Tweetstorm related: https://twitter.com/bioxcession/status/1028322450910732289
Upfront: the basic premise of the book is that Theranos was an exploitative, evil company headed by two exploitative, evil people. It makes an effort to not apologize for Elizabeth, or blame her actions on anyone else. She was sucked into the vortex of literally being a bloodsucker. In fact, the book - at one point - goes so far as to suggest she may be a sociopath.
Now, the book was a good read, and I think the point makes sense - bad company is bad. But it's stirring up a ton of music in my head - especially since it compared Theranos to "vaporware companies" - practices that the Valley has engaged in since forever (promising endlessly and not delivering).
Vaporware: software or hardware that has been advertised but is not yet available to buy, either because it is only a concept or because it is still being written or designed.
Theranos was no different, except it tried selling vaporware in the form of a healthcare device. Insisting that this device worked (it didn't), and insisting that most of their received blood tests were running on it (they weren't).
It's my opinion that Theranos would have been hailed as an enormous success if they had delayed for long enough to make this technology work. I believe that my point is furthered by the fact that Walgreens waited through two years of delays, of and tolerated outright lies. If the tech ever came out, all would have been forgiven.
My argument boils down to this: Elizabeth wasn't a shitty person, she operated correctly in a shitty system.
She took risks, yes - but they were necessary to maintain the illusion that she had a product that amounted to anything. Eventually, she hoped, her team would crack the nut and she'd come out unscathed.
The problem amounts to our system encouraging this type of behavior - she was visited by the vice president, Kissinger, Mattis, had dinners with the Clintons, and was a fellow at Harvard medical school. Nobody thought twice because the tech was so exciting.
Tildes, what can we do to prevent this type of behavior, and am I overlooking something?