WASHINGTON – While the marvelous “American Innovation Machine” is not moving ahead as fast as it used to, luckily for us it is still alive. Reading Forbes magazine, the chronicler of American capitalism and enterprise, I recently saw a very interesting piece.
It is a short but compelling profile of the youngest female self-made billionaire. (Bloody Amazing, July 21, 2014). Elizabeth Holmes is only 30; but her company, Theranos, has been valued at $ 9 billion, and she own 50% of the stock.
So, there you go: 30 years old and worth $ 4.5 billion. “Only in America”, as we used to say.
New blood testing technology
And what did Elizabeth Holmes come up with? Something really remarkable. She developed a disruptive technology that allows medical facilities to easily conduct blood tests using only drops of blood drawn from patients. Theranos blood testing technologies are now available at 21 Walgreen’s clinics.
What this means is that tests that normally require relatively large amounts of blood, plus complex machinery and facilities with lots of personnel, now can be conducted by drawing minimal amounts of blood from patients. The whole non invasive procedure can be completed at easy to reach facilities located within drug stores.
This means lower costs and less complexity for all: patients, lab technicians and doctors who ultimately use the test results to have a diagnosis on the patient’s conditions.
Innovation and its reward
There you go: Elizabeth Holmes conceived and developed a novel way to deliver at a lower cost, with minimal disruption, routine medical services used by millions, every day. Great idea.
And this is good news for America. It would appear that the US economic eco-system, notwithstanding its shortness of breath, and in spite of all the stupid, cumbersome regulations and our byzantine tax system, can still provide enough encouragement for people like Elizabeth Holmes to think something new and try to make it happen.
Her newly created substantial personal wealth is the reward for her creativity, and for her courage in pursuing her goals.
More like her
I really hope that there are many others out there, just like her. Undaunted young entrepreneurs, men and women, willing to think outside the box, and with enough guts to develop and bring to market their amazing new technologies.
It is because of people like Elizabeth Holmes and her peers that America managed to become prosperous, while generating new devices that benefit our quality of life.
Attracting talented people
Despite the current stagnation, let’s hope that we can keep the “American Innovation Machine” running. This is by far the best thing we have got. And it is the main reason why talented people from all over the world still want to come to America.