Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty of numerous federal charges. The sweetheart of Silicone Valley convinced investors that her company, Theranos, had developed a revolutionary machine that could detect and identify diseases, conditions, and ailments in people from only a few drops of their blood. The money came pouring in for something that didn’t exist.
You could say Holmes has been made an example of, but to who? It’s doubtful that any of her over-zealous ‘hook or by crook’ constituents are paying the least bit of attention to her downfall. Who has time when there are still investors to dupe? And so goes just another day in the Valley.
Holmes presented herself to the court, not as a high-tech thief, but rather as a visionary trailblazer. Federal prosecutors disagreed. They said she’s nothing more than a charlatan with an unhealthy obsession for fame and fortune.
Holmes pulled out all of the stops by saying she was just a female trying to survive in a male-dominated industry as though this would be enough to clear her good name. When it wasn’t, she launched into an irrelevant tale about her ex-lover and business partner, Sunny Balwani, emotionally and sexually abusing her. Sure, if that actually transpired there’s reason to feel bad for the lady, but how would this justify her crime? Well, it didn’t.
The trial may have served as a well-warranted conviction, but it also pried open the top for a closer look at what’s going on in Silicone Valley where the motto is “fake it ‘til you make it.” Like Holmes did. Ya gotta act like you’re bigger than ya are.
Once Silicone Valley gave birth to giants like Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Apple, every buckeroo who thought they could earn a buck or two doing the same thing wanted to hop on the gravy train. Holmes is a self-admitted devotee of Steve Jobs who didn’t dupe anyone, but you know, times were different back then.
Santa Clara University law professor Ellen Kreitzberg attended the trial. She suggested that perhaps Home’s conviction “will send a message to CEOs that there are consequences in overstepping the bounds.” Note the word, perhaps.
Looking at the other side of the coin, Kreitzberg said, “investors are still going to want to make more money on a promising idea. They will always go in for the golden ring.” Roughly translated, this means they’ll always be those who are easy to pull one over on, and it also means the kids from the Valley will continue to do so at every given opportunity. There is no moral compass.
Holmes was only 19 when she founded Theranos. She had no money and a dream of having lots of it. She went from being a no-name new kid in town to becoming worth $4.5 billion. That’s a lot of cash for having nothing more than empty promises that she knew would never see their way to fruition.
Holmes’s conviction isn’t even a bump in the road for the CEOs in Silicone Valley who are fine with ‘crooking’ their ways to the top. They’re smarter than her. What could a woman in a man’s world know, anyway? High-tech crime is a guy thing.
Keep thinking this way, fellas. The can of worms just had its lid blown off and the Feds are baiting their hooks. They’ll be wiggling them in your faces here directly. Right now they’re still ‘chumming’ to see who’s gonna take the bait.