Elizabeth Holmes had no other choice. She finally had to address her employees at Theranos, the blood-testing start-up that she had founded as a 19-year-old Stanford dropout, which was now valued at some $9 billion.
Two days earlier, a damning report published in The Wall Street Journal had alleged that the company was, in effect, a sham—that its vaunted core technology was actually faulty and that Theranos administered almost all of its blood tests using competitors’ equipment.
The article created tremors throughout Silicon Valley, where Holmes, the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, had become a near universally praised figure.
Holmes reiterated that Theranos’s proprietary technology could take a pinprick’s worth of blood, extracted from the tip of a finger, instead of intravenously, and test for hundreds of diseases—a remarkable innovation that was going to save millions of lives and, in a phrase she often repeated, “change the world.”
Holmes adorned the covers of Fortune, Forbes, and Inc., among other publications. She was profiled in The New Yorker and featured on a segment of Charlie Rose.