Many people follow the basic plan of going through the school system and then either take an internship which may lead to a good job with a solid corporate path upward or otherwise land a good foothold into promising career to provide them with a very comfortable income for living what has come to be considered the American Dream. Then there are those very gifted few who seem to catch a spark that eludes the masses and they alter life as we know it.
I remember reading with awe about such people as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and more currently Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame. One of the things that they have in common is that they all dropped out of college, and not your average state schools, but expensive private universities and they are all from the bay area in California.
This past week while scanning documents into electronic client files I was amazed to find an article about another one of those rare individuals, this one a young lady named Elizabeth Holmes, also a drop out from the prestigious Stanford University, who at age 19 with her parents’ blessing and the remainder of her college funds and the encouragement of Stanford’s Professor Channing Robertson to just do it, she established a company named Theranos, and is shaking up the healthcare diagnostic industry with a new method of blood test requiring a mere pinprick of blood, not an entire tube of blood. One of her products is a wearable patch that can radio your doctor what is going on in your blood in real time.
The board of Theranos has not only former Secretaries of State, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger, but Larry Ellison of Oracle and others who saw in Ms. Holmes the genuine article and at age 31 she is CEO of a nine billion dollar company.
Ms. Holmes has begun working with Walgreen Drug store chain to bring this new technology which will cut the cost of blood testing down to a quarter of its current rate and will really bring healthcare into the lives of people who are otherwise not getting the care they need. So far only Walgreen stores in Palo Alto and Phoenix have the working wellness facilities but these are expected to expand to be available in the entire chain.
Certainly not every college dropout who may meander through the hills of California will be of this caliber, Ms. Holmes has a family history of humanitarian service going all the way back to her great great grandfather, Christian Holmes the first, an inventor and surgeon, down to her own father, Christian Holmes IV, whose endeavors include disaster relief in Africa and developmental projects in China and environmental work in this country.
With a mix of astonishment and respect I am thankful for the strides forward such people as Elizabeth Holmes takes all of us to a better quality of life.