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Will Elizabeth Holmes Saga Change Silicon Valley?

That's unlikely for a culture built on the ideas of think huge, break things, and fake it ‘til you make it. But Holmes may well see jail time.
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As the world (well at least some of the world anyway) now awaits the Sept. 26 sentencing of disgraced former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, the question arises of what the long-term implications will be for Silicon Valley.

It’s hard to imagine there will be many. Entrepreneurs are likely to dot their “i”s and cross their “t”s a bit more. But it’s difficult to imagine that a culture built on the ideas of think huge, break things, and fake it ‘til you make it will suddenly change.

"It's baked into the culture" Margaret O'Mara, author of “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America,” told BBC. "If you are a young start-up in development, with a barely existent product, a certain amount of swagger and hustle is expected and encouraged."

Prominent venture capitalist Tim Draper, one of Theranos’ first investors, implied in a documentary film about the company that it’s venture capital firms’ job basically to fund anyone with big dreams and a good story.

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Another prominent venture capitalist, Roger McNamee, sees it more darkly. "Theranos was an early warning of a cultural shift in Silicon Valley that has allowed promoters and scoundrels to prosper," he told BBC.

As for Holmes, she faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison for her conviction on four counts of fraud. Legal experts expect a sentence much shorter than that. But many do expect her to spend some time in the Big House.

"I would be utterly shocked if she wasn't sentenced to some term of imprisonment," Amanda Kramer, a former federal prosecutor who now practices as a white-collar defense lawyer, told NPR.

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