U.S. v. Elizabeth Holmes, et al. – As the Trial Begins, Two Podcasts to Follow

“I came away thinking she really believed what she was doing was a public good. And if it had worked, it would have been a public good.”

Ken Auletta, Author
Image Credit: The Washington Time.com

Starting tomorrow, Tech journalists across the country will be focused on the fact that Holmes is about to head into a San Jose, California, courtroom to defend herself against criminal allegations depicting her as the devious mastermind of a fraud that duped wealthy investors, former U.S. government officials and patients whose lives were endangered by a blood-testing technology that never came close to fulfilling her bold promises.

If convicted by a jury in the trial that begins Wednesday, Holmes could be sentenced to 20 years in prison — a stunning reversal of fortune for an entrepreneur whose wealth once was pegged at $4.5 billion. As I outlined in an earlier post, Holmes’ saga has peeled back the curtain on a “fake it until you make it” strategy that’s been adopted by other ambitious startups who believe that with just a bit more time to perfect their promised breakthroughs, they can join the hallowed ranks of Apple, Google, Facebook and other tech pioneers that sprang up in the 50-mile corridor from San Francisco to San Jose.

If you are interested in following the trial and want to get a couple of different perspectives on the strategies from both the prosecution and defense teams, here are two podcast recommendations to consider:

The first is The Drop Out: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial from ABC audio. ABC News chief business, technology, and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, along with producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson, take listeners inside the courtroom, breaking down the evidence and keeping score for both sides until 12 jurors decide the fate of the Theranos founder and new mother.

“There wouldn’t be an Elizabeth Holmes without the entire ecosystem around her. It all fed into that same machine and it allowed it to grow so much bigger than it might have if there hadn’t been attention.”

Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent

The second is Bad Blood: The Final Chapter hosted by John Carreyrou, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. He first exposed Holmes in 2015 and is the best-selling author of “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”. Carreyrou will provide insight into Holmes’ breathtaking story, her criminal defense, and the prosecution’s case. “Bad Blood: The Final Chapter” begins with an in-depth look at three of the trial’s biggest plot twists: Holmes’s pregnancy, her unusual and risky defense strategy, and the destruction of Theranos’s laboratory database.

Now with this podcast, I’m thrilled to put the entire story into context as Holmes finally faces justice for the fraud she allegedly perpetrated.”

John Carreyrou

So, two different podcasts – with two different views on the run-up to the trial and the twists and turns that will develop as the trial progresses. Both are excellent. And both are worth a listen.

2 thoughts on “U.S. v. Elizabeth Holmes, et al. – As the Trial Begins, Two Podcasts to Follow

  1. This was perfect timing. I am planning on having a Theranos business case discussion in my University “Strategy and Innovation” class this coming Thursday evening. For me, it highlights the dark side of “Innovation” … the temptation to stretch the truth for personal gain of some sort. A similar situation occured with the Thomas Edison / Nikola Tesla battle in the early days of electricity (AC vs DC). Edison went to the “dark side” and invented the electric chair to show that dangers of AC for his primary financer, JP Morgan. History tends to repeat itself.

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    • Couldn’t agree more Tom. The verdict from this trial will either send a message to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that their “fake it until you make it” approach to technology development has no place in health care (should Holmes and/or Balwani be found guilty), or it will open up a Pandora’s Box of issues (should they be acquitted). One thing for sure, it will be interesting to watch.

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