Martin Shkreli Is Why People Hate Entrepreneurs

by . September 24th, 2015

UPDATE: This post was originally published on September 24, 2015. Martin Shkreli has since been arrested for securities fraud.

When we think of entrepreneurs, we‘re now far less likely to think of those who seize the moment to make a positive change and more likely to think of morally bankrupt people like this guy…

…or Steve Jobs, but that’s another story. Opportunistic predators in the business field are far more common than many of us might expect, given that psychopaths are far more likely to self-select into management positions and enterpreneurship, simply by virtue of not understanding — or not caring — about how other people will be affected.

There are two interesting thing about Daraprim. First, it’s been public domain for decades — but the process for creating it is owned by Turing Pharmaceuticals. Second, it was actually went from $1.00 per tablet to $13.50 after a takeover by another company. Shkreli increasing from $13.50 to $750 is probably the most logical and most ridiculous conclusion to the trend of medical care overpricing that has been plaguing the developed world’s most controversial health care system.

To be clear, this is not the first time it happened. Last year, Shkreli did the same thing with Retrophin, a cheap treatment for a rare kidney disorder raising the price up 20 times what it was. Last year (before he became universally hated), he clarified his position on the increase in a Reddit post.

Needless to say, you don’t make many friends by doing this, no matter how good your intentions. And good intentions were not apparent at all, given how awful his responses were and how unnaturally awkward — and alien — he seems on camera.

Note that he very recently set his Twitter account to private.

But there’s a chance he might be acting rationally. A few have conjectured that this was a masterful short-selling play.

A self-proclaimed legal securities expert on Reddit conjectures:

“He has, from what I can find, $4 – $15 million in shares of borrowed stock in various pharma corp. entities.

So, the moment Reddit started circle-jerking about the injustice to the AIDS victims, and someone on Hilary’s digital media team said “Mrs. Clinton – appeal to all these voters by s****** on this dude!” he cracked a beer and watched his whole plan unfold.

In realistic share terms, taking taxes, interest rates in the ST contract with his lenders, and estimated holding into account, is probably several million dollars in profit for a day of acting. Someone above said “he’ll make billions short-selling!” Not only could he not make that much on a 20% drop short sale with his highest estimated borrowed holding, but the profit from a short sale like this doesn’t come to light for the market player until days, weeks, even months later when the price is back up to optimal value for cashing out.

So, its safe to say that he made millions with his little PR stunt, and vocationally, in a vacuum, he’s f****** brilliant. Again, universally – he’s a c***, but has an undeniable vocational aptitude for what he does.

If this probable play theory is on point, he knew he’d announce this cost reduction and caving on the 5k% value inflation shortly after Reddit, twitter, mainstream media, and Hilary all started airing out their grievances – and he knew that there would be a subsequent revitalization in the pharma. share market base.”

No word if he actually profited that much from a short sell with this strategy for Retrophin last year.

Whatever the truth is, the fact of the matter is that this type of thing is only unusual in the degree of the price increase and Shkreli’s general unlikeablity, as well as his willingness to spar with critics and the media.

In most cases, hardly any explanation would be given to such an increase. We see ostensibly unreasonable increases in all manner of consumer goods, from automobiles, to computers, to cast iron cookware (looking at you, Le Creuset), to nearly all the major musical and audio instrument manufacturers.

Market prices, when left alone, are dictated by what the market is willing to pay. This leads to all kinds of weird, occasionally despicable things happening. Martin Shkreli was not the first, and won’t be the last. If you go down the douchepreneur route, it’s up to you to see if your legacy is worth the trouble.

What’s your take? Comment below!



Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.