A Review of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup is a must read that details the meteoric rise and crash and burn descent of a company called Theranos, and its principal, Elizabeth Holmes. The book was written by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, who wrote a series of stories in the Journal that exposed the fraud, and brought Holmes and Theranos down. He gives us an up-close look at how Theranos skyrocketed to a market value of $10 billion through deception, but the story is so much more than your run of the mill business fraud case .

Theranos was a medical device company that promised an amazing array of medical diagnosis from a small sample of blood, using a Theranos machine. Elizabeth Holmes had modeled herself after Steve Jobs, to the point that she was wearing his style of clothing. Holmes got out there and sold the potential technology to anyone that would listen, drawing large capital infusions and attracting A-List people to her Board of Directors. The Board included Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, William Perry, Sam Nunn, and even General James Mattis. The problem was that the technology did not work, and Holmes knew it did not work. Despite that knowledge her and her CEO struck a major deal to deploy the technology in Walgreen stores. They would actually take the blood samples and analyze them with commercial blood analyzers made by other companies. She used that technique with investors, and in handling the volume of analysis required by the Walgreens contract.

How was she able to continue the fraud in the manner that she did? That is a fascinating question, and the answer does not reflect well on American business practices, or on the “elite” reaction to allegations of fraud. The people working for Theranos, especially the technical folks, understood that there were major issues with the technology. When they spoke up they were run out of the company. One of the employees was the grandson of George Schultz, who reported the suspicions he had about the technology to his grandfather. Instead of a receptive audience Tyler Schultz was given the cold shoulder by his grandfather, who accepted the word of Elizabeth Holmes that his grandson was in error, and just a disgruntled employee. This type of thing happened frequently before the sham was exposed, with Holmes exerting her influence, and deploying a strong personality to beat back the “doubters.” She also wielded super-lawyer David Boies, who represented the company, to launch legal assaults on those “doubters” that questioned the technology. The author himself was subjected to a pretty strong legal assault by Boies, causing the brass at the WSJ to want to proceed with caution. Boies is not a man to trifle with, and Holmes used him expertly to cast doubt on the doubters.

This effort manages to mix all of that into a great book that weaves the story together. It is almost unbelievable that it went on so long and ensnared so many people. In his review Bill Gates, who highly recommended the book, called some of the details shared by the author “insane.” In the end it all would have come crashing down at some point but Carreyrou, and those that helped him, deserve a lot of credit for digging into the story, fighting off the real heat that came down, and finally exposing the massive fraud that Theranos became. Elizabeth Holmes is a fascinating story. Without question she had a brilliance to her, and her ability to sell was truly extraordinary. But these talents ended up being used in a way that brought her, in the end, to a massive personal and professional disaster. She is now a defendant, charged with multiple crimes that could bring serious jail time. This book brings us that incredible story, and comes highly recommended.

View all my reviews

A look at the pre-discovery publicity that Elizabeth Holmes received from just about every corner of the media world.

Posted in Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A review of “The Splendid and the Vile”

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the BlitzThe Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an outstanding book Erik Larson has delivered. Could another WWII book bring anything new or interesting? Larson does both with this look at the first year of Churchill’s premiership, showing us in great detail how close to victory Hitler had come, and how the steely resolve of Churchill held things together in the face of unrelenting bad news, and a fierce German bombing campaign against Britain. Larson gives us a look at not just the military, but some of the personal, with some of the Churchill family “issues” covered fairly.

There is no question that Churchill is still revered today, but I do believe that how close Britain was to defeat, as the country stood alone against what appeared to be an unbeatable German military colossus, tends to be forgotten as the years go by. We get to see the devastation of the German air blitz on Britain and London, and how Churchill both coped with, and offered inspiration, in the face of continuing bad news. As Britain stood alone against the onslaught it appeared very likely that the Germans would attempt an invasion, and that potential added to the immense burden on Churchill.

