Not too long ago, we vicariously lived past 1 percent watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” or “Cribs.” Now, we obsess over the details of how they got scammed. In San Jose, California, the site of Holmes’ trial this past month, many book clubs that read “Bad Blood,” which chronicles Theranos’ demise, have made pilgrimages to catch a glimpse of her in the courtroom. . One eager attendee told me she was “a fan of white-collar crime.”
The fiery fervor reflects the rise of “murderers,” or fans of true murder stories. We are relieved that we are not victims. Few of us are likely to lose millions – or hundreds of millions – in a shady startup bet.
Peter Atwater, an adjunct professor at the University of William & Mary who studies confidence in decision-making, said: “Psychological distance allows us to laugh at things that if they happen to us, we laugh at things. We will be ashamed, embarrassed or hurt. “Finally, some rich people are as deceived as we are, poor people.”
For so-called white-collar crime fans, the newly established rogue cannon offers a growing bounty to earn. It was recently revealed that an Ozy executive impersonated a YouTube representative during a call with Goldman Sachs to try to secure an investment. According to a recent criminal indictment, there are verifiable invoices that Manish Lacwani used to increase the revenue of HeadSpin, the software company he founded, in order to raise $60 million in funding. (HeadSpin said it has returned the money and has cooperated with investigators.) them with more than 40 counts of fraud in February. There were private investigators and legal bullying tactics that Theranos used to intimidate whistleblowers, according to recent court testimony.
They follow an old formula like “Music Man.” A charismatic founder paints himself as a visionary. Ms Holmes said Theranos’ blood analyzer could provide hundreds of quick and cheap medical tests from a single drop of blood. That promise has attracted the likes of General James Mattis, who testified that he sees the potential to save lives on the battlefield, or Steve Burd, a former Safeway executive who testified that putting the machine on The store will open up an exciting new line of business for the grocery chain.
When a wealthy person buys in, the founder can use the benefactor’s reputation to gather a strong following. In Theranos’ case, George Shultz, the former secretary of state, introduced Holmes to friends at the Hoover Institution, including Henry Kissinger and Mattis. Everyone assumes that the first investor asked all the hard questions. Further exploration is denied as a trade secret.
Claims can be flimsy. Theranos projected sales of $990 million in 2015. In fact, it was revealed in court, close to zero. Ozy Media claims they wrote the first stories about influencers like Trevor Noah and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It didn’t. Jessica Richman, co-founder of uBiome, told reporters she qualifies for the “under 30” and “under 40” lists. According to the indictment, she was over 40 years old. Neumann promised that by 2018, WeLive, WeWork’s apartment project, would reach $600 million in sales, according to “The Cult of We,” a book about the company. It never expanded beyond two buildings with several hundred units.