When the media began to compare Elizabeth Holmes with Steve Jobs, the former Theranos CEO wrote himself a letter containing three persuasive words.
“Become Steve Jobs—” Holmes wrote on April 2, 2015, according to documents obtained by CNBC. This note is one of the dozen pages of diary-like stream of consciousness that Holmes wrote to himself. CNBC obtained some of these notes.
refer to AppleThe co-founder seems to come from a conversation with Theranos lawyer David Boies. In these notes, Holmes also mentioned a new lawyer hired by the company. A spokesperson for Boyce said he was traveling and could not be reached for comment.
A biography of Jobs was published last month, titled “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution from a Reckless Upstart to a Visionary Leader”.
Holmes was ubiquitous in the media at the time. She wore a black turtleneck sweater to evoke the iconic look of Jobs. She often said that he was her idol. A former employee of Theranos told CNBC that they saw a framed photo of Jobs in her office.
Five months after writing to herself, she was previously called “the next Steve Jobs.” Inc. Magazine Cover StoryThe story begins like this, “You have to work very hard to see Steve Jobs in Elizabeth Holmes.”
Like Jobs, Holmes dropped out of college. She left Stanford University at the age of 19 and founded Theranos. The company’s technology promises hundreds of blood tests with finger pricks. She was once the youngest female self-made billionaire, raising more than $900 million from sophisticated investors including Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family and Betsy DeVos.
Her status as the darling of the media did not last long. In the same month, she appeared on the cover of “Inc.” magazine, and the enthusiastic media suddenly darkened. Soon after, on October 15, 2015, former “Wall Street Journal” reporter John Carreyrou (John Carreyrou) published the first report in a series of investigative articles, exposing the inaccuracy of the company’s blood testing technology. Place.
Two weeks later, Holmes wrote another note to himself: “Refute the statement point by point.”
“Fearless, transparent and invisible”
In a report later that evening, Holmes wrote: “Board statement-independent review of the board’s allegations-issued statement-no independent opinion. Unwise board-entered-no judgment -“
Another line says: “Strategic Mistakes-Wall Street Journal-Impressions-Struggle-Digital Accusations-Manufacturing”
In what appears to be a response to the Wall Street Journal investigation, Holmes wrote: “Weak allegations-support everything-happen-if-true-raise suspicion-want-board investigation-nothing-investigation-is it independent? —”
In the same note, she added: “There is no solution-it will not shake my confidence-my business judgment-there is no reason-this announcement-I will know in a month-the business judgment at the time is correct Yes. It’s never certain.”
“Make a statement. Faith-Elizabeth, cooperation.”
The notes reviewed by CNBC show that Holmes is considering numerous decisions regarding the company and board statements. There was only one mention of her COO and boyfriend Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani: “Balwani-stop submitting Edison-others”
Edison was referring to the company’s blood testing technology.
When asked about these notes, another Theranos employee told CNBC, “Elizabeth sees herself as the company’s brand and driving force. She is not a person manipulated by Sunny or anyone. This gesture even left Sunny in 2016. The company continued to exist.”
Holmes’ lawyers did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment. Holmes and Balwani face 20 years in prison on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. Holmes’ trial began last month. Balwani’s trial will not begin until next year.
According to the defense’s opening statement, part of Holmes’ defense strategy is expected to be that one of her biggest mistakes as CEO is to believe in Balwani. The unsealed court documents also allege that Holmes may claim that sexual and emotional abuse from Balwani damaged her mental state and decision-making in Theranos. Balwani strongly denies these allegations.
In a note to himself, Holmes also mentioned the former Secretary of State George Schultz, who served as a member of the board of directors. Schultz’s grandson Taylor worked at Theranos and became one of the earliest informants.
On April 29, 2015, Holmes wrote: “All-day advice-EAH call-get George off the cliff…” Although she didn’t know what she meant, Taylor Schultz had warned his grandfather, according to Carreyrou’s Book “bad blood”, there may be fraud within the company. Taylor Schultz is expected to testify for the government in the trial.
In another letter to herself in April 2015, Holmes wrote down her thoughts on what appeared to be a speech about Theranos. She pointed out that her company “has achieved legislative success in Arizona” and “began to—vision—change the world. Access to healthcare. Reduce costs. Increase efficiency. Reduce pain…”
But Holmes also reminded himself that “fake it-if you don’t understand-want to clarify-stop-explore-complete the reserve-you might get it”
When Holmes became the focus of media attention, she often gave interviews on numerous TV shows.
In a letter to herself on October 17, 2015, she wrote about two appearances on CNBC that year, in which she accepted interviews with Jim Cramer and Andrew Ross Sorkin. Holmes wrote, “Some platforms-so wonderful-ordinary people… (Kramer)-Sorkin-lunatic-tough”
This is not the only mention of reporters.
Holmes also wrote to himself to introduce Carreyrou, the editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, Gerard Baker, and Dennis Berman, who was the money and investment editor of the Wall Street Journal at the time. ).
In another note, Holmes wrote: “Very productive-CBS producer this morning, interviewed on Friday.”
Holmes wrote in a rather obscure note to himself:
“The really smart person chose mado not you”
This reference is in Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood: The Final Chapter” Podcast on September 8. Carreyrou said the note appeared to refer to Bernie Madoff, the convicted fraudster.
Holmes was described as Jobs in 2015 after a text message between her and Balwani the year before. The New Yorker prepared an article about Theranos in 2014. The text message from Balwani to Holmes obtained by CNBC indicated that he was willing to take a back seat to focus on her success.
“Do you want New Yorkers to say that the key to Theranos’ success is hiring you?” Holmes texted Balwani. “If it makes you lose anything, then no. Maybe there is a better way,” Balwani replied.
When describing how the media should portray Theranos, Holmes texted Balwani and said they would think of ways: “Together we decide what sounds best.”