Elizabeth Holmes Verdict Marks 'End of an Era' in Silicon Valley

There is a price to pay for lying, some note in reaction to the verdict
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2022 2:37 AM CST
Elizabeth Holmes Verdict Marks 'End of an Era' in Silicon Valley
Elizabeth Holmes leaves federal court after the verdict in San Jose, Calif., Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.   (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

(Newser) – When Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty on four counts of fraud Monday, it "signaled the end of an era" in Silicon Valley, writes David Streitfeld at the New York Times. The tech startup world has long blurred the line between hype and actual achievement, but with the Theranos verdict, "there is finally a limit to faking it," Streitfeld writes. He compares Silicon Valley to a caricature of America's widely held ideas about hard work enabling you to get rich fast, and Holmes, then, to an even more intense version of Silicon Valley—and that intensity, and the ensuing claims to investors of bigger and better innovations coming down the line, only increased. It took a long time before alarms were raised, he notes, which means that America might still be "ripe for the next huckster that comes along." Read his full piece here.

  • At the AP, Michael Liedtke comes to a similar conclusion. The conviction "could offer Silicon Valley's culture of hubris and hype some valuable lessons," he writes, but "Will anyone in the tech industry actually take this moment to heart? Don't count on it." Investors will still be wooed by bold and often exaggerated claims, and entrepreneurs will still make them, even though the verdict does send the message that there can be consequences, experts say. Read the full piece here.
  • Some of the legal and tech experts ABC 7 spoke to echoed the idea, though, that this marks a precedent. "Anybody can have a vision. I'd like to cure cancer and I could conceive on ideas on how we could cure cancer and go around and tell everybody about it, but until I have a certain amount of data or proof of concept to demonstrate that, it's nothing more than a pipe dream," says a biotech professor. And a legal analyst says the conviction sends a message: "You can't fake it until you make it and you can't fraud it until you make it either."
  • At NBC News, meanwhile, Ahmed Twaij says the charges against Holmes didn't go far enough. The case "was also one of endangerment, and Holmes must now be put on trial again for the suffering she allegedly caused to patients, not just investors," he writes. See his full piece here.
(Read more Elizabeth Holmes stories.)

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