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How Elizabeth Holmes Won by Playing the Long Game

How Elizabeth Holmes Billion Dollar Drug Company Theranos Won by Playing the Long Game Inc com


To get there, Holmes has taken the road less traveled, and what an exceptionally long road that is. She's already spent a third of her life building an organization that is still in its early days. From its inception in 2003, she operated Theranos in stealth mode, bringing it out into the light only a year and a half ago. She thinks another 20 years is a reasonable time frame for her company to impact the masses worldwide. In many ways, she is the opposite of a serial entrepreneur. She's a devoutly monogamous entrepreneur: For better or worse, in sickness and in health, she sees herself as having only one existential purpose. "You're talking to someone who wants to do this her whole lifetime," she says.


Holmes is willing to contemplate failure, but only in the scientific sense. She named one of Theranos's internal projects Edison, as a reminder of the virtue of staying the course: When the inventor was asked why, after thousands of attempts, he hadn't managed to make a light bulb ready for commercial use, he replied that he had in fact made significant progress--he now knew thousands of ways not to make a light bulb. In Holmes's view, being prepared to face failure 1,000 times is simply what is required to finally get it right the 1,001st. And she has no intention of doing anything else, ever.

Stashed in: Awesome, Medicine, XX, Risk, Extraordinary People, Theranos, Women in Tech

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Many of us strive in the hopes of eventually finding success. 

Few of us are willing to fail as often as she's willing.