In leaked private notes, Elizabeth Holmes wrote about "becoming Steve Jobs" and having "nothing to hide" when Theranos' testing issues were exposed

In leaked private notes, Elizabeth Holmes wrote about "becoming Steve Jobs" and having "nothing to hide" when Theranos' testing issues were exposed
Elizabeth Holmes speaks on stage during the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 on September 29, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images) JP Yim/Getty
  • Elizabeth Holmes reportedly wrote personal notes about things like "becoming Steve Jobs."
  • The message is one of many of the Theranos founder's notes to herself that CNBC obtained.
  • Around the time Theranos' testing issues came to light, Holmes wrote, "Doesn't shake my confidence."

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was once hailed as the next Steve Jobs by investors, the news media, and apparently herself.

Newly leaked messages reveal she once wrote a note to herself about "becoming Steve Jobs." CNBC obtained and published several messages on Wednesday that Holmes wrote to herself throughout 2015, including that one.

Holmes has taken many a page from the Jobs playbook over the years. She had dubbed Theranos' blood-testing systems "the iPod of healthcare" and borrowed some of Jobs' management techniques that were laid out in Walter Isaacson's biography of him, according to "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup."

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

Perhaps most notably, Holmes frequently donned a black turtleneck in Jobs' signature style.

Holmes made the note about Jobs in April 2015, CNBC reports, along with a note about Theranos that says, "Started - vision - change world. Access to healthcare. Bring down cost. Up efficiency. Min pain."


At one point, she also jotted down, "Fudge it - if don't understand - want clarified - stop - explore - reserve done - may get to it."

Several months later, a Wall Street Journal investigation exposed problems with Theranos' blood-testing technology.

Two weeks after reporter John Carreyrou published the exposé, Holmes noted, "Point by point refutation statements" and "Fearless transparent nothing to hide," according to CNBC.

She went on to write, seemingly in response to the article, "Weak accusations - endorses everything - happened - if - true - raise doubt - want - board looks into it - finds nothing to any of it - looked into it - have not looked at it independently." Later in the same message, Holmes noted that the investigation "doesn't shake my confidence," adding, "Business judgement correct at the time."

Besides the notes to herself, CNBC also recently obtained hundreds of pages of messages between Holmes and Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, who is her ex-boyfriend and former COO and president of Theranos. In one of the messages, Holmes wrote, "Total confidence in myself best business person of the year." Earlier this month, prosecutors released several pages of texts between Holmes and Balwani, which included messages like "You are breeze in desert for me. My water. And ocean."


Holmes, whose federal trial is in its fourth week, and Balwani each face 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The Department of Justice alleges that they schemed to defraud investors, patients, and doctors by making deceptive claims about the finances and technology of the now-defunct startup. Both Holmes and Balwani have pleaded not guilty.

Balwani's trial will begin in January.