peter thiel

peter thiel bw

first heard of him when he awarded 20 people under 20 100 000 each to drop out of college.. heard of it via Dale – who ended up being one of those first Thiel scholars.

here is his latest pick: this-years-thiel-fellows-include-a-fashion-designer-a-poet-and-a-harvard-dropout#1

(via Anya)

Two years ago, PayPal founder and libertarian futurist Peter Thiel declared higher education “a bubble” and decided to give 20 bright young things $100,000 each to quit collegeand start a company instead.

Harvard hasn’t exactly shut its doors since then. But over half of all private colleges in the country did just report flat or declining enrollment, despite record tuition discounting. (Maybe there is something to this bubble talk.) And how have the “20 Under 20” fellows from 2011 and 2012 fared? They have founded over 30 companies and raised a reported $34 million thus far, from venture investment, sales and revenue, sponsorships, and awards.

Today, the Thiel Foundation announced the third class of fellows. “Though the education bubble is still as much of a problem today as it was two years ago, far more people are now questioning the wisdom of exchanging decades of debt in return for a vague credential with poor job prospects,” Peter Thiel told Co.Exist. “The time is clearly ripe for innovators to develop new ways to help far more young people obtain the knowledge and skills they need to build productive, successful lives.”


find/follow Thiel:


thiel fellowship site


peter thiel quote


life is 24


so imagine a little experiment – where we don’t set 20 under 20 free for a year.. but rather we set a city free for a year. what if the 20 under 20 is spot on.. just not for enough people .. so sustain it..


zero to one:

in description of book:

the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

in book preface:

at the macro level, the single word for horizontal progress is globalization – taking things that work somewhere and making them work everywhere…..  the single word for vertical, 0 to 1 progress is technology.

vertical axis – o to 1 technology – doing new things – intensive progress

horizontal axis – 1 to n globalization – copying things that work – extensive progress

properly understood, any new and better way of doing things is technology.’s hard to develop new things in big organizations, and it’s even harder to do it by yourself. bureaucratic hierarchies move slowly, and entrenched interests shy away from risk.

positively defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.

in reviews:

“When a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. Or, to be safe, three times. This is a classic.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan


sept 2014:

Provocative wisdom from Peter Thiel via @farnamstreet

Original Tweet:

– – –

Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, And Marissa Mayer Want To Teach You ‘How To Start A Startup’ Also online for free!

Original Tweet:

– – –

What PayPal’s Cofounder Can Teach Us About Embracing Weirdness

Original Tweet:


People should spend less time trying to change the system than simply creating things outside it. Peter Thiel

tweeted by Saul.

quote from this article? with more context:

Mr. Thiel, describing himself as a “political atheist,” said that people should spend less time trying to change the system than simply creating things outside it. And the key to progress, he said, may not be more democracy.

In the real world, innovative organizations are often “shockingly hierarchical,” he said. “A start-up is really far from a democracy. People don’t get to vote on things.”



oct 204:

whoa. so focused on money as success.. ie: 30 min – scientists with y=0, and calling that no value. calls that dilution.

creating x dollars in value and getting y% of that x.

36 min – so twitter more valuable than einstein..

37 min – philosophy of competition.. we always think of the losers as those who are not good at competing. perhaps – not that we just don’t understand competition (lie about it, distorted) more than an intellectual blindspot – it’s a psychological blindspot. need to over come memetic preferences.. it’s not that there is wisdom in crowds.. when many people are trying to do something – that’s often a sign of insanity

40 min – kissinger – the battle was so ferocious because the stakes were so small

41 min – competition does make you better.. i’m not questioning that .. but it often comes at this tremendous price

45 min – skeptical of lean start up. really great companies –  typically didn’t do massive customer surveys – often ones who run have mild forms of aspergers so not often deterred by what other thought they should do. way to focused on iteration as a modality and not enough on trying to have a virtual esp link with the public in figuring it out ourselves..

46 min – the risk of doing something that’s not that significant or track in law school – low risk track – but high risk in perhaps not doing something meaningful in your life

48 min – love the – i’m not great at the psychotherapy stuff



Where Did the Future Go?
David Graeber vs. Peter Thiel

happened sept 2014

what happened to the second half of the 20th century

not just the bureaucratization of research – but a shift in the nature of b in the 70s… a corperatization of b..

