Elizabeth Holmes' last months at Theranos: a "long, labored, highly visible, and heinous corporate death march"

Elizabeth Holmes, the "millennial Madoff" who built a $9 startup on a non-existent technology, gets her vanities tossed into a bonfire by Vanity Fair's Nick Bilton:

Holmes had always enjoyed a certain lifestyle. From the early days of the company, she had insisted on flying in a private jet. As the company’s legal problems mounted, its costs skyrocketed, but Holmes had a hard time weaning herself off certain luxuries. She still had her own personal security detail, drivers, personal assistants, and a personal publicist who was on retainer for $25,000 a month, according to one of the former executives. Theranos had an indemnity agreement with Holmes and Sunny Balwani, the company’s C.O.O., with whom she had been romantically involved. (They are no longer dating.) Theranos paid all their legal bills, which totaled millions of dollars a month, according to both executives.

By late 2017, however, Holmes had begun to slightly rein in the spending. She agreed to give up her private-jet travel (not a good look) and instead downgraded to first class on commercial airlines. But given that she was flying all over the world trying to obtain more funding for Theranos, she was spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on travel. Theranos was also still paying for her mansion in Los Altos, and her team of personal assistants and drivers, who would become regular dog walkers for Balto.

But there were few places she had wasted so much money as the design and monthly cost of the company’s main headquarters, which employees simply referred to as “1701,” for its street address along Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. 1701, according to two former executives, cost $1 million a month to rent. Holmes had also spent $100,000 on a single conference table. Elsewhere in the building, Holmes had asked for another circular conference room that the former employees said “looked like the war room from Dr. Strangelove,” replete with curved glass windows, and screens that would come out of the ceiling so everyone in the room could see a presentation without having to turn their heads.

Image: By Glenn Fawcett - Cropped version of from https://www.dvidshub.net/image/911248, Public Domain, Link