Alex Gibney’s Theranos Scandal Documentary


In Silicon Valley, where “fake it till you make it” is a mantra, Elizabeth Holmes stood out. Theranos, the company she founded, drew the support and accolades of investors and senior statesmen alike – that is until a Wall Street Journal reporter’s prying questions spelled the beginning of the end. What originally looked like a revolutionary technology in blood sampling quickly became a scandal that swept the nation.

Today we are joined by award-winning business and tech broadcaster, and host of the Gender Knot, Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, as we explore the Theranos saga through the lens of Alex Gibney’s The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019).

We discuss how this fraud was able to happen and to what extent the culture of Silicon
Valley is to blame.

A fantastically made documentary about a dangerous company, it makes us question yet again the cult of charismatic leaders.

“That’s the beauty of America that if you’ve got a big idea you’re not necessarily going to be laughed at. She kept referencing a Thomas Edison quote, that if you fail ten thousand times, that’s so you get it right the ten thousand and first time.” – Nastaran Tavakoli-Far

Time Stamps:

01:37 – The film we’re going to be looking at today.
02:08 – Why Nas chose this film.
03:28 – The story of Theranos.
06:11 – Whether Elizabeth was setting out to commit fraud from the beginning.
07:15 – The negative aspects of Silicon Valley culture.
10:09 – The different ways journalists covered the story.
14:25 – Analysing the John Carreyrou clip, and how he was able to see through the fraud.
15:57 – The danger to people’s lives.
18:11 – Elizabeth’s past and what drove her to start Theranos.
19:22 – Why the documentary is so gripping and successful.
25:05 – The way the documentary is edited and presented.
28:58 – How her femininity influenced people to believe her and accept her.  
29:44 – Why this could only happen in America.
32:57 – The reasons no one spotted her earlier on.
37:36 – All of the people that were involved with Elizabeth.
39:05 – Nas’s impressions of America when she was younger.
41:08 – What Nas’s impressions of America are now.


The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
The Gender Knot
Alamo Pictures 

Connect with Factual America:

Connect with Nastaran Tavakoli-Far:

Connect with Matthew Sherwood:

Join the discussion

More from this show


Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know the news.

Episode 3
Send this to a friend