8 min – min/max stuff

10 min – Peter – heaving on bits low on atoms… we could be doing so much more – like 40 yrs of stagnation – more than – why did this happen – what should be done now

what does it mean to be an anarchist – start thinking as if you are already free

starting paypal – didn’t hire any lawyers for first year because we knew they would tell us we couldn’t do it.. broke alot of rules.. in order to do..

i think – convincing a small # of people that a future could look really different – rather than trying to get a collective move.

we’re not going to get to mars by having endless debates.. an urgency to solving these problems.. not willing to wait for some mass movement.. just want to get going on it right now

how mars?

end of Peter

a cultural revolution w/o a social revolution

16 min – back to David – you don’t need to change people’s minds.. you change people’s minds by doing something..

20 min – – culture of stagnation a result of a culture of power

2o min – Peter – the people nimble in the art of writing for grants are displacing the idiosyncratic thinkers.. so screwed up b… so where should we be applying our energies.. i used to believe – all sorts of lobbying for internal change.. i concluded much more effective encouraging people to leave.. yes there are problems… but they are not where i want to put the focus of change…

22 min – David – to what degree can you work inside existing institutions… central question – what are most people going to do

24 min – Peter – where i disagree – is i get the sense that your idea is always a bigger thing – that will be more complicated in the long run – i think that is always what’s being underestimated

26 min – David – people don’t mostly understand is decentralization

Peter – things i like about that politically, but i’d like get back to the tech.. could you get people to the moon with a radically decentralized chaotic system

David – not exactly chaotic.. frankly.. creating very large scale is that hard. it’s really hard to create tiny structures. i totally agree on doing things now.

Peter – i’m not aware of any tech start up or research project that came about in this style. (radically decentralized) .. i think one’s that work are hierarchical.. start up is really far from democracy – people don’t get to vote on them

David – problem is we grow up being told we are in a democratic society.. a problem both of us.. it remains true that govt is source of most basic research (56%) corporate (16%), rest is unis and non profit. so start up is a nice model for certain things.. but i don’t think we have to assume that’s the only way for break throughs..

Peter – i think there’s very much broken in our society.. i can’t imagine a straight forward way to change these things from within. how do we get to mars? change the nasa funding.. very hard to do.

David – determination – nasa did pretty well getting to the moon. i agree it would be great to have somebody working on these things. but i also like to see a society where everyone is working on it. there has to be somebody who has an idea that neither one of us have thought of. the problem is those people are being told to shut up.. if we could unleash that..

32 min – David – there’s people out there that could solve these problems.. but they’re sitting around trying to figure out how to pay their bills..

33 min – Peter – all you have to do is go out the front door. i want to push back on the idea that people could do more. there are a lot of ways for people to do things. we’re not going to start by changing b at nasa or govt

35 min – Peter – i would define myself as a political atheist

David – so many know that so much are based on false premises

Peter – i’ll disagree with the money… i do think there is such a thing as an economy .. there is such a thing as scarcity – so you have a very complicated way of allocating things.. and it’s true we could print money – that’s not a solution to scarcity. when you print more money you don’t understand the underlying nature of the real goods.. i think the real problem is the problem of scarcity.. we need all sorts of new tech to enable that to happen. economics was the science of how to economize

David – i’m not saying we should print money – i’m saying we should ask what it means. money isn’t just measuring the value of stuff, it’s measuring action value.. creativity value…

39 min – David – basic income – leave it up to people – to create the conditions that both of us want to see happen.  people think of ed not as creative expression.. but as a means to job.

Peter – scarcity is a major problem

42 min – David – if we don’t consciously act in ways to not reinforce the system.. we actually reinforce it. it’s great that there are pockets of people

Peter – i don’t think this is the most constructive thing to be doing. (the larger picture)

David – this is still largely in the financial sector

Peter – google has displaced goldman sacs.. there are problems in silicon .. but i think it’s the place that is mostly trying to do things..

