Disgraced tech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes was known to worship the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and she wore a black turtle neck every day to show it.
How could someone who tried to emulate Jobs become a fraud that puts her in the company of Bernie Madoff?
Alex Gibney gave a thoughtful response to that question this week when his documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley debuted on HBO.
The movie chronicles the rise of a Stanford dropout turned tech rockstar who went on to defraud investors of billions of dollar with a device she claimed could run more than 100 different blood tests with a single drop from a finger prick.
A whistleblower exposed how the device did not work and what she did for a coverup. Her company, Theranos, was shuttered last fall.
Elizabeth Holmes didn’t study Steve Jobs close enough
Gibney spoke on a panel following a special screening in San Francisco and had this to say about her fascination with Jobs:
“What she shared with Steve Jobs was an ability to be an incredible storyteller. Steve Jobs was a magnificent storyteller. Whether or not he was an inventor is the matter of some dispute. But he was a magnificent storyteller. And so was Elizabeth Holmes, I would argue.
“What Elizabeth didn’t take from the Steve Jobs lesson … was Apple 2.0 – an Apple in which Steve Jobs had learned some very powerful lessons of failure. Failure at Next, the failure at the first go-round with Apple. And he surrounded himself with some very powerful and capable people: Jon Rubinstein, Avie Tevanian, Jony Ive and people who were willing to give him bad news – and he was willing to hear it. So that’s not something she absorbed at all.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, the trailer below will put it on your radar for weekend viewing.