Image: Getty

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is having a hard year. After a Wall Street Journal report exposed her company’s innovative blood tests as faulty last October, the once beloved CEO—who proudly dons a black turtleneck like her idol Steve Jobs—has been banned from operating a lab for two years, lost her fortune, and faces multiple lawsuits.

But before it all came crashing down, Holmes herself was an inspirational speaker, a beacon of hope for women trying to make it in tech. She dropped out of Stanford to found Theranos at 19, becoming the world’s youngest billionaire at 31.

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Now more than ever, Holmes should take some of her own advice. We went digging to find some of her best nuggets of wisdom from before the collapse of her company. You’re welcome.

“When you have that passion, you will get back up when you get knocked down.”

In this video put together by YouTuber Evan Carmichael, Holmes offers up the following inspirational words:

  • “There’s nothing like rolling your sleeves up and failing a bunch of times before you figure out how to do it right.”
  • “The minute you have a backup plan you’ve admitted you’re not going to succeed.”
  • “You have to believe in yourself.”
  • “Big waves come and they go, but you’re there for a reason.”

“Being a leader is achieved through stoicism, discipline and sacrifice.”

Here’s some more guidance from the once-lauded tech prodigy:

  • “I just made a decision that I was going to figure out how to make it work.”
  • “It may take a lot longer than you think, but it’s about keeping that conviction in yourself.”
  • “The profoundness of our callings lie in how different they are for every single one of us.”

“Make sure that what you’re doing is something you love... And if you got fired, you would still want to do it.”

She continues: “And if you weren’t CEO you would still want to do it because when you have that passion, you will get back up when you get knocked down.”

“What matters is how well we do in trying to make people’s lives better.”

Holmes grants us this haunting reminder: “Every time you create something new, there should be questions and to me, that’s a sign that you’ve actually done something.”

“We can’t engage the individual in changing outcomes unless individuals have access to the information they need to do so.”


Holmes’ TED Talk also provides gems that foretold so much:

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  • “We see a world...in which no one ever has to say, ‘If only I’d known sooner,’ a world in which no one ever has to say goodbye too soon.”
  • “Engagement comes with knowledge, and knowledge comes with access.”
  • “We see a world in which every person knows what a test they’re paying for is going to cost them before they get [it] done.”

“If you understand that early that you’re at risk, there’s a lot more you can do about it.”


Elizabeth, your former self believes you can still prevail. Now you just have to prove that to the rest of the world.