Being recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, is not easy. And neither was it building the ‘new currency’ as admitted by Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal. Managing funds right from $700 million as president of Clarium to $2 billion as a managing partner of FoundersFund, Peter’s adrenaline has always come from informal innovation focused startups and mentoring them. He is also known for being the first outside investor to Facebook. Presently, he presently is an investor and co-founder of successful investment and hedge fund management firms like Clarium Capital Management, Valar Ventures, Mithril Capital Management and FoundersFund. Peter sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.
Name: Peter Andreas Thiel
Date of Birth: 11th October 1967
Net Worth: $2.2 Billion
Bullish about Silicon Valley being the torch-bearer of American success for years to come, Peter cares less for the education than the impact to the society, the startup founders can bring about through their offering. Branded as a contrarian who likes bashing brands and companies, he does see monopolies likes Google driving success more than incremental improvement building technology companies like Microsoft.
Peter is also pretty biased in the companies he has invested (e.g. Space X, Lyft, Facebook) in and always shoots down the competition stating the reasons why they wold not succeed. To most’s dismay, it sounds pretty true, considering the practices of the companies he corners. Even Twitter’s growth, he has commented, is no where close to its potential.
On the other hand, he is an evangelist of innovation in both science and technology (including, health sciences and engineering, which he calls it “working with atoms”). Calssifying the Dot com bubble of the 1990’s to be the most hard-hitting burst among the many bubbles and bursts over the years worldwide, he sees four prime reasons causing this:
1. Lender’s showing complaisance;
2. Borrower’s being greedy and wanting to make the most of free money available;
3. Political scenarios that have failed to preëmpt and prevent these bursts and recessions;
4. The lack of path-breaking innovation and settling down for just minor incremental achievements in both science and technology.
These Less known facts about Peter Thiel will bring you to know this sharp worded visionary even better:
1. The first time he used Twitter was on the stage of TechCrunch Disrupt 2014 in San Francisco, USA.
2. In his book ‘Zero to One’ he communicates everything he learnt about Tech and Business and that he had taught at Stanford in 2012.
3. If Thiel was not an entrepreneur, he would probably be a teacher, he admitted. He loves to mentor and guide and thus his alternate profession choice.
4. Peter was contesting to be a clerk on the Supreme court ranks after his degree in Law from Stanford. In retrospect, he was happy he was not among the two selected of the eight he was among interviewing for the post.
5. Though he favors people learning and teaching as a profession, he is pretty skeptical about what falls under education today, classifying it as incredible abstraction, obscuring a lot of things that we do and being very unclear on how valuable what is being taught is, in many cases. He has been known to encourage college kids to dropout and become entrepreneurs, even funding their “Zero to One” ideas and projects by creating the Thiel Fellowship, which will award 20 people under 20 years of age, $100,000, in order to inspire them to quit college and create their own ventures.
6. Peter sees extreme traits (he has quoted some other founders of Paypal had built bombs in their college) in founders being a big giveaway of their entrepreneurial instincts, however, clarifies that mere craziness is not a virtue, and a balance between being crazy and doing business is the key attribute to success. Competing, according to him, is not the way to succeed in entrepreneurship.
7. His view sounds pragmatic yet is controversial on founders quitting the companies they founded, quoting it as the loss of faith in their own product that leads to their disassociating with it.
Having a confident stance about technology and entrepreneurship, though against the norm, is certainly a trait much respected, as much it is condemned. And his viewpoints become even more prominent when it comes to the political scenario. Be it about his remarks in the Libertarian ‘Cato Unbound’ blog, where Peter states that he no longer believed that freedom and democracy are compatible or when he accounted vast increase in welfare beneficiaries liable to render the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.
With all the zeal and enthusiasm, even at 46, Peter Thiel is nothing less than an idol for many who like libertarian ideologies and his philosophy of being profit oriented surely should go well with investors too. The believer in long-term he is, we wish his experiments with anti-aging reap him huge dividends and keep his intention to inspire many more path-breaking innovators coming.
Happy Birthday, Peter Thiel! We wish you a lasting lifetime of fiery passion to pass on to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intend is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marrisa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.
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