Peter Thiel an Enigma

Peter ThielPeter Andreas Thiel is best known for cofounding PayPal. He served as its CEO. Born in 1967 Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager.

Ten of his famous quotes which are personally my favorite are:

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 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 responses to his “20 Under 20″ Thiel Foundation drop-outs: “Education may be the only thing people still believe 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, and 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.”

Peter Thiel an enigma, a philanthropist and one of the best looking people amidst the entrepreneur community. Thiel jumped to the investor side after he sold his payment-technology firm PayPal Inc to eBay Inc for $1.5 billion in 2002. He put part of his $55 million windfall into startups including LinkedIn Corp, Yelp Inc, SpaceX and Yammer (that had been formed by PayPal co-founders and employees). He also became Facebook’s first outside investor by making $500,000 angel investment for 10.2% of the company. He sold 16.8 million shares for $638 million in the social network’s initial public offering in 2012. Forbes estimated his net worth to be $1.6 billion as of March 2012.

He is known for his contradictory view on higher education. The nonprofit Thiel Foundation stirs controversy and headlines from time to time. Thiel Fellowship is one of the highly scrutinized fellowships. So far, 64 Thiel Fellows have started 67 for-profit ventures, raised $55.4 million in angel and venture funding, published two books, created 30 apps and 135 full-time jobs, and brought clean water and solar power to 6,000 Kenyans who needed it several times.

Thiel has been asked whether his believe that college is not necessary is a correct approach towards inspiring the young generation. Thiel is of the strong views that for entrepreneurship college degree is not mandate and in fact it proves to be worthless at many a times. This itself is a debatable topic. In life of a person education plays an important role. The education along with the degrees is responsible for shaping up an individual’s life path. However just the degrees won’t make a difference if you venture into entrepreneurship. It is one of the popular cases of Street wise Vs Book wise. Thiel himself is B.A. Philosophy graduate from Stanford.

Peter Thiel continues to inspire and encourage young entrepreneurs. Thiel is perhaps the best known avatar of Silicon Valley libertarianism. He gave $2.6 million to a PAC that supported the presidential campaign of Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in 2012. It is in News that along with Mark Zuckerberg, Thiel met Senator Rand Paul.

Thiel is known for his controversial ideologies. He somehow is always in the news be it his successful investment ventures or financial aiding to several research program. He is genius personified. An inspiration to all.