ELIZABETH HOLMES TRIES TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS: SMART COOKIE AND DUMB BLONDE
It seems as if Theranos protagonist Elizabeth Holmes has been attempting to avoid a long jail sentence — and will probably only get a short probation — by claiming in her fraud trial she was being manipulated by her evil boyfriend, who made her do terrible things, such as having sex with him and lying to everyone about her company’s product, which sometimes wasn’t even made by her company.
“He made me do it” seems to be her defense.
Yet while CEO of Theranos, Holmes took full credit for coming up with a “revolutionary” painless way of blood testing, roped in investors to the tune of $1.3 billion, and sold her lies to a fawning media, except for WSJ reporter John Carreyrou, who dug into the dirt and brought the company down.
Of course, the media — a dedicated co-conspirator in pumping her up — is now cashing in on the demise of the Stanford drop-out tech heroine. Like Holmes, the media likes to have it both ways: build her up, then tear her down. Everyone likes a good story.
Unfortunately, the Holmes story does not bode well for women in high tech. Although many male startup founders have lied to investors and federal agencies, it’s the young, attractive female that captures the media — and the public’s — attention. Sure, reporters aren’t swooning over Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page these days, but remember how they bashed their “accomplices,” Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, after they had earlier pedestalled them to Miss Tech America heights?
Women in tech can’t seem to win, but Holmes Is still a smart cookie by playing the dumb blonde. She’ll win in the end because she and her lawyers understand how our culture treats women.