The book gives us a look at Goebbels (the Vile), through his diary, showing him to be both perplexed and outraged by Churchill’s refusal to enter into peace talks with Germany. The Germans, including Hitler, never could settle on a way to deal with the British beyond the bombing campaign. Larson looks at the role of Hermann Goering, the Luftwaffe chief. Goring’s fundamental incompetence, and his reliance on cranks, especially in the intelligence field, was a key factor in the eventual British victory. Much of the German side material has been covered elsewhere, but it is fascinating in the context given by Larson.

Of course Churchill, for all his greatness, could not have won the war alone. We get to look at key members of the Churchill team, including Lord Beaverbrook, a fascinating figure. Churchill recognized that aircraft production would be something that would be critical to keeping Britain in the war, and he designated Beaverbrook as his head of Aircraft Production, a portfolio Churchill created. Beaverbrook was not a “team player” in a bureaucratic sense, but he drove his mission with zeal, ensuring that the British could replace the losses incurred in the Battle of Britain, and stay in the fight. Beaverbrook was a prima donna, but Churchill tolerated the constant threats of resignation, and squeezed the most out of a talented yet eccentric personality. It is, in my view, one of the key elements of Churchill’s greatness. He not only inspired his citizens, but he motivated his team in ways that drove the British forward when the chance of victory seemed non-existent.

Of course we see how much importance Churchill placed on the United States, and how he worked the Roosevelt angle as hard as he could. The U.S. was not quite ready to join the fight, but Churchill was relentless in his pursuit of Roosevelt, recognizing immediately that victory would likely be impossible without the entry of the military and industrial strength of America. Although he did not always meet success in his early endeavors with FDR Churchill had the political foresight to see how the war would play out, and acted accordingly.

The strength in the face of overwhelming odds, the description of the carnage brought on by the German air attacks and the Churchill response, and a close look at Churchill’s family and political circle make this book, for me, an outstanding effort, and well worth a read.

View all my reviews

Posted in Books | Tagged | 1 Comment

Seabrook Capital Spending 8 Year Review

With preparations ongoing for the production of the new Seabrook Capital Plan I have prepared the 8 year review of Seabrook capital spending, which is attached below, with the corresponding tabs. This review shows us where our capital spending has gone, both by department, and by function. Seabrook capital spending has been financed with capital bonds, fund balance, and on a pay/go system through the budget. Importantly both the Budget Committee and the Board of Selectmen have approved the creation of capital reserve accounts, which will help to smooth our capital budgets annually.

Seabrook CIP Spending Eight Year Review 2020

Tabs 2020

Posted in Seabrook | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seabrook Parks and Playgrounds Reopening Phase 2

The Governor’s re-opening task force has issued new guidance on parks and youth sports, which will now allow competitive games to proceed. This guidance has been adopted by the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, and the initial policy, put forward by the Town of Seabrook in conjunction with the initial parks reopening on June 6, has been amended to reflect the new guidance. The amended Seabrook policy, as well as the new guidance from the Governor’s task force, are attached below. In order to schedule games or for any inquiries on the new policy please contact DPW or Recreation.

Seabrook Parks Reopening Policy Phase 2

guidance-amateur-youth-sports phase 2

Posted in Seabrook | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seabrook Parks and Playgrounds Reopen June 6

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen voted to adopt the attached below Parks Reopening Policy, which will reopen Seabrook Parks and Playgrounds on June 6. This reopening of parks and playgrounds is one with restrictions, as proper social distancing must be maintained, and competitive games are still prohibited. The guidance offered by the State of N.H. has been incorporated into the Seabrook policy, and is attached below. To get a copy of the required waiver forms please contact Recreation, and to schedule a practice please contact DPW.

