Profile picture
Brent Beshore @BrentBeshore
, 28 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Finished @JohnCarreyrou's new book “Bad Blood” last night. Outrageously well done. Was hard to put down. Here are the top highlights/underlines, along with my accompanying notes.

Quotes are all Carreyrou's. Rest are mine.

I’ll try not to give away the surprises.
Q: What happens when you mix boundless ambition, change-the-world cheerleading, a willingness to suspend disbelief, bottomless funds, laughable corporate governance, goal-induced blindness, self-obsession, little lies and big promises that constantly get bigger?

A: Theranos
“You didn’t change the world by being cynical.”

While opposite ends of the spectrum, cynicism and baseless hyperbole are both toxic because neither are accurate, or helpful, representations of reality.
“Her father had drilled into her the notion that she should live a purposeful life.”
“No, Dad…I want to make money.” -Holmes

Some purposes are better than others and becoming a self-aggrandizing billionaire is a lethal aspiration. Not sure anyone's career/life could survive.
“She described an adhesive patch that would draw blood painlessly through the skin using microneedles.”

Evolution: Patch —> finger prick —> blood draw analyzed with common tech in smaller package. Investor $ rolled in, core concept got dumbed down, marketing rhetoric exploded.
“Not everyone bought the pitch…Unable to answer the partners’ probing technical questions, she got up after about an hour and left in a huff.”

Ask the tough questions. Be able to answer the tough questions. Anger/frustration is a mark of weakness and used as a smoke screen.
“Ellison was also an influence. In Oracle’s early years, he had famously exaggerated his database software’s capabilities.”

You are your closest friends/advisors. People are thermometers, not thermostats. Bad behavior occasionally “works” and often appears to be working.
“People in her entourage…were beginning to compare her to Steve Jobs. If so, she should dress the part.”

Imitation, mixed with idol worship, embraces the unhelpful exact and sacrifices the valuable principles. It’s taking the worst and leaving the best.
“He’d begun to notice a pattern. Elizabeth would present increasingly rosy revenue projections…but the revenues wouldn’t materialize.”

Wishing reality different never makes it so. Over-promising is a reliable path to ruin.
“Elizabeth wanted him off the board…it was an ominous development. Ana’s own relationship with Elizabeth was deteriorating.”

How someone behaves towards others is how they’ll eventually behave towards you. Don't be surprised when the scorpion puts the stinger in your back.
“Avie was astonished…Not only had he done no such things, in all his years in Silicon Valley he had never come close to being threatened with a lawsuit.”

Patterns matter. Good trees bear good fruit. Always pay attention when good trees start being accused of bearing bad fruit.
“Elizabeth demanded absolute loyalty and if she sensed that she no longer had it from someone, she could turn on them in a flash.”

Loyalty is earned, not demanded, and works both ways. Demanded loyalty is coerced subservience, which selects for sycophants and schemers.
“(Board) called in Elizabeth to...inform her of their decision (fire her). But then something extraordinary happened...Elizabeth convinced them to change their minds.”

First call is usually correct. Charisma distorts reality. Wisdom comes from separating facts from the show.
“Impressionable 18 yo girl who saw in Sunny what she wanted to become: a successful and wealthy entrepreneur…It isn’t clear when Elizabeth and Sunny became romantically involved.”

Never dip the pen in company ink. If a situation looks odd, it’s likley weirder than you expect.
“Resignation letter in hand…Sunny, who was there, opened up the letter, read it, then threw it back in Seth’s face. ‘I won’t accept this!’ he shouted. Seth shouted back, deadpan, ‘I have news for you, sir: in 1863, President Lincoln freed the slaves.”

Best resignation ever.
“She told Greg she wanted to see Kent come in on weekends too; it bothered her that his friend didn’t. Keeping work-life balance seemed a foreign concept to her. She was at work all the time.”

Culture trickles down and becomes the water employees swim in, for good, or bad.
“The number of hours a person put in at the office, whether he or she was doing productive work or not, was his ultimate gauge of that commitment.”

Culture is nothing more than what you reward and punish. You get what you select for, and ultimately what you deserve.
“The miniLab is the most important thing humanity has ever built. If you don’t believe this is the case, you should leave now.” -Holmes

Laughable claims should elicit laughter. When they don't, run.
“After leaving the supermarket chain (as CEO), he founded a consulting firm…In his new role as a fellow health-startup founder, he tried to get back in touch with Elizabeth. She no longer returned his calls.”

Never confuse utility with care. A lack of utility brings clarity.
“Elizabeth had wanted all those sweeping claims to be true, but just because you badly wanted something to be real didn’t make it so.”

Strength of desire has zero impact on truth. Just because you want something to be true, doesn’t make it more likely to be so.
“George said a top surgeon in NYC had told him the company was going to revolutionize the field of surgery and this was someone his good friend Henry Kissinger considered to be the smartest man alive.”

Never outsource your judgment. Ever. Full stop.
“Everywhere you look with this young lady, there’s a purity of motivation,” Shultz told him.

No one has pure motivation, ever. Best you can hope for is only slight, predictable taint. Louder they claim virtue, the more suspicious you should be. Stress test words with actions.
“She has one of the most mature and well-honed sense of ethics — personal ethics, managerial ethics, business ethics, medical ethics — that I’ve ever heard articulated.” -Gen. Mattis

Quality of judgement is situation-dependent. Outside area of expertise, use extreme caution.
“With explosion of media coverage came invitations to numerous conferences and a cascade of accolades…Time named her one of the 100 most influential people. Obama appointed her ambassador."

Availability bias is unexpectedly powerful and thrives on the appearance of substance.
“Elizabeth was also quick to embrace the trappings of fame...Two bodyguards now drove her around in a black Audi A8…a private Gulfstream jet.”

Wealth/power create negative feedback loops of disconnectedness from reality, which inevitably leads to unyielding self-obsession.
“Adam Clapper, a practicing pathologist in Columbia, Missouri, who in his spare time wrote a blog about the industry called Pathology Blawg.”

As I’ve repeatedly told people, Columbia, MO is clearly the center of the known universe. You can try to fight it, but it’s just a fact.
“We have a message for Carreyrou. At his signal, he and many of the several hundred employees in attendance chanted: ‘F-U Carrey-rou!’” (I abbreviated)

Common enemies can be a powerful group motivator. But pick your enemies carefully and ask "why" often.
“Holmes defiantly asserted that she would publish clinical data...Holmes’s original premise — fast and accurate test results from just a drop or two pricked from a finger — was nowhere to be found.”

Bluster always breaks against the sharp rocks of reality.

Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Brent Beshore
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!