It’s Turtles All the Way Down

I read a very interesting review of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.

It’s about the Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, and the culture of what can only be called charismatic fraud at the now shuttered blood test firm.

It provides a lot of insight into what went wrong, and the review very ably provides a summary of what happened and why.

On the other hand, when one looks at a history of Silicon Valley startups, the only difference between them and Theranos is that Theranos was operating in the real world with a real product that depended on real chemistry and real physics.

I’m wondering if the real issue with the entire Theranos affair might not be how a blond in a black turtleneck managed to defraud a very large number of investors, but instead that this is simply business as usual.

When one looks at Silicon Valley Firms, with very few exceptions, the business models frequently seem to be predicated on regulatory arbitrage (cheating, see Uber, AirBnB, etc), or having no viable business plan (Uber again, and various startups whose founders made their money from being bought out), etc.

I refer to the above as, “Turtles all the way down“.

I’d really like to see a US Attorney go zero tolerance on this sort of crap.

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