Elizabeth Holmes was so obsessed with Steve Jobs she wanted an Apple flag flown half-mast at Theranos after he died: book

elizabeth holmes was so obsessed with steve jobs she wanted an apple flag flown half-mast at theranos after he died: book

Elizabeth Holmes and the late Steve Jobs. Mike Blake, Kimberly White/Reuters

  • Elizabeth Holmes wanted an Apple flag flown at half-mast after Steve Jobs died, per “Bad Blood.”
  • According to John Carreyrou’s book, an employee couldn’t find a flag to buy so he had one made. 
  • The book highlights the many ways Holmes, who’s now in prison, tried to emulate Jobs. 

Elizabeth Holmes ordered a specially made Apple flag to be flown at half-mast at Theranos’ headquarters after Steve Jobs died, according to a book.

John Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” says that Holmes and Sunny Balwani, the Theranos COO and her boyfriend, wanted to pay tribute to the Apple cofounder after he died in October 2011.

According to “Bad Blood,” they wanted to fly an Apple flag at half-mast in the grounds of the Theranos building in Palo Alto.

A Theranos employee volunteered to try to find an Apple flag to buy but couldn’t find one. Instead he went to a store to have one made, with the Apple logo in white on a black background – a task that took several hours, per the book.

“In the meantime, work at the company came to a standstill as Elizabeth and Sunny moped around the office, consumed by the hunt for the Apple flag,” wrote Carreyrou, who first exposed Theranos’s faulty blood testing kits in reporting for The Wall Street Journal in 2015.

The episode is one of several examples of Holmes’ reverence for the Apple cofounder, whom she tried to emulate while heading a company that briefly reached a $9 billion valuation.

This included both hat tips to Apple, like labelling her blood testing kits as “the iPod of healthcare,” and more overt behavior such as wearing black turtleneck sweaters like Jobs did.

Holmes was often hailed as the next Steve Jobs, a comparison she was happy to embrace, before Theranos eventually collapsed and she was convicted on four fraud counts.

Private notes obtained by CNBC show Holmes would write to herself about “becoming” Jobs and also aped his management techniques outlined in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs.

According to “Bad Blood,” Theranos employees could pinpoint which chapter of the book Holmes was up to based on the period of Jobs’ career she appeared to be imitating.

She began serving an 11-year sentence at a Texas prison camp on May 30 after being found guilty of four of 11 fraud charges linked to Theranos’ faulty blood testing kits. Balwani was found guilty on four counts and began serving his sentence in April.

According to a restitution order, Holmes and Balwani were ordered to pay $125 million to Rupert Murdoch, and $40 million to Walgreens, among other Theranos investors.

Lawyers for Holmes and Balwani didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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