Word

A recent letter to the WSJ in response to a Theranos story:

I am a former biotech analyst. Several years ago, the chairman of a client company told me he had seen an interview with Elizabeth Holmes and thought she was terrific and his company would be interested in working with her. He wanted to know what I thought.

Here is what I did: I went to the Theranos website and looked at the management and board of directors. I immediately noticed two red flags: First, the lack of relevant experience in the CEO’s bio, and second, the board appeared to be decorated with famous names unrelated to Theranos’s business.

Next, I called the company and introduced myself to the person who answered the phone. I explained the reason for my call and that I would like to speak to Ms. Holmes or leave her a message. I was told that there was no mechanism by which I could do that or anyone else with whom I could speak. Red flag No. 3.

It took me 10 minutes and cost my client zero dollars. Any life-sciences analyst would have done exactly the same thing and undoubtedly reached a similar conclusion. No rocket science here. So pardon my skepticism at senior members of corporations testifying as to how much money they spent on due diligence. Perhaps it’s time for their shareholders to make a change.

Elizabeth Silverman

Prism Biomedical Research

New York

 

 

More Old Stuff

Paul Revere and The Raiders wore Minutemen uniforms, acted silly (a requirement following A Hard Day’s Night and Help), had a teen idol in singer Mark Lindsey, and perhaps suffered overexposure as the house band on the weekly pop music TV show, Happening ’68.  Earlier they were regulars on Dick Clark’s Where The Action Is, so they were all over television for a couple of years.  All that made them easy to dismiss later as tastes changed and bands were expected to dress more like hippies and act more seriously, or at least like they were on harder drugs.  That’s too bad.  They were a great band, and the proof is in the grooves. There’s the Stonesy song posted above.  Just Like Me ,  Steppin’ Out, and Hungry are among the best 60’s garage-rock songs.  Good Thing gets more sophisticated with the Beach Boys vocal bit in the bridge, but the blistering instrumental track takes no prisoners.  They earned their chops grinding it out in the Pacific Northwest club and teen-dance circuit, and you can hear it in Good Thing (no doubt some Raiders songs employed the Wrecking Crew, but this one sounds too unhinged to be the WC).  Kicks features an unforgettable twelve-string riff, and its chorus is a textbook on how to write and produce a simple, effective hook.  There’s nothing extraneous in that chorus, it just pounds in the hook.  It also pulls the amazing stunt of being a cool anti-drug song.  Does another even exist?

The Raiders ended up sort of like Max Baer post Beverly Hillbillies: once Jethro, always Jethro.  They did manage one hit with a new beards-and-blue-jeans look, but it wasn’t any good (it’s called Indian Reservation, if you really must). Just how the ball bounces.  This decade’s stars, next decade’s has-beens.

Speaking of Singing Families…

I’ll one-up the Osmonds with the Cowsills, who could be very good.  The real-life inspiration for the Partridge Family series (and the Osmonds too, I’d guess), they were dismissed as bubble-gum by those who would be cool.  And they were sometimes bubble-gum, but they could also do what I’d consider advanced baroque pop as well as anyone.  No time to hunt down the hidden gems on YouTube today, but they had some very good songs (and plenty of cheese) in addition to their hits.  Below is a live-TV version of their first big hit, preceded by the studio version for reference.   Note how well they nail their vocal harmonies live.  It’s a pretty amazing feat.

Teenage Jesus

So where was Jesus between stunning the temple elders at age 12 and getting baptized at age 30?  Just being the typical lost young boomer, turns out.

Subverting Expectations Is Tight

Thanks for the heads-up on this guy, Monkeystador. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV dramas of all time, and fans were pumped to see what the creators had in store for its final season. However after a few episodes, GoT fans started to have some questions about the way D.B. Weiss and David Benioff were wrapping up their favorite show. Like what’s up with Daenerys becoming pure evil so quickly? Why isn’t anyone talking about Jon being the rightful heir to the throne? Was that really the end of the Night King? Are scorpions more powerful, or are dragons?

To answer all these questions and more, step inside the pitch meeting that led to Game of Thrones Season 8! It’s super easy, barely an inconvenience!

FRIDAY BONUS:

Every Marvel pitch meeting in order of MCU Timeline, because you aren’t actually going to work today, are you?