Chapitres bientôt disponibles

Chargement de l'audio en cours
Cacher

Cacher la barre d'outils

Plus

Plus


Reading corner



Secrets and lies in Silicon Valley





Elizabeth Holmes, 2014

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of now- defunct company Theranos, 2014.


November 17, 2006

Tim Kemp had good news for his team.

The former IBM executive was in charge of bioinformatics at Theranos, a startup with a cutting-edge blood-testing system. The company had just completed its first big live demonstration for a pharmaceutical company. Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos’s twenty-two-year-old founder, had flown to Switzerland and shown off the system’s capabilities to executives at Novartis, the European drug giant.

“Elizabeth called me this morning,” Kemp wrote in an email to his fifteen-person team. “She expressed her thanks and said that, ‘it was perfect!’ She specifically asked me to thank you and let you all know her appreciation. She additionally mentioned that Novartis was so impressed that they have asked for a proposal and have expressed interest in a financial arrangement for a project. We did what we came to do!”

This was a pivotal moment for Theranos. The three-year-old startup had progressed from an ambitious idea Holmes had dreamed up in her Stanford dorm room to an actual product a huge multinational corporation was interested in using.

Word of the demo’s success made its way upstairs to the second floor, where senior executives’ offices were located.

One of those executives was Henry Mosley, Theranos’s chief financial officer. Mosley had joined Theranos eight months earlier, in March 2006. A rumpled dresser with piercing green eyes and a laid-back personality, he was a veteran of Silicon Valley’s technology scene. After growing up in the Washington, D.C. area and getting his MBA at the University of Utah, he’d come out to California in the late 1970s and never left. His first job was at chipmaker Intel, one of the Valley’s pioneers. He’d later gone on to run the finance departments of four different tech companies, taking two of them public. Theranos was far from his first rodeo.

What had drawn Mosley to Theranos was the talent and experience gathered around Elizabeth. She might be young, but she was surrounded by an all-star cast. The chairman of her board was Donald L. Lucas, the venture capitalist who had groomed billionaire software entrepreneur Larry Ellison and helped him take Oracle Corporation public in the mid-1980s. Lucas and Ellison had both put some of their own money into Theranos.

Another board member with a sterling reputation was Channing Robertson, the associate dean of Stanford’s School of Engineering. Robertson was one of the stars of the Stanford faculty. His expert testimony about the addictive properties of cigarettes had forced the tobacco industry to enter into a landmark $6.5 billion settlement with the state of Minnesota in the late 1990s. Based on the few interactions Mosley had had with him, it was clear Robertson thought the world of Elizabeth.

Theranos also had a strong management team. Kemp had spent thirty years at IBM. Diane Parks, Theranos’s chief commercial officer, had twenty-five years of experience at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. John Howard, the senior vice president for products, had overseen Panasonic’s chip-making subsidiary. It wasn’t often that you found executives of that caliber at a small startup.

It wasn’t just the board and the executive team that had sold Mosley on Theranos, though. The market it was going after was huge. Pharmaceutical companies spent tens of billions of dollars on clinical trials to test new drugs each year. If Theranos could make itself indispensable to them and capture a fraction of that spending, it could make a killing.


John Carreyrou, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, 2018.

Questions

Voir les réponses

a) Find two reasons that make Theranos’s founder different from the other CEOs in Silicon Valley.


b) Is Theranos considered a big company? Explain.


c) Explain in your own words where the idea of Theranos came from.


d) What do you learn about Silicon Valley's past?


e) What is meant by “she was surrounded by an all-star cast”?


f) Explain in your own words: “it was clear Robertson thought the world of Elizabeth”.


g) What makes Theranos look reliable?


h) Why were the pharmaceutical companies Theranos’s target?

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - John Carreyrou

Biography

John Carreyrou is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal.

For his extensive coverage of Theranos, Inc., Carreyrou was awarded the George Polk Award for Financial Reporting, the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism and the Barlett & Steele Award for Investigative Journalism in 2016.

Your time to shine!


You are a junior editor at the teen magazine Growing up in Silicon Valley and you've been asked to write an editorial (opinion piece) on the Theranos Scandal (150 - 180 words).

  • Read the prologue of Bad Blood and watch the video telling her story.
  • List the reasons why you would have trusted Elizabeth Holmes for her Theranos project. Give an explanation for each reason you have found.
  • Give your opinion and justify.

Tips





Connectez-vous pour ajouter des favoris

Pour pouvoir ajouter ou retrouver des favoris, nous devons les lier à votre compte.Et c’est gratuit !

Livre du professeur

Pour pouvoir consulter le livre du professeur, vous devez être connecté avec un compte professeur et avoir validé votre adresse email académique.

Votre avis nous intéresse !
Recommanderiez-vous notre site web à un(e) collègue ?

Peu probable
Très probable

Cliquez sur le score que vous voulez donner.

Dites-nous qui vous êtes !

Pour assurer la meilleure qualité de service, nous avons besoin de vous connaître !
Cliquez sur l'un des choix ci-dessus qui vous correspond le mieux.

Nous envoyer un message




Nous contacter?