Crazy-rich entrepreneur Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and co-vanquisher of the website Gawker, appeared on The Rubin Report podcast yesterday. Sadly, the appearance wasn’t quite as provocative as his buddy Elon Musk’s recent visit to The Joe Rogan Experience: Nobody smoked a joint. (Though they did joke about it.) Still, the conversation was worthwhile, and quite lengthy (over two hours!), so we did you a favor and picked out the best bits.
1) Before founding PayPal, Thiel and crew discussed the idea of “getting rid of central banks” and developing their own digital currency: “We never got to the bitcoin stage of it, but certainly those ideas were incredibly motivational.”
2) Thiel believes that Silicon Valley is stymied by groupthink. The culprit? Excess education! “I think one of the downsides of too much education is that you get the most brainwashed.” (In 2011, the exec started the Thiel Fellowship, awarded to people under 20 who want to pursue their business ideas instead of going to college.)
3) He’s still mad at Gawker, which outed him as gay in 2007 and who he helped destroy in 2016. Thiel revealed that he used to refer to the site as the “MBTO,” or the “Manhattan-Based Terrorist Organization,” a nickname we’re sure the Gawker staff would have gotten a kick out of.
4) Thiel has no interest in talking smack about controversy-magnet Musk. “The conventional wisdom on Elon was that [SpaceX and Tesla] were completely hair-brained projects,” Thiel said. “If one of them had succeeded, then you have to question it. When both of them succeeded, it’s just that he knows something that other people don’t. It can’t be a matter of luck.”
5) Thiel thinks that Donald Trump, whom he supported publicly in 2016, is the best thing to happen to U.S. foreign policy in a long time. Hey, evil billionaires gotta stick together!