Three Cheers!

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Yay!  We made history by electing a woman as thee presidential candidate in a premier political party.
 
Theranos.  Are you familiar with this company?  The founder of that company (Elizabeth Holmes), a female, also made American history.  She, the company's brainchild, was propelled by political and media fawning, sending her headlong into fame & fortune . . .  because everyone wanted a woman to succeed in tech as the CEO of a major tech company.
Theranos broke all the growth records for a startup.  Growing a billion-dollar company in four years.  Amazing!  And a woman did it!  A college drop-out no less.
 
Well, that didn't turn out quite as expected . . . in spite of everyone wanting a woman to lead the way in revolutionizing medical tech and blood testing.  The company is now worth zero.  Also setting a new record for the shortest time a company has gone from a net worth of 14 billion back to nothing.  The company has been effectively shut down and is being investigated for fraud.
 
Elizabeth Holmes is a great sales person who knows little about tech and thought she could (or forced by her investors) to buy miracles.  This happens in so many companies too often.
As a product developer, I see this and the results of management-mismanagement every day.  But nothing so stark as investors, with evidently too much money to burn, would risk billions just to make a political point.  Insanity.
 
Three cheers for good intentions and wanting an underdog to win.  A fourth cheer, now after the fact, for relearning an old lesson:
 
Sexism & racism is never good politics nor good business.
 
 
 
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I probably should mention the degree to which these investors overlooked obvious technical problems with Theranos.
 
Basically, new physics was required to make their tech work.  I can't say it any more succinctly.  A roomful of equipment today is required to do what Theranos claimed was possible.  However, she wanted to shrink that room down to the size of an aspirin.

Yes, computers have shrunk in this way.  However, it wasn't just shrinking tech on silicon that was needed.  New technology, not discovered yet, would have been required.  Perhaps in 100 years . . . but not now.  If the investors had themselves invested $100k of their own dollars in a feasibility study, they would have uncovered these no-go issues.  A huge miss.  The fraud case(s) will focus on whether Theranos' own studies and results were misreported.
 
 
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Comments

Joanna Nutile Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:05pm
I think it’s something to be proud of for a major political party in this country to nominate a woman. That doesn’t mean I think she should win, but it is something for women and men of both parties to be happy about.
 
Sexism is claiming Theranos failed because they hired a woman CEO, which is what I read from your post. I can tell you one thing, during its heyday no investor at Theranos was upset over the decision, which is another way of saying the company’s failure is nothing more than 20/20 hindsight.
William Stockton Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:06pm
Joanne, "Sexism is claiming Theranos failed because they hired a woman CEO, which is what I read from your post."
 
Which sentence was that?  Kindly repost . . . or re-read (my recommendation)
Joanna Nutile Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:11pm
She, the tech company's brain-child was propelled (because everyone wanted a woman to succeed in tech so badly) by politically driven causes,  into fame & fortune.
 
A non-sexist would have said the reason she was propelled was because of her talent and not because she was a woman. 
 
Sexism & racism is never good politics nor good business.
 
A non-sexist would not have insinuated the reason she failed was because of favorable treatment due to her sex. 
William Stockton Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:31pm
Joanne,  I cant help you if you are reading something into what I didnt say.
I did say she had talent, "Elizabeth Holmes is a great sales person . . ."   
There is a host of reasons for the failure.  But the point is, Theranos should never have made it past home plate.  Politics created this fiasco . . . not a woman.  Get it now?
 
Perhaps you skimmed too quickly over what I did say the cause,
"Sexism & racism is never good politics nor good business."
William Stockton Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:42pm
Hi Michael.  Thanks for commenting.  
I too have seen good female engineers.  But I have seen exceptional female sales people.  The best.  Elizabeth is probably the latter.  Although I have seen her interviews . . . not entirely convinced.
 
There were feasibility studies done prior to major investing.  The fraud cases are centered around their legitimacy.   However, no serious investor, investing over 100 million dollars, would take a Theranos study blindly.  
Something is very odd about this situation.  And I claim it was politics.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:46pm
I deleted my comment. If not I would ruin your article, I guess. But I do think that the time now has turned against us men in general. We suppressed women for hundreds of years and now the revenge has come.
 
And we forget that our way of life is not the ONLY one that exists. When some of these feminists would study societies in Africa or Asia they would find out there is a natural equality.
 
But women forget that business is not gender. It's a way of life independent from it. No man or woman is more qualified because of gender but success is a result of clever/smartness. That's all.

