clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Are You the Writer Theranos Is Looking for to Tell Great Stories About Theranos?

We've provided some samples.

Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty

Do you have a “strong knowledge of Microsoft Word?” Can you demonstrate “a high level of initiative and ability to function superbly?”

If so, check out this open “writer” job on the website of Theranos, the scandal-ridden biotechnology startup that may or may not have hidden its blood-testing machines from federal inspectors.

The job listing says that the “writer” position, which appears to be a copywriting gig, has three core responsibilities. Chief among them, job candidates are asked to “innovate and conceptually solve problems through the power of excellent storytelling.” Though it’s unclear what “conceptual problem solving” is, presumably one problem being solved involves all the critical things that have been written about Theranos in the last few months.

So how do you spin a devastating Wall Street Journal story into a positive? Well, perhaps where others see a company that flagrantly defies regulation and inspection, you see an agent for disruption that is beset on all sides by haters and blood-testing incumbents.

The position is listed in Palo Alto, Calif., and you need to have a “bachelor’s degree from a top tier university,” so any state school graduates (we’re looking at you, Berkeley) need not apply.

If you think you’re up for the challenge, here’s a list of several different damning passages from a number of articles over the past few months. We’ve spun them to tell excellent stories about and present fresh defenses of Theranos. No, I am not applying for the job.

“Theranos’ proprietary tech wasn’t vetted by federal inspectors for two years.” — The Verge*

“Theranos, the Silicon Valley blood testing company, launched its first blood-sampling center at the end of 2013. But for most of the two years that followed, federal officials didn’t inspect Theranos’ inventions at all, The Verge has learned.”

It speaks to Theranos’ integrity, as a fast-moving company aiming to disrupt health care, that regulators couldn’t catch up to us for two years. It is also a testament to our good behavior as a corporate citizen, and regulatory trust in our groundbreaking innovations and inventions. Yes, they had our phone number.

“Theranos continues to dodge opportunities to validate its inventions.” — The Verge

“It’s unclear if the deficiencies identified by CMS inspectors are related to Theranos’ inventions or to the machines that Theranos bought from other manufacturers. But if Theranos’ inventions or proprietary tests are to blame, the fact that the startup has repeatedly dodged opportunities to validate its inventions may put the company in even hotter waters.”

Let’s be frank: These allegations are untrue. We haven’t “repeatedly dodged opportunities to validate” our inventions. While it’s possible that Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspectors didn’t see what we use to test patients’ blood, it’s not our fault their eyes weren’t open.

“Theranos doesn’t want its tech compared to other machines — except when it’s convenient.” — The Verge

“Using [the lab development test] loophole means that the company hasn’t had to provide the FDA with data that shows its tests work before marketing the tests to consumers. Nor did it follow the typical protocol for academic labs that use this system; Theranos hasn’t published its data.”

“Not following protocol?” How do you follow “protocol” when you’re inventing the future? No one else is doing what we’re doing. How about haters recognize that innovators don’t color within the lines. It’s spontaneous, like improv comedy and some varieties of slam poetry.

“Hot Startup Theranos Has Struggled With Its Blood-Test Technology.” — The Wall Street Journal

“At the end of 2014, the lab instrument developed as the linchpin of its strategy handled just a small fraction of the tests then sold to consumers, according to four former employees.”

When we are children, we are taught that too much of a good thing can actually be bad. Science and startups are like that sometimes, too. If you give too many people a good thing, then it’s bad.

“Deficiencies Found at Theranos Lab.” — The Wall Street Journal

“Failing to fix the problems could put the Theranos lab at risk of suspension from the Medicare program.”

Innovation is not for everyone.

* The Verge is owned by Vox Media, which also owns this website.

This article originally appeared on