Seabrook Parks Reopening Policy


Posted in Seabrook | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seabrook Town Hall Reopens to Public on June 1

Seabrook Town Hall will reopen to the public on June 1, with restrictions. Town Hall will be opened to the public Monday June 1, Wednesday June 3, and Thursday June 4. Town Hall will be available for transactions Tuesday and Friday in the current manner, utilizing the drop box and appointments. There will be an employee in the lobby to direct the public, and ensure that we do not go over capacity. Seabrook has installed Plexiglas barriers at our service windows, and we have installed a new drop box that can be accessed without leaving your car. That Dropbox is secure, but we will not accept cash via the box. The full reopening protocols are below. If you have any questions please call Town Hall at 603-474-3311 or email wmanzi@seabrooknh.org

Town Hall and Departments Reopening Protocols

Posted in Seabrook | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seabrook Beach Reopens on June 1.

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen voted yesterday, May 28, 2020, to reopen Seabrook Beach on June 1, 2020. The Board took the initial reopening plan and amended it at that meeting. That plan is attached below. The parking regulations remain the same as in the prior plan.

Seabrook Beach Reopening Amended
Posted in Seabrook | Tagged | Leave a comment

The N.H. Regional Beach Reopening Plan

The Town of Seabrook, along with the towns of Hampton, Rye, New Castle, and North Hampton, have agreed to a set of beach reopening protocols that were submitted to the Governor’s Reopening Task Force yesterday. The Task Force received this document on May 21, 2020 and approved it for submission to Governor Sununu for consideration. I would like to thank Senator Tom Sherman as well as the management teams from all the communities for all of the work in building this consensus, as well as Tim Roache from the Rockingham Planning Commission. Our thanks to the Governor’s Office and the Reopening Task Force for all of their hard work on the many difficult issues they are faced with.

It is important to note that this document does not contain any reference to, or support of, the Hampton Beach Reopening Plan call for the closing of Ocean Blvd. in Hampton. The Town of Seabrook’s Board of Selectmen continue to oppose that aspect of the Hampton Plan, and have submitted a letter of opposition to it.

The plan submitted yesterday is attached below.

Regional Beach Plan 5-21-20 Final Draft

Posted in Seabrook | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Seabrook Beach Re-Opening Plan

The Board of Selectmen have outlined the policies that will govern Seabrook Beach upon re-opening. While the plan contains the details there are some issues that require clarification.
1. Seabrook Beach is governed by the Governor’s Emergency Orders.
2. The phase one reopening plan will commence upon a modification of the Governor’s orders, which can only be done by the Governor.
3. The policy goal of the Board, in phase one, of “resident only” usage of the Beach, shall be driven by parking restrictions. There will be no beach sand passes, or ID checks.
4. Parking placards will be suspended for the duration of the 2020 season.
5. Parking on beach streets shall be resident only (resident sticker required)
6. The Board has approved the “on the sand” restrictions outlined in the plan. On the sand restrictions shall be promulgated by the Governor. We have sent the “on the sand” recommendations in the plan to the Governor’s Reopening Task Force.

The full plan is below.

Seabrook Beach Reopening

Posted in Seabrook | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seabrook Town Hall Closed to Public

The COVID-19 outbreak has created severe challenges to our ability to deliver services to the residents of Seabrook. While we are ready to meet this challenge head on it will require changes to our methods and protocols for the immediate future. In consultation with, and at the direction of, the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, Town Hall will be closed to the public beginning on Friday March 19, 2020. The employees of the Town of Seabrook will continue to work, and to serve the residents of Seabrook during this indefinite closure. This change is necessitated by the public health emergency that is bearing down on us now.

I have consulted with our Departments, and we believe that this inconvenience to the public can be mitigated by the utilization of our on-line tools. Since we will have staff on site and working we will be able to answer telephone inquiries and assist residents who may not be familiar with our on-line services. At the end of this memo I will list the phone numbers and web addresses of our departments, as well as the services available through our web portal. We have installed a drop box outside of Town Hall for non-cash payments, or the transmission of necessary documents. We have set up a web page that can be reached through our web site at www.SeabrookNH.info. This page will bring you to the Seabrook web site with additional information for our Town on COVID-19.

