It’s tempting to compare Theranos to the Fyre Festival debacle, but we’re dealing with a different situation here, one where capitalist greed and general arsehole-iness doesn’t play the same kind of part. Whereas Billy McFarland was an ignorant grifter who knew his concept wouldn’t fly from the earliest stages but pursued it anyway (and the Instagram kids, being marks, fell for it), Elizabeth Holmes really does seem like she was inspired by the Edison lesson of faking it till she made it. She really did want to be a Steve Jobs-esque Silicon Valley pioneer and ‘disrupt’ the established infrastructure of blood testing. All she needed was that one breakthrough that would solve all her problems, as they continued to pile up and eventually avalanche on top of her. One can’t help but imagine that if she were a man, one who, say, blustered about fanciful transport tunnels or cave rescue robo-coffins with nowt to show for them, the big idea would still be a thing.
Cross-posted from Letterboxd