Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes was tested. Silicon Valley is watching

If you must convincing of that Elizabeth Holmes was a man of feeling, and not a villain to draw blood, just look at his text messages. “You’ll be wind in the desert for me,” he sent Ramesh Balwani, his business partner and girlfriend, in 2015. “My water. And the ocean.” Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou is investigating his medical testing company, Theranos, Holmes even thought of love. “Thinking about you this morning,” he texted Balwani in June. Balwani reminds him to stay focused: attack Theranos.

Six pages of text messages were some of the first documents to come out of Holmes’ trial, which began this week, more than three years later. he was charged with defrauding investors, as well as doctors and patients, about Theranos ’abilities. He pleaded not guilty. The task of defending in the coming months was Holmes’s humanity, which the jury showed a young and ambitious businessman who had made some mistakes in his quest for success. The government will try to convince the jurors that he is became a billionaire at the expense of the health of its customers, and risked his investors down the road.

And Silicon Valley will pay attention. The landmark case examines a company, a builder – but to do it, do it. shine a bright light on some start -up culture behaviors, including the expectation that founders will pursue their ideas with something like disrespectful determination. Elizabeth Holmes has become, as lead prosecutor Robert Leach put it in his opening statement on Wednesday, “one of the most famous CEOs in Silicon Valley and in the world. But under the guise of Theranos’ success, there are significant problems with creating problems. ”The question for the jury, then, is to decide what time the swagger began to become fraudulent.

“I’m glad the‘ Fake it till you make it ’mantra in Silicon Valley is in question,” said Eric Bahn, cofounder of Hustle Fund, an early -stage VC firm. “Over the past decade, it’s almost like a shouts from builders and investors. “

At the same time, Bahn said, he was concerned that the attention to Holmes could be further scrutinized by the women founders, who, study there show, is already having an even harder time raising money in Silicon Valley. “I heard an anecdote about a female health care founder being asked about her thoughts on Holmes, and how the founder felt she was being compared.” A new story on The New York Times found that many of the other female founders faced comparisons with Holmes.

Holmes’s story has already left an indelible mark, not only on Silicon Valley but on American culture for which much has been written. She’s a heavy character for investors and alike in the media-the blonde baritone in black turkeys-and her fall has attracted a lot of attention on her rise: hundreds of magazine articles, a best -selling book, a podcast series, numerous documentaries, an upcoming television series starring Amanda Seyfried. As a result, the first week of court is spent with the difficult task of selecting a jury that is not filled with coverage and may present an unbiased opinion.

Jurors were also asked if they were exposed to domestic abuse, because the defense’s plan was to argue that Holmes was subjected to Balwani’s “decade-long psychological abuse campaign.” (Balwani has denied any allegations of abuse. He has also been charged with fraud, and has also pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin in January.) About half of the jury pool raised their hands, according to the report. on The New York Times.

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