Bad Blood: A Scandal in Disguise
How far can you overplay a lie with confidence? How long can you make it seem logical? How much do you have to change to belong? We often experience instances where we are intimidated by people who carry, communicate and curate themselves with confidence! For instance, MUNners, even when they have no logical argument, portray themselves with self-assurance, making the other delegates feel inferior. From a valuation of $9 billion to nothing, this is the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos.
Following the Silicon Valley trend, Holmes dropped out of Stanford to pursue her so-called exciting new venture, Theranos. Essentially, she envisioned to create equipment that would eliminate the rudimentary needles and vials required for blood tests and be replaced by a blood prick. This drop of blood would then be diluted and be prepared to pass through the invention, Edison. It was a moon shot in the biotech, and could revolutionize the way blood tests were conducted. Her wildly ambitious idea got a wind of investors. With her constant assurance and composure, she had paved her path into major markets like Walgreens and many more.
The company earned $724 million of capital from private investors and venture capitalists. Elizabeth was taking the risk of owning all factors of production which showed investors her dedication. She had to show that women don’t only excel at the soft skills but also other talents needed for business leadership. Investors were well aware that the investment involved substantial risks and they could sustain a complete loss. There was an opportunity cost for investors buying stakes in Theranos; it was a risky gamble. But well, there was a demand for such a product and she had found a way to reach the market through her entrepreneurial skills.
This might look like an upward trend but the treachery, lies and manipulation were the beginning of the end. When Elizabeth was young, her father, too, was involved in a scandal with his company, Enron. She created a competitive environment and disconnected herself from her classmates, especially girls, to conceal the turmoil at home. With her baritone voice, bad hair, messy eyeliner, and Steve Jobs' black turtlenecks, she wished to please the male-dominated Silicon Valley.
Some might call her a sociopath; others might call her unethical, but I believe she was just trying to ‘fit in’, and be taken seriously by presenting her masculine self. From brunette to blonde, this is a tempting theory which portrays the lengths she would go to be accepted in the society.
Taking the term ‘idol’ to be too literal, she carefully followed his footsteps, imagining herself as the lady Steve Jobs. This would have been possible only if she was Steve Jobs. Her persistent effort to belong was definitely outrageous. John Carreyrou revealed an extensive study of how her idea of Theranos is near to impossible. So maybe the confidence she wore is that one cloak which hid the numerous upsetting memories and the lies within the foundation of the company.
In introspect, her graph did have serious inflictions when she tried to explore ways to feel belonged. We teenagers are struggling to find our style, our passion and our spike but forcing anything will not give you your answer. You cannot expect a plant to grow in a certain way, it is given basic needs and then it is all alone in its journey to the sky.
Written by- Siya Shahra