The Rubin Report: Peter Thiel on Trump, Gawker, and Leaving Silicon Valley

Full video here.

  • My number one rule is never compete with Elon in anything. 

  • The critical question for any consumer internet product is not what the idea is – but how you get it out. How do you get distribution? 

  • The key idea at PayPal: We eventually stumbled on this idea of linking money with email. There were always 300 million people with email accounts. 

  • When you are at the forefront of something revolutionary it is incredibly exciting and incredibly scary. You move between those two feelings several times a day. 

  • Investing in Facebook was a fast decision. Facebook was growing fast. They just needed more money for computers because there was such demand for the product. It was already working. 

  • A lot of world-class entrepreneurs are not specialists. They are something close to polymaths. 

  • Silicon Valley has a conformity problem. Too many people thinking the same way. 

  • Silicon Valley is probably the most educated part of the country - in terms of how much time people spent in college. One of the downsides of too much education is that you get the most brainwashed. The most educated can also mean it is the most brainwashed. 

  • You don’t have real diversity when you just have a group of people who look different and think alike. 

  • One of the professors I studied under was Rene Girard. A brilliant guy. He had this mimetic theory. That people imitate each other. They copy each other. They are much more prone to fashion. 

  • If everyone has the same views, you have to ask did they reach the absolute truth or is there just incredible conformity. 

  • I believe the US should have a less interventionist foreign policy. We’ve gotten into too many stupid wars. 

  • Do we have the truth about everything? Or don’t we? My view is we are really far off. A lot of my peers think we at the end of history. We have figured everything out. Interesting, weird ideas are just wrong. My view is the opposite. 

  • It is a good idea to take shortcuts in a world where nobody takes shortcuts. In a world where everyone takes shortcuts you are better off figuring out another way. 

  • Tracks in life [go to college, go to law school, become a partner etc.] works less well when everyone knows them. They work less when everyone is doing the same thing. The things that worked perfectly for baby boomers are deadly if you are a millennial

  • The main idea in Zero to One is you shouldn’t compete. You should try to have a monopoly. You should do something so well that you have no competition.

  • If you worked at a newspaper in the 1990s they’d say business is great because we have all these talented people doing great work. The true story is you were working for a utility company and it doesn’t matter what you do because we’d make monopoly profits every year. The challenge that a lot of old media businesses have is they haven’t even described their business correctly. 

  • If we could design a new country from scratch the result would be so different. There are so many corrupt institutions and governments we’d clean out. 

  • The question is can we live in a Jetsons future? Can we have a future where things look really different? The striking thing is we live in a world that doesn’t look that different from the 1980s. 

  • 2015 looks more like 1985 than 1985 looks like 1955. 

  • I think there is a deep link between scientific and technological progress and the health of our representative democracy. 

  • One of the very strange paradoxes of the internet age is that the internet was supposed to eliminate the tyranny of place - almost all of it happened in a narrow place. 

  • I was super tracked. Stanford undergrad. Stanford law. Working at a top tier law firm in Manhattan. I had a quarter-life crisis. Why did I end up like this? I just followed the track. I wasn’t thinking about why I was doing things. 

  • The tracks are not working. It is more important than ever to think for yourself. To find something you’re good at, your motivated in and do it. 

  • Do not be overly competitive. The tracks force you to compete. You need to have another reference point - not just look at the people around you. 

  • You shouldn’t look at the people around you too much. When we look around it is not that we figure out what to do. It just ends up being the hyper copy cat, mimetic, crazed environment.