Intro for June 10, 2016
Deadline reported yesterday that Jennifer Lawrence will star in Adam McKay’s upcoming film about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes was basically the Jennifer Lawrence of Silicon Valley after inventing what she claimed to be a revolutionary blood testing system. Instead of submitting full vials of blood for limited testing, her product promised more efficiency and quicker results with just a pinprick. You can imagine how that would change the health care industry.
Last year, The Wall Street Journal investigated the viability of Theranos’s business plan, exposing major problems in the company’s infrastructure. Elizabeth Holmes went from being called the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, the millennial in a turtleneck, to a possible fraud. It’s a fascinating story. On so many levels. And there’s a celebrity similarity here too, which I only appreciated after reading Vanity Fair’s piece on the Theranos situation last month. This paragraph in particular, about the Silicon Valley tech press:
The system here has been molded to effectively prevent reporters from asking tough questions. It’s a game of access, and if you don’t play it carefully, you may pay sorely. Outlets that write negatively about gadgets often don’t get pre-release versions of the next gadget. Writers who ask probing questions may not get to interview the C.E.O. next time he or she is doing the rounds. If you comply with these rules, you’re rewarded with page views and praise in the tech blogosphere. And then there’s the fact that many of these tech outlets rely so heavily on tech conferences. “If you look at most tech publications, they have major conferences as their revenue,”Jason Calacanis, the blogger and founder of Weblogs, told me. “If you hit too hard, you lose keynotes, ticket buyers, and support in the tech space.”
That’s pretty much how it works in Hollywood too. The celebrity ecosystem is structured so that reporters don’t press. Because otherwise, you won’t be invited to the next junket, they won’t stop for you on the red carpet, and so on and exactly. How many layers of meta will it be if and when this movie comes out and all the reporters are given “do not ask” instructions?
Have a great weekend!
Yours in gossip,
Samir Hussein/ Julian Parker/ Getty Images