Written 07/08/2016

Major humble pie required. So I wrote this post 2 years ago about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. Her company is kind of in shambles and she is personally prohibited from running a lab for 2 years here. So that is a fail. However, I argue she will come back stronger and meaner. Don’t count her out. America loves a come-back story, and she is still a powerhouse of intellect, ambition, and connections.

That said – if you want to cast stones about my 2 blog post from 2 years ago, no worries. As a consultant it’s important to 1) have a point of view 2) be open to feedback 3) be thick-skinned 4) look for lessons learned 5) have fun. 

Written 09/30/2014

If you don’t know this company, clearly you are not paying attention. Theranos is a biotechnology start up merging biological systems with information systems. Home healthcare monitoring systems to monitor disease progression in real-time. Originally, it was catering to pharmaceutical trials and speeding up the response time, A/B testing of new drugs. Now, it enables you to use just 1 small pin prick of blood to give you advanced test results in 4 hours, with 1/2 the costs of traditional tests.

Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes was on the cover of Forbes. Here are the highlights:

  • Dropped out of Stanford at 19
  • Revolutionized the blood test industry
  • 27 patents on a disruptive innovation
  • 50% ownership of a business that is valued at $9 billion
  • One of the youngest billionaires in the world

What more do you need to know?  Well look at these Stanford videocasts:


  • Pick investors who share a long-term vision
  • Find people who can stand by you to build a business
  • The people you choose to work will absolutely determine the the failure and success of your business

Talent network:

  •  Evaluating candidates is difficult; technically you need to be excellent, but  that is only 50%.  If you don’t have the hunger to take ownership . . .it will not work
  • If everyone in the company who owns what they are working on, then we will be able to solve any problem we face. Look for people who are hungry
  • Find people you can trust

Cash flow:

  • Most fundamental part of business – building a growing business that has cashflow; the market is telling you that you have something of value
  • Understand WHY you are doing the business; what is the source of passion?
  • Have the conviction to make it work . . not the title, money, or glory.  If you do it for superficial reasons, you may end up in the wrong place

Teenage entrepreneur:

  • Lived in the basement of some Stanford graduates
  • How do you convince people that you can pull it off, when you are 19 years old?
  • Michael Dell, Bill Gates, they demonstrated that it is not about age
  • It is about dedication and entrepreneurship … to make it work
  • You have to find people who will back you, who believe in you
  • You have to have the conviction because in the end, it is up to you

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