Elizabeth Holmes swaps magazine covers for minimum security Texan prison

Planet Business: Summer blockbusters, the man behind Nvidia and how people use technology on holiday

Image of the week: Holmes behind bars

Eight years after Forbes magazine said she was a new billionaire worth $4.5 billion (€4.2 billion) and crowned her the richest self-made woman in the United States, Elizabeth Holmes this week reported to prison.

Convicted last year for defrauding investors at her failed blood-testing start-up Theranos, Holmes (39) was seen smiling as she entered the federal women’s prison in Texas to begin an 11-year, three-month sentence widely regarded as a “message” to other Silicon Valley types who bend the truth in the pursuit of wealth.

Inmates in Holmes’s new minimum-security home are required to work in the cafeteria or in a manufacturing facility for pay of $1.15 an hour, the New York Times reported, quoting a prison handbook that says it tries “to help our ladies obtain work in the factory which focuses on their strengths so they may develop additional marketable skills”.

The once highly marketable Holmes – who these days is marketing herself as a devoted mother called Liz – had requested to stay out of prison while she appeals her case, but this was denied. She will not have any internet access while inside, however, so it’s not all bad news.


In numbers: Holiday mode


People who admit to bringing a laptop on holiday to work remotely, said a survey of consumers by electrical retailer Currys.


People who track their fitness using a smartwatch while on holiday in further evidence that the definition of “holiday” is subjective.


People with children who bring tablets and headphones with them on holiday, Currys said, not clarifying if the headphones were for use by the children or their parents.

Getting to know: Jensen Huang

Jensen Huang, chief executive of Nvidia, is one of those tech bosses who favours a distinct, trademark style for product releases – in his case, a black leather motorcycle jacket.

The Taiwanese-American co-founder of Nvidia can afford as many such jackets as he fancies now, given his company this week joined (briefly) a select group with a stock market valuation of $1 trillion or more.

Informed readers will already know about Nvidia, as it’s been around since 1993.

For anyone confusing it with a German skincare brand that does a nice line in sun cream, however, here’s a quick recap: Nvidia used to be best known for making graphics processing units used by the video games industry. Now its claim to fame – courtesy of an early bet by Huang – is that it makes various kinds of chips and “superchips” used by artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

The speciality has rendered it the supplier of choice for a whole raft of companies seeking to get ahead in the AI arms race, with its share price more than doubling since the releases of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last November. AI is creating a “new computing era”, says Huang. It certainly is for him.

The list: Summer blockbusters

Summer film season is already under way, with Disney’s The Little Mermaid the current weekly leader at the Irish box office and Universal Pictures’ The Super Mario Bros. Movie still in number one for the year to date. But which upcoming releases will be vying to take top spot?

1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: the animated superhero film competes for the custom of post-exam, time-rich teenagers from this weekend.

2. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts: the reboot of the Transformers franchise will attempt to do the same from next Friday and stoke interest in the Hasbro toy line while it’s at it.

3. Barbie: Mattel, meanwhile, will have Greta Gerwig’s Barbie to savour. But all’s fair in love and merchandising: Mattel will also be producing Transformers-branded UNO games, with Hasbro creating a Barbie edition of Monopoly. So everyone passes go.

4. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: the reviews out of the Cannes Festival, where the return of Indy premiered, were not great. But who cares? It’s Harrison Ford.

5. Oppenheimer: Christopher Nolan’s biopic of the “father” of the atomic bomb will be here to cheer us up in July as long as AI doesn’t render humanity extinct first.