Must-Read: Matt Levine: People Are Worried About Unicorns

Must-Read: Matt Levine: People Are Worried About Unicorns: “There was a time when my big question about the Theranos story was…

Jeffrey J Cohen on Twitter If grilling unicorn over long weekend for safety s sake ensure internal temperature reaches 165 degrees b4 eating https t co Cq7ZUJAVrG

…is it a revolutionary company with a great technology that is being unfairly nitpicked, or is it a company whose technology has big serious problems?… Now my big question is… a story of smart well-meaning people who are working on a great idea… who got a bit over their skis, or… darker? It is silly, so late in the game, to fixate on one Theranos detail and say ‘that’s weird,’ but here is a story about Theranos’s relationship with Walgreens, and this is really weird:

While Theranos didn’t provide a device to Hopkins, Walgreens got a prototype, and members of Dr. Rosan’s team set it up in a cubicle. The prototype came with kits to perform esoteric tests that other labs and test makers apparently didn’t offer, producing results such as ‘low’ and ‘high’ rather than numeric values. As a result, Walgreens couldn’t compare results from the Theranos machine to any commercially available tests.

I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to think of an innocent explanation for that…. Here is a unicorn being barbecued in what looks like a medieval manuscript that I will just assume prophesies the coming of Theranos:

And lo, a Unicorne shall come among ye, and ye shall call it by the name Theranos, or in the Old Tongues, Elasmotherium Haimatos. And it shall take your Bloode, but only a lyttle bit of your Bloode, and it shall do strange Magick upon said Bloode, and tell ye many Things. But then it shall come to pass that its Magick was [makes ‘so-so’ hand gesture], and that those Things were mostly not true. And ye shall barbecue that Unicorne.

May 30, 2016


Brad DeLong
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