David – is silicon valley actually posing a solution to that larger structure

Peter – no – but i would argue again.. we’re not going to change the structures.. a lot of things look like they are too small initially… in politics you have to convince too many people..

David –

Peter – i think there are huge problems to solve – spacex – and military


Peter – all the mass movements… didn’t get us to where we want.. there’s something to be said to figure out ways to stop another attack. there was no tech to stop terrorism in 2001

Peter – what went wrong in the 70s – the us ran out of oil  – we haven’t recovered from the oil shocks…

David – why didn’t we come up with something else. as an explanation that we ran out – that we didn’t create something else..

q&a – how many people do you think will get to mars.. and what kind of environment will be there that we can’t destroy

David – utter conservatism isn’t a move ..

Peter – i don’t think tech is a solution for everything… but i don’t think a lot of these problems will get fixed w/o tech..

– –

both and – with networked individualism…  art ist ic stigmergy

and.. i think i found your flying cars… in broken feedback loop


Your Silicon Valley heroes, Ladies & Gentlemen

Original Tweet:

The Silicon Valley Power Players Who Might Hate Gawker Enough to Try to Kill It…

I stand with Gawker too.

Original Tweet:

Mr. Thiel meanwhile seems to want a world in which he, personally, encounters no resistance, whether it comes from government or the free press or anyone else for that matter. He has declared, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” and he is on the board at Facebook. The new breed of technologists who are taking control of the news media do not feel they should pay taxes or submit to regulation or offer anything more than disruption to their employees. They need to be challenged. And Gawker, at least, has challenged them.

Mr. Thiel is the most famous student of René Girard, the celebrated professor of philosophy at Stanford who developed the concept of the scapegoat mechanism. We blame others for our own sins and overcome that impulse only through “mimetic desire” — through mediation with other people. Mr. Thiel has turned Gawker into a scapegoat for the shifting world of celebrity culture that we all inhabit. He has made Gawker into a scapegoat for the world he himself is helping to create

perhaps we just stand. together. all of us. ie: i know you.. danger of single story..every actor has a reason…

we’re not getting there through scapegoating. nor through scapegoating our scapegoaters.. et al..


posted on fb by democracy now

Peter Thiel has stated that democracy and freedom are incompatible. He’s said that women should have never had the right to vote in the United States.” – Sam Biddle



“At the core of the companies that Thiel has founded and funded is surveillance.”


Absolutely essential #edtech #education article from @hackeducation… This is why ‘adaptive’ worries me.

At the core of the companies that Thiel has founded and funded is surveillance. Palantir. Facebook. AltSchool. The regime of data collection and analysis is framed as “personalization.” But that’s a cover for compliance and control.



Peter Thiel is taking an official role working with Donald Trump

no matter how crazy this election seems.. it is less crazy than the condition of our country..





Peter Thiel deputy, a former Palantir insider, picked to oversee Donald Trump’s Defense Department transition


2009 – ed of a libertarian

I do not despair because I no longer believe that politics encompasses all possible futures of our world. In our time, the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms — from the totalitarian and fundamentalist catastrophes to the unthinking demos that guides so-called “social democracy.”

The critical question then becomes one of means, of how to escape not via politics but beyond it. Because there are no truly free places left in our world, I suspect that the mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered *country; and for this reason I have focused my efforts on new technologies that may create a new space for freedom.

or just some undiscovered *realm

his 3 tech frontiers:

1\ cyberspace.. The limitation of the Internet is that these new worlds are virtual and that any escape may be more imaginary than real. The open question, which will not be resolved for many years, centers on which of these accounts of the Internet proves true.

a nother way.. imaginary and and local..  creating space w/o politics of which you speak.. right where we already are

2\ outerspace  3\ seasteading

no need

The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism.

for this wish Patri (seasteading inst – grandfather milton friedman) the best


Paypal’s Founder Has Decided to Begin Building World’s First Floating Nation In Order to ‘Liberate Humanity from Politicians’

Peter Theil, founder of Paypal is leading a project to create a floating nation that is able to operate within its own laws

doesn’t matter how great a design the place (great in finding a space for a re set.. ) is ..if don’t have focus deep/simple/open enough.. will eventually get back to the intoxication we now have.. and then .. people will again say.. see.. need govt/money/politicians/whatever..

there’s a nother way

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]

If you make time to read one article today make it this one. Palantir and Theil pose substantial threats to civil liberties and democracy. Frightening and dystopia to the bone.

