I’ve been in the startup world for quite some time now, both as a founder and working for/with/around other founders, and stories like this when someone over-promises and under-delivers are extremely common. Theranos just happened to get away with it for much longer than it should have—not to mention their product was medical-related, so it probably wasn’t the best idea to lie about its functionality. Although their product was innovative early on, when they decided to swindle investors and the public, they put human lives in danger.
That being said, you can’t help but have some empathy for Elizabeth Holmes. She really did try hard to make the world a better place. She just placed her trust in the wrong person, infatuated and blinded by a deep desire to be famous and successful—to be seen by the world as the next Steve Jobs. You can imagine how devastating it’d be to accept the fact that your product literally couldn’t function as intended, and all the hard work, devotion, and money you and others put into it over the years was wasted. She was willing to do whatever it took to hide her failure rather than embrace and learn from it. It’s a shame that she didn’t have the courage to be honest about her company, because they could’ve eventually had a breakthrough that changed the world.