Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Unputdownable indictment of everything wrong with Silicon Valley culture. From a recent AMA with Carreyrou:

I think there’s something to what you’re saying. Cambridge has Harvard and MIT, where super smart people do real science and engineering. In SV, people have built up this myth that a young Stanford dropout can wave a magic wand and solve difficult problems. The cult of personality out there has gotten out of control. Elon Musk is another example of it. People in and around Boston are more grounded and more anchored to reality.

And then there’s this programmer classic:

The tests’ progress was represented by the darkening edge of a circle on the devices’ digital screens, like app downloads on an iPhone. Inside the circle, a percentage number told the user how much of the test had been completed. Based on how slowly the edge of one of the circles was filling up, it looked to Parloff like it might take several more hours. He couldn’t wait around that long. He told Edlin he needed to head back to work.

After Parloff left, Kyle Logan, the young chemical engineer [. . .] was there to provide technical support. Noticing that the miniLab running the potassium test was stuck at 70 percent completion, he took the cartridge out and rebooted the machine. He had a pretty good idea what had happened.

Balwani had tasked a Theranos software engineer named Michael Craig to write an application for the miniLab’s software that masked test malfunctions. When something went wrong inside the machine, the app kicked in and prevented an error message from appearing on the digital display. Instead, the screen showed the test’s progress slowing to a crawl. This is exactly what had happened