Original Tweet:

Peter Thiel’s data-mining company is using War on Terror tools to track American citizens. The scary thing? Palantir is desperate for new customers.


Simone Cicero (@meedabyte) tweeted at 1:40 AM – 16 May 2019 :
Peter Thiel’s Apocalypse quite an interesting read. (
Capitalism, which reached its pinnacle in the United States, replaced the earlier search for meaning.

For Thiel, (Carl) Schmitt is an inspiring throwback to a pre-Enlightenment age who exalts struggle and insists that the discovery of enemies is the foundation of politics

In other words, playing dirty has been essential to the nation’s success. Thiel argues that this subversive insight provides the middle ground between ineffectual modern liberalism and the state of permanent war.

first glance, he argues, it would seem impossible for America to embrace the taboo of outright deception, because “a direct path forward is prevented by America’s constitutional machinery.” However, he goes on, “there are more possibilities for action than first appear,” including what the Italian writer Roberto Calasso calls “the secret services…murders, traps, betrayals, assassinations, cover-ups, and weapons shipment.. (his palantir fed data to cia et a)

Thiel’s hard-to- parse discussion of Strauss boils down to a high-minded justification for the Deep State–enabling company he’d just founded, Palantir. And would, a dozen years later, perhaps justify his support of Donald J. Trump

Even though Thiel omits this puppet master doctrine from his paper, the Straussian vision he articulates is pretty alarming. But Thiel now reassures us—sort of—that there is a yet higher truth than Strauss’s, which will make everything better (that is, unless the world is destroyed). That higher truth was revealed by Thiel’s Stanford professor Girard. Drawing on literary theory, anthropology, and his own borderline-heretical theology, Girard created the theory of mimetic desire, which argues that all our desires are imitations of other people’s desires. Since everyone wants the same things, violence haunts humanity. In archaic times, this violence was channeled toward the scapegoat, a single figure— sometimes a king, sometimes an outsider—upon whom society’s rivalrous hatred could be projected and through whose ritual murder society could be cleansed

In the modern, rational world, we no longer believe in the scapegoat, but neither have we renounced our mimetic desires. We thus have no mechanism to escape the cycle of violence—except, Girard argues, by imitating Christ. A heterodox Catholic and pacifist, Girard believed that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross could redeem mankind not for orthodox theological reasons, but because it revealed how mimesis and scapegoating works and, by so doing, opened the possibility for us to renounce the cycle. Although at the end of his life Girard became increasingly pessimistic that this would happen, he believed that only through embracing nonviolence and rejecting conflict could the modern world find “the peace of the kingdom of God

Thiel is a major Girardian. Over the last seven years, he has donated millions to scholars of Girard, and even credits his old professor with inspiring his investment in Mark Zuckerberg’s company. “Facebook first spread by word of mouth, and it’s about word of mouth, so it’s doubly mimetic,” Thiel told the New York Times. “Social media proved to be more important than it looked, because it’s about our natures.” More important, Thiel shares not only Girard’s theory of mimetic rivalry, but also his Christian solution to it. But this leaves him with a problem. How can he reconcile his embrace of Straussian deception and purifying war with Girard’s call for peace? It’s an even bigger problem because Thiel, the cofounder of a highly profitable defense contractor, is obviously not a pacifist

In the long run, Thiel writes, Girard’s pacifist Christian vision will triumph. Judgment Day will come: “One must never forget that one day all will be revealed, that all injustices will be exposed, and that those who perpetrated them will be held to account.” But in the short run, in the age of 9/11, we still need secrets, wars, and dirty tricks: “There can be no real accommodation with the Enlightenment since so many of its easy bromides have become deadly falsehoods in our time.” So what do we do while waiting for the end of time? Thiel offers a weird, chemistry-set solution