Theranos’ downfall, new European online privacy rules, and Elon Musk vs. the media.

Theranos Is a Symptom of Deeper Problems in Silicon Valley, Says the Reporter Who Exposed It

Theranos Is a Symptom of Deeper Problems in Silicon Valley, Says the Reporter Who Exposed It

Decoding the Logic of Silicon Valley
May 30 2018 5:00 PM

How Theranos Happened

The blood-testing startup’s scandal is a symptom of deeper problems in Silicon Valley, says the WSJ reporter who exposed it.


Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about GDPR, Europe’s sweeping new online-privacy legislation that took effect on Friday. They explain why it triggered an avalanche of emails to your inbox and what it means for the tech industry.


The hosts are joined by John Carreyrou, a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal. His new book, Bad Blood, chronicles his investigation into Theranos, the now-disgraced blood-testing startup, which sold faulty machines that may have put patients’ lives in danger. Carreyrou fills in some fascinating details in this bizarre story and reflects on what it tells us about Silicon Valley—and whether it could happen again.

On “Tabs” this week, Will digs into Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s attacks on the media and his idea to fix journalism by rating the credibility of individual journalists. April discusses the New York Times story about how Googlers’ quest to help stray cats has gone awry.

Stories discussed on the show:


Don’t Close My Tabs

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.