Theranos, the startup that promised to revolutionize blood tests, was once one of the hottest tickets in all of Silicon Valley, reaching a peak of valuation of $9 billion. Led by its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos quickly fell from grace following a Wall Street Journal exposé by John Carreyrou in October 2015, which alleged that the company’s flagship blood testing technology was a near-total failure. Upon further investigation, regulators found that Theranos may have caused thousand of misdiagnoses and that the company was also negligent for failing to notify patients who may have received inaccurate test results.
Since the news broke, Theranos has been on life support: the company and its founder have been charged with fraud, a majority of its employees have been laid off, and reports show that company funding is about to run out at the end of summer.
However, there is one thing that persists at Theranos: its sense of ‘Silicon Valley entitlement.’ It’s been reported that Theranos employees once chanted “f— you, Carreyrou” at a company-wide meeting, referring to John Carreyrou, the reporter who first broke the scandal.
More recently, Carreyrou tweeted that Theranos employees had built a clone of the famous Space Invaders game, where players shoot little pictures of Carreyrou’s head instead of alien invaders. In the tweet, Carreyrou states, “At a company party, Theranos employees played a video game modeled after Atari’s Space Invaders: The gun was the miniLab, the bullets the nanotainers and the invader being shot at: Yours Truly!”
While Carreyrou went on to clarify that the game was not sanctioned by Theranos management, and the game’s creator used it as a tool to learn the Python programing language, these types of actions continue to damage the public perception of the failing company and Silicon Valley as a whole.
Space Invaders, Theranos Edition! pic.twitter.com/gOeUNqASBU
— John Carreyrou (@JohnCarreyrou) April 13, 2018
Carreyrou looks to share similar stories in his upcoming book, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, which is scheduled for release May 21.