Radio Silence

According to the S-1 Livongo filed before going public; “Our mission is to empower people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives.” The mission statement says nothing about how in the pursuit of this empowerment the company plans to take care of their stakeholders, many of whom that invested millions to advance this empowerment kick.

Yes, we know that West Coast Mafia and their ilk just love this empowerment stuff but in reality this is something that is really nothing more than an old idea put in a shiny new box. Yes, the Mafia and their ilk just love stories like Livongo most of which are all sizzle but no steak. Most of these companies fizzle out because the Mafia and their ilk seem to have forgotten diabetes is not just a chronic disease but a business. This is really not news and something we have known for some time.

Looked at as a business Livongo isn’t doing all that well, as publicly traded company they have nothing but a disaster. In their quest for patient empowerment Livongo has proved two things. They are very talented at losing money and destroying shareholder value. After losing over 8% yesterday shares of Livongo have now fallen almost 60% since the IPO. The company has erased nearly $3 Billion off  their market cap with no end in sight.

So what is the company doing while they continue to lose millions and destroy shareholder value? Is Glen Tullman the company’s CEO out reassuring the company’s stakeholders that everything is ok? That they shouldn’t be concerned their investment continues to shrink in value? That he has a plan that will turn things around? Is the executive team rallying behind the company telling the public not to worry?

Nope instead of reassuring investors that Livongo is solid and this is just a temporary setback, Mr. Tullman is doing what he does best he’s at yet another conference talking about digital health. Today he’s in the Big Apple for a fireside chat at the Future of Health conference. Next week he’ll be in Berlin at the G4A Changing the Experience of Health conference for yet another fireside chat. Now when you think about Glen doing all these fireside chats is like Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burned to the ground.

Perhaps Glen and his executive team who also has fondness for speaking at conferences should shut their mouths and start running the company. Perhaps he should gather this team together and figure out a way to stop losing money while at the same time destroying shareholder value. Maybe just maybe he should do what he’s supposed to do and run the damn business for the benefit of the people who own the business, Livongo’s shareholders. Perhaps he should actually accomplish something before hitting the show circuit and shooting his mouth off.

One just might think that company’s Board of Directors would have a fireside chat with Glen and explain to him that he’s not getting paid to make speeches or do more fireside chats. That his job is to run the business to make money and create not destroy shareholder value. This radio silence by the Board shows one of two things neither of which are good. Either they are clueless to what’s going on or they mere puppets for Glen. Their lack of action makes them complicit in what so far anyway has been a complete bust.

Unfortunately we have all seen this movie before. There was once a company that was supposedly innovative and was set to change the world. They raised billions, had a distinguished Board of Directors and a CEO who like Glen had a fondness for the spotlight. Just as the street fell in love with Livongo they also feel in love here too. Only problem was they really weren’t innovative at all and once exposed for the fraud they were feel from grace never to be seen or heard from again.

So the question is Glen Tullman playing the role of Elizabeth Holmes the disgraced CEO of the scam known as Theranos. As we have noted before we have no hard evidence that Livongo is a scam or that there is some type of fraud taking place. However given the continued radio silence from the company, the continued destruction of its value at such a rapid and unprecedented rate makes us wonder. As we noted before when all the logical explanations are thrown out the window it’s time to start considering the illogical even improbable explanations.

Remember Theranos was riding high when rumors started to surface that there was no there there. Theranos did not collapse overnight and it wasn’t until a whistleblower blew the whistle that this house of cards came tumbling down.

Again let’s be clear here we have no hard evidence that Livongo is a scam or that any sort of shenanigans are going on. However with no other information to go on and looking at all the possible logical explanations which don’t fit this rapid decline we have to consider every possible reason even what seems crazy and improbable.

The company’s continued radio silence only adds more fuel to this fire. Welcome to the Livongo Limbo.