The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

“If you look at her from the beginning, it would be a cautionary tale about all of us.”
Dan Ariel, behavioral economist

As of this point in time, Elizabeth Holmes is scheduled to go on trial in federal court on July 28, 2020, for allegedly defrauding investors, doctors and the public.

In The Inventor documentary film god Alex Gibney tells Holmes’ story of a twenty-something woman who cooked up a nine billion dollar valued tech company called Theranos—a contraction of the words ‘therapy’ and ‘diagnosis’—only to see the company and her dream crash.

Holmes’ idea was to provide people direct access to potentially life-saving blood tests. She envisioned a small box called ‘Edison’ that could perform more than 200 blood tests. The tests would be purchased by customers at drug stores, and the box—like some sort of dedicated desktop computer—might even be available in homes.

Rather than the conventional blood draw from the arm, customers or users would experience a less painful finger stick, quicker results, and less cost than traditional blood labs. The intention was to make it easier for people to get blood tests, and would be more likely to discern potential problems sooner, and receive potential treatments sooner.

Her idea would require, of course, that the medical world relinquish its convention of requiring a physician’s order for blood tests. That sticky problem aside, the main problem was the idea is unworkable.

Utilizing a remarkable amount of access to images, information about Holmes, and people—many from the halls of power—caught in the company’s maelstrom, Gibney escorts viewers through the rise and fall of Theranos and its founder. The result is a stunning, jaw-dropping fairy-tale turned nightmare.

The Inventor is an HBO documentary available via HBOGO, HBONow, Amazon Prime Video, and Play Station Vue.

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