Bad Blood

A fascinating tale of corporate secrecy, lies, deception, and manipulation, all set against the backdrop of Silicon Valley. It was highly entertaining to listen to as an audiobook, and the story has already spawned TV docuseries and movie adaptations. The story of Theranos is eerily similar to Fyre music festival debacle, which has recently made its way into the zeitgeist. The seemingly delusional nature of the organizers of the music festival are strikingly parallel to the Theranos founder, with the “fake it till you make it” mantra and collective belief.

The story of Theranos takes it to the next level, however, and one can’t help but wonder about the repercussions and fallout of the scandal for all those involved, particularly beyond the immediate executive team. The star studded board of directors with their political power, prestige, and reputations, and how much of that should or will be dragged through the mud due to the seemingly widespread lack of due diligence and generally poor corporate governance.

Also, what of the lawyers that ultimately were the only financial winners of the entire debacle, and probably benefited to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, a significant fraction of the 900 million in total raised by the company? Investors and venture capitalists will be cautioned to take a close, second look the next time a too-good-to-be-true story like Theranos arises. It seems like Theranos, was a story everyone wanted to believe in, and the executives took their investors, board members, the media, and the public along for the thrilling ride up and back down.

At its core, Bad Blood is a story of ethics, and as the book progresses the narrative increasingly underlines the importance of integrity as demonstrated by the protagonistic figures in the book - the scientific ethics and duty for corporate whistle blowing demonstrated by the former insiders, and the high journalistic standards practiced by the author. In the end, the ethics of the few prevailed, for the better of the public.