S01 E15
20 Sep 2021/01:12:49

Theranos, Silicon Valley, and the March Madness of Tech Fraud

Oxide and Friends Twitter Space: September 20th, 2021

Theranos, Silicon Valley, and the March Madness of Tech Fraud
We’ve been holding a Twitter Space weekly on Mondays at 5p for about an hour. Even though it’s not (yet?) a feature of Twitter Spaces, we have been recording them all; here is the recording for our Twitter Space for September 20th, 2021.
In addition to Bryan Cantrill and Adam Leventhal, speakers on September 20th included Land Belenky, Toasterson, Cole Frederick, and Simeon Miteff. (Did we miss your name and/or get it wrong? Drop a PR!)
Some of the topics we hit on, in the order that we hit them:
  • John Carreyrou on Theranos 
    • “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” 2018 book
    • “Bad Blood the Final Chapter” podcast as the trial proceeds (announcement), on apple, spotify
  • Cole’s tweet linking to a ~5min video of a would-be Theranos competitor commenting on its collapse > The lone inventor is a dangerous impression to give people.
  • Related: Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman “The Myth of the Genius Programmer” 2009 talk ~55mins
  • [@9:47](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=587) Companies that drive scientific people nuts 
    • uBeam “claims to be developing a wireless charging system to work via ultrasound. Scientists have strongly criticised the plausibility under physics of this proposal.”
    • uBiome > To innovate, you have to balance the world as it is with the world as it isn’t.
  • [@13:44](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=824) Theranos’ fantastical vision. European attitudes around business and innovation. 
    • PCR Polymerase chain reaction invented 1983 by Kary Mullis.
  • [@18:39](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=1119) Fake it till you make it? 
  • [@23:57](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=1437) Whistleblower Avie Tevanian. Smoke and mirrors, giving the board the run around.
  • [@29:05](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=1745) “Everyone was relying on someone else to do their due diligence” 
    • Tech risk, venture capital
    • Cerebras Systems wafer scale processors
    • Ellen Pao NYT editorial “The Elizabeth Holmes Trial is a Wake-up Call for Sexism in Tech”
  • [@35:20](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=2120) Software cure-all 
  • [@40:14](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=2414) Founding myths 
  • [@44:06](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=2646) Tesla “Autopilot”, Uber self driving 
    • Anthony Levandowski > Judge Alsup: This is the biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen. > This was not small. This was massive in scale.
  • [@48:21](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=2901) March Madness of Silicon Valley Fraudsters 
  • [@59:02](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=3542) Levandowski jeopardizes employee 
  • [@1:04:35](https://youtu.be/YWdk9CKML2g?t=3875) Warning signs of fraudulent companies 
    • Transparency, celebrity boards
    • Optane
    • Inconsistency between board and leadership on what the coming milestones are
If we got something wrong or missed something, please file a PR! Our next Twitter space will likely be on Monday at 5p Pacific Time; stay tuned to our Twitter feeds for details. We’d love to have you join us, as we always love to hear from new speakers!