Emergency Services. The Police have implemented new protocols for public interaction. The Department is fully staffed, and you can reach the Police Department at 603-474-5200, or on the web at www.seabrookpd.com

Fire. Our Fire Department continues to respond to an escalating set of demands on our ambulance service. Our personnel is “suiting up” with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on calls responding to patients that are symptomatic. We are running short on PPE, a real problem for first responders everywhere. Chief Edwards has been working diligently to restock these critical supplies. Our Fire Department is fully staffed, and can be reached at 603-474-3311. The web site can be reached at https://seabrooknh.info/town-departments/fire/

Our Recreation Department, while working, is closed to the public. While the initial announcement of a two-week closure corresponded to the initial school closure announcement the schools have just extended that time period. Our Recreation facility will follow suit, with a formal announcement next week. Last weekend the custodial staff did a deep clean of the facility, and we are examining the potential of a commercial cleaner being deployed during this period of closure. Meals on Wheels will continue to serve Seabrook residents during this period. Recreation can be reached at 603-474-5746, or on the web at www.seabrookrec.com

Tax Collector. We have had discussion with Tax Collector Michele Knowles and have held lien notices scheduled to go out this week. While more discussion will occur it is likely they will be mailed next week. You can access the online payment system at https://seabrooknh.info/town-departments/tax-collector/ or get assistance by phone at 603-474-9881.

Town Clerk The Town Clerk has one of the busiest offices in the Town. I have discussed the office operation with Clerk Cheryl Bowen, and she feels that her office can properly service the public under a “closed to the public” protocol. That office handles car registrations, voter registrations, dog registrations, That office can be reached at 603-474-3152 and on the web at https://seabrooknh.info/town-departments/town-clerk/

Assessor Assessor Angela Silva will be available at 603-474-2966, and on the web at https://seabrooknh.info/town-departments/assessing/ There are April 15 deadlines for elderly exemptions, veterans tax credits, and several other similar items. Those forms are available on the Assessing website detailed above.

DPW. The DPW has restricted public access to the office, and we will close the transfer station to the public, beginning tomorrow. For private haulers with current access to the transfer station such access will be by appointment only starting on Friday March 20. Mr. Starkey recommends, and I concur, a suspension of Town recycling until further notice. This is based on protection of Town employees from health threats. You can reach the Office for all DPW matters at 603-474-9771, for after hours emergencies at 603-474-5200, on the web at https://seabrooknh.info/town-departments/public-works/ and by email at khueber@seabrooknh.org or lwillwerth@seabrooknh.org

Inspectional. Residents may e-mail any questions or concerns they may have regarding permits, properties, and code to code@seabrooknh.org, Building Inspections will be limited unless absolutely necessary. If any businesses are waiting for health inspections, they will not be penalized.

The Seabrook Library has closed. The Library will be closed to the public from Monday, March 16th through Monday, April 6th. They will continue to monitor email and phone calls. If you have questions please contact the library at ocean@sealib.org or 603-474-2044 or at the web site. DUE DATES Don’t worry about your items you have out.

Welfare Office. The Town Welfare Office is available on the web at https://seabrooknh.info/town-departments/welfare/ and at 603-474-8931. Welfare Officer Bonnie Armentrout is available by email at barmentrout@seabrooknh.org
The Office of the Town Manager is available at 603-474-3252 or via email at wmanzi@seabrooknh.org

SAU 21 Superintendent Lupine and I have spoken over the weekend. The schools have continued to provide lunch to eligible students through the school shutdown, now scheduled for three weeks. That very important effort has information available at https://campussuite-storage.s3.amazonaws.com/prod/1558718/e7fa12dc-6862-11e9-88e9-0a2901a6873e/2067902/ee5ef8e6-67b6-11ea-8ba1-0a8fbccdaa3b/file/Food%20Distribution%20Letter%203-16-2020.pdf
The standard website is available at https://www.sau21.org/

Our businesses have been terribly impacted, with the restaurant industry being devastated. The New Hampshire Employment Security Office can be reached at https://www.nhes.nh.gov/
We stand ready, at the local level, to offer any and all assistance that we are able to provide to our impacted businesses.

Posted in Seabrook, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment