In a highly competitive business world, people can wind up doing crazy things to achieve their own definition of success. For some, they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. But is it right to leave a wake of destruction behind you? Let’s take Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos as an example. In recent news, Holmes along with former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani were charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in an event of “massive fraud” totaling $700M.
Boiling it down, Theranos lied to investors and partners, misrepresented company revenues and partnerships with government agencies, and misled the press to garner positive news stories and promote further investment into the company. On top of that, their “disruptive” technology of only needing a drop of blood from a prick in your finger to do the same 200+ blood tests of a full-scale laboratory, was false too. There was no such thing as the Theranos blood analyzer (they used traditional equipment), and they couldn’t prove the accuracy of their own “technology”.
Theranos had 2 of the 3 key ingredients to become an unstoppable force for good in business. But in my opinion, you need all three.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. In business especially, placing you and your company around those that elevate your game is essential. Co-founders, key executives, a board of advisors, whatever is needed to make it happen – spend time around those who have done what you want to accomplish. For Theranos, they had Larry Ellison (Oracle), Tim Draper (VC Firm – Draper Fisher Jurvetson), Betsy DeVos (U.S. Secretary of Education), Rupert Murdoch (News Corp., media mogul), and institutional-level support in Walgreens, BlueCross BlueShield, and many others.
Capital is the fuel that is added to the flame. Every investor wants to see that the entrepreneur has successfully started the fire – that the business has traction, and the idea has been validated. That way, money can be used in the proper way – it can be used as a resource to amplify results. Money only solves money problems. It needs to be matched with action and discernment to be used wisely. Theranos once again knocks it out of the park in this department, by successfully raising over $1.4B to date, according to the company’s Crunchbase profile.
Integrity is the most important ingredient of them all. In business, it is oftentimes that your reputation precedes you. How difficult will it be for Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to gain trust for their next venture? Your integrity is a valuable resource that will dictate your current and future ability to accomplish your goals – whether those goals are professional, relational, financial, or otherwise. I highly encourage you to value all three of these key ingredients and see that when you add all of them together that you can become an unstoppable force for good in business.
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