Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

"The brilliant young Stanford dropout behind the breakthrough invention was anointed "the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates" by no less than former secretary of state George Schultz, the man many credited with winning the Cold War, in a quote at the end of the article."

I've been somewhat transfixed by this tale of fraudulent behaviour and extreme privilege, having been rather late to the story because, yes, I've just discovered podcasts. I'd seen this particular book referenced in a number of interviews and articles and was interested to discover more. What lay behind the lady in the Steve Jobs turtlenecks with the deep voice and the machine that was... just a bit of a prick?

Perhaps what captivated so many people in the story is how this young woman used her connections and persona to convince investors to bet large on a device that didn't work. Particularly at such a young age. Rarely do you see a woman portrayed as so vindictive and cut throat in the world of business. In one way it was semi-inspired. Here was a woman beating men of the very worst calibre at their own dodgy game, up to a point of course. Like all cautionary tales, the end doesn't look particularly good.

Her combination of control, secrecy and intimidation in an unlikely blonde package left me torn. On the one hand, at least it meant that there is visibility that women are demonstrably equal to men in their ability to do dodgy deals. On the other hand, I'd hate to think we were all painted in the same unsavoury hue. Was she just swept up in the momentum, was she the architect of her success and failure? The book suggests she was all in, all the time. The exploits are Machiavellian in scope.

In any case the book is well paced and features great writing - an impressive combination.
One wonders if her business had not been framed around healthcare, whether there would have ever been a problem. After all, scrutiny is high when lives are at risk. 

Did I mention this was the perfect read for the commute to and from work? Well now I have. Night all .

5 out of 5 vampires are draining.

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