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Risk or when Elizabeth Holmes'​ sentence could enrich due diligences

Each sentence normally improves the jurisprudence.

So, when Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest of the self-made women billionaires, is sentenced to more than eleven years in prison, one wonders what lessons can be drawn from this collapse?

Let's remember that Elizabeth was raising hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to her vision. She was glorified and revered as never before by the media and the Silicon Valley Gotha. Theranos, her fake, tech-free biotech, was even valued at nearly $9 billion.

Surprisingly, she was not convicted of lying to her patients, nor was she blamed from persecuting her employees with Sunny as her COO, lover and possibly her persecutor.

No, she was convicted for having duped the giants of America: investors and leaders, including a certain Henry Kissinger.

The latter, who wanted to get rich while saving humanity, were so impressed by Elizabeth's vista that they became so blind as to be fleeced. Nothing new, you may say, in the Silicon Valley where you fake it until you make it, but it had never happened for so long and so brazenly, ridiculing so many personalities.

Today, despite her aplomb and her baritone voice, Elizabeth, Stanford's 2nd most famous dropout, with her black turtleneck like Steve Jobs, is found guilty, even if she pleads not guilty. She didn't get rich, although that's commonly the goal of a scam. She no longer poses much of a threat to society but should still be imprisoned. Indeed, ignoring any "feeling", the judge and the jurors in the first instance did not allow themselves to be touched by this future mother of two children who will grow up without her ever being able to cradle them. They did not forgive her when she expressed her regrets by crying sincerely while apologizing. So, on April 27, a few days after she’ll give birth to her second baby, without being able to go through with the breastfeeding, she is supposed to head to the prison box of this California version of Monopoly.

I could not have been chosen as a juror at her trial, because I am biased.

Yes, I expected, hoped, and believed in her idea. It was a green-eyed nurse who opened my eyes to Elizabeth, one winter evening in her laboratory at 41 Avenue Bosquet in Paris, France. She said to my son and I, "I may have to prick several times, because it will be difficult to find your child's vein. My son Clovis, who was white as a sheet and who was facing his first blood test of his life, looked at me with doubt and dread of this repeated drilling into his immaculate baby flesh. She added, "unless one day Elizabeth Holmes, that beloved icon but perhaps not so loved woman, turns her idea into reality”. So, on the spot, carried away by the emotion, I promised my son that when Theranos arrived in France, he would be the first to benefit from that innovation. Alas, Theranos collapsed.

Since then, I've been looking for good in the California court rulings and what sense to make of this nonsense in the ABC podcast.

It turns out that Elizabeth, left a clue along the way, like the drop of blood that can reveal our vulnerabilities.

Transposed to the company, her idea is like asking what flash diagnosis would allow us to detect our Achilles heel in advance.

The flash diagnosis of Elizabeth's disaster makes it possible to detect three Achilles' heels related to human factors, useful for investors who want to make money and do good:

  • The (a)symmetry of management attention: on the one hand, Theranos fought for the best of causes: saving lives and on the other, they applied the worst of management: threatening, harassing, terrorizing.

  • The presence of an abstruse trap. At Theranos, perseverance and ignorance of reality were confused, which led to stubbornness over a long period of time instead of failing fast to innovate.

  • The omnipresence of a Karpman drama triangle. Elizabeth and Sunny kept alternating postures of each victim, rescuer and persecutor revealing a disturbing vision of the world for leaders.

Even if we can sympathize with the cheated investors because it is always possible to be fooled, Elizabeth's condemnation can lead us to believe that this is THE solution.

But perhaps we are also a bit guilty of valuing the smooth talkers more than the researchers, the ethereal ideas more than the proven realities, the fundraisers more than the inventors.

Maybe the nurse who gave me hope in Theranos was right: what Elizabeth, and the rest of us, need to change the world is not to be worshipped, to be funded or to become a billionaire, but to be loved and to love back simply and sincerely.

Sentimentally yours


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