 
William Stockton Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:50pm
Great points Stone.  I agree.  Don't let political bias distort truths.  People will get burned.
William Stockton Added Jul 29, 2016 - 6:00pm
Thanks Michael.  
"It is nothing wrong to choose a woman as a candidate for President."
 
I completely agree.  I would vote for a woman who is saying what Trump is saying.  100% back her.  Hands down she would win my vote.
My problem is the sexists who come here on WB and say . . . "Hillary is a woman so she is a legitimate POTUS candidate."
Well, give me another reason to vote Hillary other than she's a female.
 
The other point, not that I needed to make it, is that there are so many successful female business owners who are succeeding.
Bill H. Added Jul 29, 2016 - 6:04pm
Women in most cases have more patience to bring to the job. Also as they have been suppressed in both equal wages and ability to climb the corporate ladder for so long, they in many cases will outperform their male counterparts. Another positive trait is that they are usually safer workers and lack the "machismo" factor that contributes to many male's demise in a teamwork-structured environment.
I say let them run the show for a while.
William Stockton Added Jul 29, 2016 - 6:10pm
@Bill H,  "I say let them run the show for a while."
 
How about we give credit where credit is due.  A cuckold statement like that will doom any company or nation to its end.  We have become, as a society so racist and sexist it has become hysterical madness.
Bill H. Added Jul 29, 2016 - 8:08pm
 
It depends a lot of course on the type of job. Also, if they are in a company that has created a competitive rather than a teamwork environment, it will cause issues for sure. I witnessed a group of female cable television installers that constantly outperformed their male counterparts in both production and work quality, not to mention superior PR with the customers. And to boot, they could both gaff telephone poles and carry 28' ladders with no issue.
And before you stereotype, none of them were Lesbians.
EXPAT Added Jul 29, 2016 - 9:20pm
Michael B Added Jul 29, 2016 - 5:52pm

Follow Me

Hey EXLAX, you went berserk for several days and launched a lame smear campaign against me my first week here because I deleted one of your stupid prick comments, on what was intended to be a humorous look at dive bars - as if that wasn't sissy enough, you followed up with several of your own. That seems like very hateful behavior to me. I hope someone buys you a nice dress and a huge bottle of Pamprin or Midol. You are a supreme hypocrite. I would hope fucking 12-year old prostitutes would leave you with a sunnier disposition.

Just take your medication, and do what the Doctor says Mickey!
Jeffry Gilbert Added Jul 29, 2016 - 11:03pm
It's interesting to read all these shore side employment problems. At sea we didn't have such problems. 
 
I sailed with two outstanding female officers and recommended advancement for one of them because she was too damn good not to.  The other was too junior but got a glowing letter in her file. No politics or bullshit involved. They were well trained no nonsense officers respected by subordinates and superiors alike who like all good shipmates left their bullshit at the bottom of the gangway. 
 
They were good officers because they worked hard and EARNED their place unlike what apparently happens ashore. 
 
 
William Stockton Added Jul 30, 2016 - 12:22am
Joanna,  Perhaps let me explain differently.
 
Elizabeth was nay 20 years old when she started on her quest for Theranos.  Young and a bit naive, she quickly drew interest based on her enthusiasm and the concept was pretty cool.
Before she knew it, the press took a keen interest in this anomaly.  A young female promising to show a male dominated industry how it really was.
Not before long, the pressure of all the publicity and fame quickly forced her and her company to be something that it wasn't.  Or at least not prepared to be in that small time.  It was a perfect storm of girl wanting affirmation that her idea was golden and a society drooling to make a political point and raise her up.  Terrible combination.  Terrible because the only person looking bad in this situation is Elizabeth.  She could be the biggest victim along with her investors.  Many lose money, but she could lose her freedom.
 
Now, this all could be fictitious.  But as I have read the situation, I think I'm pretty close.   It is like sexism blowback and a terrible thing to happen to a bright young lady who had her one big idea and a great future.
William Stockton Added Jul 30, 2016 - 12:24am
Jeffry,  Great story about how it should be working.  Awesome.
Billy Roper Added Jul 30, 2016 - 9:10am
I still believe in opening doors and saying "Ma'am". If anything, I put women on a pedestal. However, I don't believe in affirmative action hiring or advancement programs in any field, and I don't believe that denying the natural differences we were given by the Creator is beneficial. I oppose women being in the armed forces, especially in combat roles, and being subject to the draft.
Barry aka. Hyperminde Added Jul 30, 2016 - 12:52pm
RE (article): results of management mismanagement every day ... nothing so stark as investors, with too much money to burn, would risk billions just to make a political point.  Insanity.
 
