She Was Just Nineteen, Young and Brave

Update August 2016: Despite being railroaded by the US government, Holmes is still working hard to develop the original promise of Theranos. A fair reading of the only publically available peer-reviewed evaluation of early-stage Theranos lab results suggests that the problems were correctable, not life-threatening, and part of the expected growing pains of a new and liberating approach to patient-managed care. The US government apparently does not want individuals to be able to bypass the emerging government health care monolith.

Update Octover 2014: This CNN Money profile of Elizabeth Holmes bills her as “the youngest female billionaire in America”

Elizabeth A. Holmes is President and Chief Executive Officer of Theranos, Inc. Holmes left Stanford University in 2003 at the age of 19 to pursue her company, and she successfully raised $6 million in venture capital from many firms, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

… She took the company from concept to reality, building a management team and leading the product and commercial development infrastructures.

Previous to Theranos, while Holmes was still in high school, she started a business to distribute C++ software to Asian universities. Holmes has also worked for Genencor International, the Genome Institute Singapore, and she’s acted as Executive Director of Stanford University’s Asia Technology Initiative.
__ Elizabeth Holmes Entrepreneur

Elizabeth Holmes is remarkable for her achievements, and for the young age at which she began to make her own way. Most 19 year old Stanford engineering students would not have the courage to break away from the established path.

Holmes was a chemical engineering major at Stanford, researching wireless transmission and medical analytics, when she conceived the idea to help provide data for early treatment. “When I told my professors about the device, they told me I would be crazy not to create a company,” she says. She agreed — and eventually left Stanford to pursue it. __Inc.

It is rare to find professors — among the most security conscious occupations on the planet — who are wise enough to tell a student to take a risk and leave the academic nest “prematurely.”

Her Stanford professor at the time, Robertson, was quoted in that story saying he helped Holmes leave school because, “You start to realize you are looking in the eyes of another Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or Michael Dell-people who have done very special and interesting things.” __Xconomy

Among Holmes’ greatest fans is former US Secretary of State George Schultz, who sits on the corporate board of Theranos.

In a conversation about a year ago, Secretary Shultz said Ms. Holmes could be “the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.”

When I put it to him again on my recent visit, he smiles slyly. “This is not the last thing she’s going to invent or create.” _Wall Street Journal

Young men and women who are capable of doing what Elizabeth Holmes did, are relatively rare in the real world. And yet it is quite likely that at least ten times that many potential “Elizabeth Holmes” and “Bill Gates” are being shunted away from risk taking — or worse, being dumped in the junk pile as failures — because the established bureaucratic minded drones of the political and educational establishment have created a system designed to ignore and waste the potential of such youth.

Young people look at their teachers and professors — and most likely their parents — and see nothing but craven and security-conscious wage slaves, without the courage or imagination to create something new in the world.

Yet it is the people willing to risk failure in order to create something new, who inject dynamism into a society and its economy. Such youth were far more common in the US in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century — the dynamic years of solid economic expansion.

The 20th century saw the establishment of factory-style government schools, designed to mass assemble good little PC citizens. The last part of the 20th century and the early 21st century saw that machinery of conformity to the mediocre and the erroneous, become ever more powerful, better funded, and less tolerant of outside points of view.

It is time for a great shaking up of the complacency of the government affiliated robber barons of young minds. It is time for educational revolution.

Elizabeth Holmes podcast discussing her entrepreneurial experience


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