Theranos: "vision" vs. data

Has anyone else here been following the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos saga? Elizabeth Holmes was just found guilty on a few of the fraud counts she was charged with, and her partner’s trial is happening now. I know there is a TV show on Hulu now about it (“The Dropout”), which I haven’t seen, but I just finished the book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou, and found it disturbing just how far this fraud got before it was finally stopped, and how desperately the company fought to cover up the truth.

But it was also inspiring to read about a few former employees who had the courage to speak up when they saw how unethical some of the practices were, despite being surveilled and intimidated by the company. I saw it as an example of how even the best “vision casting,” charisma, and connections cannot overcome faulty data – if a machine doesn’t provide accurate results, the truth has to eventually come out.

I can’t help but see some parallels in the ways that many churches and church groups in America are having a similar reckoning, finding that putting on a show will only get you so far if you give too much power to charismatic leaders and do not provide enough accountability.


It’s frightening how much you can achieve by being charismatic and good at deceiving while providing no value whatsoever.


Yes, I’ve read about it. She’s like Ken Ham.

Yeah, I couldn’t help but see the comparison to hardline YECism in the sense of making “loyalty” the defining factor rather than anything factual. Anyone who did not put the company first was treated like an enemy, much like how “secularists” are portrayed by AIG. It’s the kind of thing that would only make sense to those on the inside or who stood to benefit financially – most people on the outside could/can easily see how wrong-headed and cult-like it was once they looked beyond the marketing.


Much like the Ravi Z fiasco once it came out. The priority to protect the organization is high above protecting the victims, and requires intentional action to avoid. Perhaps it links into our desire for tribalism and is one of those things we have to work to overcome.


Ham’s deluded. She’s just evil.

You can be both deluded and evil.

With all manner of nuance. She’s just a parasite.

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