The Gravid State of Elizabeth Holmes

S M Chen
4 min readMar 13, 2021

Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos and one-time (at least on paper) multibillionaire, is slated to go on trial for federal fraud. At some point.

This is of at least passing interest to those who follow the news and perhaps of greater interest to erstwhile investors in Theranos, which includes some names you would likely recognize were I to list them.

Having been less than prudent in some of my past investments, I am in no position to cast stones, however.

As a quick reminder, Theranos was the Silicon Valley company which was going to revolutionize laboratory testing. From a small amount of patient blood (no more than might be obtained by pinprick), it was supposed to be able to make diagnoses and guide treatment. This was going to rival sliced bread and the wheel in importance. Or so it seemed.

Holmes was a Stanford dropout. Emulating a few elites who, having dropped out of Ivy League schools, went on to fame and fortune, she dressed in all-black during her meteoric rise.

I’m not sure what she wore during her fall.

For the problem with Theranos since inception was that it was a fraud. Its claims were baseless and it deservedly eventually joined some other failed ventures in the ash heap of history.

But it was more than a bad idea.

Ideas are plentiful, and many are bad.

Most we don’t hear about, which is just as well. Like grapes past their time, they die on the vine.

A bad idea touted as a good idea is really a bad idea.

But some are good at spinning yarns and there are also those who don’t mind having the wool pulled over their eyes.

American huckster P. T. Barnum (“there’s a sucker born every minute”) nailed it.

‘Fortune’ magazine put Holmes’ name on its list of “World’s Most Disappointing Leaders.”

I’m unsure how she thought she could get away with her scheme.

As 16th POTUS Abraham Lincoln once said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

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