‘The Dropout’ Part 3: Former Theranos employees claim toxic work culture

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Some employees say CEO Elizabeth Holmes didn’t want to hear criticism or too many questions. “Not a lot of camaraderie. A lot of paranoia,” said Justin Maxwell, Theranos’ former design director.

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Ex-Theranos employees describe culture of secrecy at Elizabeth Holmes’ startup: ‘The Dropout’ podcast ep. 1

Not so long ago, Elizabeth Holmes was Silicon Valley’s rising star. Like so many of the most successful entrepreneurs before her, she dropped out of college to start a company. But unlike many others, her startup would go on to be valued at almost $10 billion making her the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.

The company was called Theranos, a combination of the words “therapy” and “diagnosis.” It was praised for being revolutionary and for creating a breakthrough that would change the medical industry forever.

Her board of directors was a who’s who of government heavyweights that at a time included former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Secretaries of Defense Gen. James Mattis and William Perry and former U.S. Senators Bill Frist and Sam Nunn.

Investments came from some of the wealthiest and most connected people in the world, like media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family, the DeVos family and even the Kraft family behind the New England Patriots.

But it all came crashing down. Today, Holmes is facing up to 20 years in prison and awaiting a criminal trial for charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

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41 thoughts on “‘The Dropout’ Part 3: Former Theranos employees claim toxic work culture

  1. I had a psycho boss in my last job and it sounds a lot like this. Over confident, intense stare, lying, withholding information, refusing to be questioned. It was maddening and he loved every minute of it until he started getting found out about bad behaviour – then he was like a stroppy child.

  2. Elizabeth was very delusional but she did know what she was doing was wrong. She basically just lied, lied, lied, to get to where she got, and knew nothing worked, but was in so deep that she couldn't back out and just kept going with it because she didn't know what else to do. She never spent much time, money and resources to try to fix the technological issues either, she just spent her whole day every day trying to figure out how to keep the lie going a little longer. At one point someone told her, this is not a software app, this is a medical device, if things go wrong, you could go to jail, and her response was, I'm too pretty to go to jail.

  3. Its funny that all these "inteligent" people were tricked into a company that a biology undergrad student could tell them that it is impossible to achieve.

    200+ blood results from a drop of blood? LOL LOL LOL.

    All they had to do was walk into any hospital and ask to see how the machines that analyze blood work.

    Conclusion:: These people aren´t that smart. You could sell them snake oil.

  4. Because those stupid designers, SurekhaGangakhedkar, Justin Maxwell, Ana Arriola, Adam Vollmer, Mike Bauerly, Michael Craig, Erika Chang and Dave Plilippides didn't finish their work, and the Edison device failed. Elizabeth was terrified. She didn't know what to do. She lied. In this situation, a lie is not a crime.

    If Edison device had worked correctly Elizabeth would have been like Steve Jobs, maybe more.

  5. She ain't facing no nothin
    Investors had millions of spare money, therefore, didn't need to investigate.
    Any loss wasn't even a consideration to be missed or demanded to b paid back.
    Who had the biggest under eye bags….who was the fattest, biggest abdomen, most had shriveled popsicles viagra couldn't himalaya…but allllll had infinite Greed, saw the dollar signs before the magik box secretly harboring an explosion of maggotry…
    If u is driving with expired car registration u can be JAILED, car impounded.
    But if your a danger to people's lives….that doesn't matter much.
    Bigger your crime, the lighter the sentence!
    Connections count.
    Hiring the best, being abusive, a liar, greedy, self loving…were things that brought her delusion to an end.
    Now she b, a mommy, victim in LIGHT colored clothes.
    Law will only slap her pinky.
    But, maybe karma will have other plans?

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