (Feb 8, 2019 - 12:59 pm)

Regarding the scam: it was absolutely pure, in that what she claimed didn't work, period. In fact, in order to produce acceptable results, Theranos routinely purchased machines from other companies in order to perform the necessary tests. That's a level of gall that is genuinely noteworthy.
And don't remember the numbers-but when the whole mess collapsed, didn't that represent the loss of billions of dollars of (fake) market value?

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whatnext (Feb 8, 2019 - 11:42 am)

I’ve meant to. It is insane that one of “the adults in the room”, Mad Dog Mattis, was pushing for the military to adopt this tech that clearly did not work.

Holmes seems like the consummate grifter who started to believe her own hype and got an unshakeable god complex.

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imoothereforeim (Feb 8, 2019 - 11:56 am)

"believe her own hype and got an unshakeable god complex."

These are actually the critical traits in selling terrible business ideas. I compare these people to Chris Columbus. At Chris's time, the learned people knew the Earth was round and the size of it. They knew Chris got it wrong and his fleet would never make it to the other side. But Chris was able to sell this terrible idea to Hernando and Lisa.

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wutwutwut (Feb 8, 2019 - 1:14 pm)

"But Chris was able to sell this terrible idea"


That reminds me of a historical sci-fi book I read called Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus.

Good novel. The author paints Columbus as almost hypnotic in his ability to sell people based on his unshakeable confidence in his rightness and righteousness.

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normshow (Feb 8, 2019 - 12:30 pm)

We might have to do an investigation on every journalist that did a puff piece on Holmes and unquestionably repeated her slogan, "the world's youngest self-made female billionaire." There was so much sloppiness in how it was being reported/hyped at the time, when any reporter could have asked for a statement from the apparently large amounts of doctors who immediately knew within 0.05 seconds that the technological claims were impossible.

I await the verdict on 9 counts of wire fraud with excitement.

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isthisit (Feb 8, 2019 - 2:32 pm)

I finished it in a few days. It's a good read.

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kenco (Feb 8, 2019 - 9:09 pm)

good stuff



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kenco (Feb 8, 2019 - 9:09 pm)

good stuff



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whiteguyinchina (Feb 8, 2019 - 9:44 pm)

there was clearly malfeasance or at least negligence going on at many levels besides Holmes and her Indian lover.

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schopenhauerx99 (Feb 10, 2019 - 12:52 pm)

I read about half of it but started questioning the veracity of some of the story telling.

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