Wednesday, June 15, 2016

They Should Have Known Better

Elizabeth Holmes had a dream that a small drop of blood could replace test tube(s) worth of blood used to run a range of blood tests. She dropped out of Stanford to pursue that dream, the story goes, to help others like her with a deathly fear of drawing blood.
Image result for elizabeth holmes
The problem was that a dream is not the same as a reality and there never was real evidence that the technology existed, only evidence that the dream existed.
As has been well documented,  she was able to find backers and prominent leaders to join her board, mostly older men either outside the health care field or not currently practicing.
They should have known better.
That includes Walgreens - too anxious to close the deal. FOMO!
Google and others knew better than to invest. In interviews with Holmes,  the Google folks were never presented the evidence they needed to believe that the technology would work.
Reminds us a little of this man.
Source: Wikipedia
Some individuals and organizations knew better about Madoff all along. The high investment returns year after year could not be legitimate in the real world. That is not scientific proof, but by inference it was clear that the only way such returns were possible was in a Ponzi scheme or front running. It turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. Many organizations steered their clients away from Madoff. Other advisors said they did not know how he achieved those returns. No legitimate investment advisor could actively recommend Madoff because no legitimate investment advisor had any idea what Madoff was doing that could be legitimate.
In order to avoid dangerous situations, we do not need proof. We only need enough information to convince ourselves by inference that something is not right. To be convinced by claims of a breakthrough technology, we need substance - evidence, not happy talk and a black turtleneck, even with the confident speech with the appropriate hand gestures and head tilt.

More than anything else, this blog is about making inferences from a limited set of data on the statements and actions of individuals and groups, especially, but not exclusively in the political arena. We then observe whether the political commentators appropriately consider these arguments or whether they instead are sidetracked by the claims made by the political actors. We find the objective press custom of addressing statements or actions of one side of the aisle by asking the other side of the aisle what they think to be an inadequate response to events. We also find the objective press practice of reporting on the actions of one side of the aisle based on statements by that side (the first half of the "he said/she said" reporting process) almost at face value instead of directly reporting what those actions represent to be inadequate and therefore inaccurate reporting. The voter suppression efforts of Republicans throughout the country are an example of this.

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