What If Theranos Is Business As Usual? Thoughts on the Bullsh-t Tech Economy

There has been a spate of articles about the rise and possible fall of Theranos, a hot tech company that promised low-volume blood medical analysis. As best as anyone can tell, the actual technology is largely FDA-unapproved vaportech (that is, it doesn’t work and/or exist and to the extent it does, the FDA hasn’t approved it). This has led to some wailing and gnashing of teeth about the ability of Silicon Valley to enter the biotech ‘space.’ Between the landmines 23AndMe blundered into (seriously, those guys fell out of the stupid tree and hit every fucking branch on the way down) and Theranos’, well, something (the latest is that they, one way or another, misled consumers), maybe Silicon Valley just isn’t compatible with biotech.

But what if Theranos is business as usual for Silicon Valley, the only difference being that most Silicon Valley companies don’t get called on their bullshit by a regulatory agency? What if the problem is that you can’t really talk, press release (I just made up that verb), or capitalize your way out of biology that doesn’t work? Because when you get right down to it, a large chunk of the 21st economy is the same sorry-ass 20th century economy, just with more CPUs.

Maybe Theranos should be a warning, and not just to those thinking about diving into biotech.

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1 Response to What If Theranos Is Business As Usual? Thoughts on the Bullsh-t Tech Economy

  1. MarkK says:

    Well yeah it is business as usual and always has been – but you have a sample of 2. Remember most startups fail. So I don’t see any big deal about these failing or being rethought as 23andme seem to be doing. If the tech is there someone else will pick it up if this company goes under. If it isn’t, that is no different than hundreds of other tech startups over the last 40 years. That is how Silicon Valley works.

    It is interesting that these are getting a lot of press as somehow different. It is different tech, but the underlying model is the same. If it worries you that all the rest of the “Tech” industry works this way… well that is how it often works. Nothing is simple, but in general, you have to put the actual product on the sales shelf at some point and people have to like it.

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