13 Quotes That Show Why Libertarian Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Is A Scary Genius

13 Quotes That Show Why Libertarian Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Is A Scary Genius

JILLIAN D’ONFRO

JAN. 29, 2014, 9:28 PM 216,226 38

Peter Thiel, renaissance man.

It isn’t easy to pinpoint exactly what Peter Thiel is most famous for. His interests range from the mundane (online payments) to the fringes of scientific thought (immortality and floating cities).

He’s a libertarian. But he has also funded the secretive data-mining company Palantir, which works for the FBI and the CIA.

He co-founded PayPal and acted as its CEO before the company sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.

Since then he launched the global hedge-fund Clarium Capital and the Founders Fund, a venture capital firm. He was Facebook’s first outside investor, making him a billionaire when the company went public.

He supports the Methuselah Foundation, whose goal is to reverse human aging, and the SeaSteading Institute, a libertarian group founded to create independent floating cities in international waters.

He’s also launched the controversial “20 Under 20” initiative which gives 20 teens $100,000 to drop out of college for two years to pursue their own tech projects.

He is one of the most original, controversial thinkers in tech today.

On living: “Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it.”

On higher education: “University administrators are the equivalent of subprime mortgage brokers selling you a story that you should go into debt massively, that it’s not a consumption decision, it’s an investment decision. Actually, no, it’s a bad consumption decision. Most colleges are four-year parties.”

On responses to his “20 Under 20” Thiel Foundation drop-outs: “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.”

On libertarianism: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

On the future: “Yes, a robotics revolution would basically have the effect of people losing their jobs, as you need fewer workers to do the same things, but it would have the benefit of freeing people up to do many other things.”

On ideas: “There are still many large white spaces on the map of human knowledge. You can go discover them. So do it. Get out there and fill in the blank spaces. Every single moment is a possibility to go to these new places and explore them.”

On progress: “People don’t want to believe that technology is broken. Pharmaceuticals, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology — all these areas where the progress has been a lot more limited than people think. And the question is, why?”

On choosing who to fund: “As an investor-entrepreneur, I’ve always tried to be contrarian, to go against the crowd, to identify opportunities in places where people are not looking.”

On defining a personal world view: “This is always a problem with elites, they’re always skewed in an optimistic direction.”

On success: “The most successful businesses have an idea for the future that’s very different from the present.”

On where we’re going: “It seems like we’ve not been thinking about the right issues for a long time. I actually think it is a big step just to ask the question ‘What does one need to do to make the U.S. a better place?’”

On not accepting the status quo: “I think that one of the most contrarian things one can do in our society is try to think for oneself.”

On failure: “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”*

*Technically, this is a Vince Lombardi quote, but Thiel has made it something of a personal mantra.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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