What Counts? The Performance


What Counts? The Performance

This edition of “actions speak louder than words,” the trillionth, is brought to you by Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos infamy, Samuel Bankman-Fried of FTX infamy and the New York Philharmonic.

Holmes promised that her invention would revolutionize blood testing. She lied. Bankman-Fried promised that his cryptocurrency exchange would revolutionize finance. He lied.

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Holmes has now been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for fraud. Bankman-Fried’s FTX has declared bankruptcy and the Securities & Exchange Commission and Justice Department are reportedly investigating the company’s collapse. And John Ray III, the new CEO of FTX, said he had never seen “such a complete failure of corporate controls.” For perspective’s sake, it helps to know that Ray oversaw the bankruptcy of Enron.

Before the spectacular downfalls of Holmes and Bankman-Fried, however, they were media darlings, which even Bankman-Fried acknowledged earlier this month: “I was on the cover of every magazine, and FTX was the darling of Silicon Valley.” 

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported last week that women players now outnumber the men, 45-44, at the New York Philharmonic, one of the world’s greatest orchestras. The shift was a long time coming, but it was accelerated by an innovation that was implemented in the 1970s: The orchestra began holding blind auditions, the musicians playing behind screens so only their performances could be judged. We wonder how many great musicians never got to share their gifts because they were not judged on how they actually performed.

Words are glorious and powerful. After all, Arkansas Business is dedicated to writing the truest words we can about business matters. But what people and companies actually do is the best indicator of their worth.

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