I think what you're looking at is one instance of "False-Choice-Thinking."
 
In current politics, Nancy Pelosi gave a "great" example ... Some people will Not Vote for Hillary - her "Perfect Explanation": THEY-HATE-WOMEN-THEREFORE-THEY-VOTE-AGAINST-HILLARY.
 
The only "choices" in many people's PERCEPTION ... are two "polar" extremes.
 
RE (article): A roomful of equipment today is required to do what Theranos claimed was possible.  However, she wanted to shrink that room down to the size of an aspirin.
 
I suppose some could say "You only used ONE FACTOR to say it couldn't be done."
 
However, it could probably be restated as multiple problems where the "Claimed Solution" simply Does-Not-Exist.
 
If a man ran Theranos, Gender would still be IRRELEVANT to the Feasibility of its stated business model and goals.
 
People probably let themselves get sucked-into "False Choice" situations by ACCEPTING a Premise about Gender (or race, or blah blah blah). The "physics" should have been the criteria for determining the value of Theranos.
William Stockton Added Jul 30, 2016 - 2:53pm
Well said Barry.
"If a man ran Theranos, Gender would still be IRRELEVANT to the Feasibility of its stated business model and goals."
William Stockton Added Jul 30, 2016 - 3:38pm
Barry, another catch-phrase:  "Don't set people up to fail for ulterior motives."
Our society needs to be smarter and more responsible.   Reaction politics is foolish.
 
William Stockton Added Jul 30, 2016 - 3:52pm
Yes Michael.  Everyone is so polarized and seperate we can't see each other's shores.  Great point.
Utpal Patel Added Jul 31, 2016 - 12:38am
There are plenty of examples of male led companies that experience dramatic crashes as well. How can you be so sure that Theranos rise was because people wanted it to succeed for political reasons, and, by way of example, Enron’s and happened for other reasons.  The common factor in both companies was greed by both the leaders of those companies and its investors.  Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with greed, I just don't think the story has anything to do with genitalia.   
William Stockton Added Jul 31, 2016 - 8:55am
Mehernosh Shroff.  Thanks for reading.
In Silicon Valley, a progressive ideology is pervasive.  With financial power comes arrogance and, for some reason, a belief that social engineering is a complimentary skill to electrical engineering.  Last I knew, nerds should be the last people who would understand anything about social trends.
 
Personally, I think Silicon Valley is becoming more like Death Valley . . . a barren wasteland of ideas and heavy-handed political structures.
William Stockton Added Jul 31, 2016 - 9:11am
Utpal, Thanks for reading.
"There are plenty of examples of male-led companies that experience dramatic crashes as well."
Really?  Do you have references?  This just can't be possible. /s
 
"The common factor in both companies was greed by both the leaders of those companies and its investors."
Greed runs the world.  It sets the price of the electricity which runs your computer.  You are greedy by taking money for doing your job.  Shame on you.  Give that money back asshole.
 
"How can you be so sure that Theranos rise was because people wanted it to succeed for political reasons,"
1) because our culture now leaning toward and favoring feminism
2) the tech industry is starving for female success stories.  As well as female workers.  If you are a female tech person . . . you will never be without work.
3) How investors overlooked such a massive gap in capability is truly astounding.  This was like a mini housing bubble where everyone was betting on another person's bet.  Everyone knew it was a ludicrous gamble, did nothing, and still threw money on the table.  But I charge that it wasn't just frivolous gaming.  A press, a sexist political society, and a beautiful young intelligent lady collided creating a huge money splash.  To me, it is very evident.  But you can deny it.  Fine.
Utpal Patel Added Aug 1, 2016 - 9:17am
1) Based on what?  Didn’t we established that a singular example of a woman being the head of corporation, or president of the United States for that matter, is not evidence of our culture leaning toward favoring feminism?
 
2) We covet a diverse workforce in all industries.  Tech is an industry with few female workers so it should come as no surprise that those companies would be more interested in a female than a similarly talented male.  Again, no evidence of our culture leaning toward favoring feminism there. 
 
3) Investors overlooked massive gaps in capability all the time.  As it relates to the housing collapse, people did not believe they were making a ludicrous gamble, otherwise they would not have gambled.  I’m not denying anything, just pointing out to you “there’s no there there.”

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