Enjoy Some Barbecued Unicorn . . .

I always find Matt Levine‘s daily Money Stuff a unique combination of smart, informative and damned amusing:


People are worried about unicorns.

There was a time when my big question about the Theranos story was, 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? I am satisfied that that question has been answered. Now my big question is, is this a story of smart well-meaning people who are working on a great idea to change the world and who got a bit over their skis, or is it something 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.

Elsewhere, here is a breakdown of who gets venture capital funding (mostly men, a lot of Stanford grads, also a lot of college dropouts). And 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.”  (via Bloomberg)


My advice to you this Memorial Day Weekend is to enjoy some barbecued unicorn, and sign up for Matt Levine’s daily email, Money Stuff.


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