Peter Thiel

(Peter Andreas Thiel)

Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel
  • Born: October 11, 1967
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Businessman, Entrepreneur, Investor, Executive, Founder, Managing Partner

108

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13

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Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
A conventional truth can be important - it's essential to learn elementary mathematics, for example - but it won't give you an edge. It's not a secret. Truth
A diploma is a dunce hat in disguise.
Airbnb is undervalued.
All of us have to work toward a definite future... that can motivate and inspire people to change the world. Future ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Americans mythologize competition and credit it with saving us from socialist bread lines. Actually, capitalism and competition are opposites. Capitalism is premised on the accumulation of capital, but under perfect competition, all profits get competed away.
An entrepreneur must deal with more uncertainty than a professional with a well-defined role.
Anti-aging is an extremely under-explored field.
As an undergraduate at Stanford, I started 'The Stanford Review,' which ended up being very engaged in the hot debates of the time: campus speech codes, questions about diversity on campus, all sorts of debates like that. Time
College gives people learning and also takes away future opportunities by loading the next generation down with debt. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Future
Contrarian thinking doesn't make any sense unless the world still has secrets left to give up.
Creating value isn't enough - you also need to capture some of the value you create.
Credentials are critical if you want to do something professional. If you want to become a doctor or lawyer or teacher or professor, there is a credentialing process. But there are a lot of other things where it's not clear they're that important. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Don't bother starting the 10,000th restaurant in Manhattan. Find something to do that if you don't do it, it won't get done.
Education is a bubble in a classic sense. To call something a bubble, it must be overpriced, and there must be an intense belief in it. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Every correct answer is necessarily a secret: something important and unknown, something hard to do but doable.
Every one of today's smartphones has thousands of times more processing power than the computers that guided astronauts to the moon. Power ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Every time you write an email, it is in the public domain. There are all these ways where security is not as good as people believe. Time
Facebook succeeded because it was about real people having a presence on the Internet. There were all these other social networking sites people had, but they were all about fictional people.
From my perspective, I think the question of how we build a better future is an extremely important overarching question, and I think it's become obscured from us because we no longer think it's possible to have a meaningful conversation about the future. Future
Great investments may look crazy but really may not be.
Great things happen only once.
Had the people who started Facebook decided to stay at Harvard, they would not have been able to build the company, and by the time they graduated in 2006, that window probably would have come and gone. Time
How to teach people to do what hasn't been done is a great riddle.
I always find myself very distrustful of intense crowd phenomena, and I think those are things that we should always try to question, especially critically.
I believe if we could enable people to live forever, we should do that. I think this is absolute.
I believe that evolution is a true account of nature, but I think we should try to escape it or transcend it in our society. Society ;Nature
I believe that people are too complacent about technology. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I believe we are in a world where innovation in stuff was outlawed. It was basically outlawed in the last 40 years - part of it was environmentalism, part of it was risk aversion.
I believe, basically, that individual freedom is very important. Freedom & Liberty
I did not want to write just another business book. Business, Commerce & Finance
I do think there is this danger that our society has made its peace with decline. I'd like to jolt them out of their complacency a little bit. Society ;War & Peace
I don't think success is complicated; if you do something that works, then it's a success. Success
I had a good experience in college, but I don't think interdisciplinary education is something that's stressed very much at all. It's generally considered to be something of a bad idea. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I spend an awful lot of time just thinking about what is going on in the world and talking to people about that. It's probably one of my default social activities, just getting dinners with friends. Time
I suspect if people live a lot longer they would be retired for a somewhat longer period of time. Just the financial planning takes on a very different character. Time
I suspect Obama did not know he was recording Angela Merkel's cell phones.
I think anything that requires real global breakthroughs requires a degree of intensity and sustained effort that cannot be done part time, so it's something you have to do around the clock, and that doesn't compute with our existing educational system. Time
I think competition can make people stronger at whatever it is they're competing on. If we're competing in some athletic event for competitive swimmers, really intensely competing, it's likely that both of us will become better, but it's also quite possible we'll lose sight of what's truly valuable.
I think it's a problem that we don't have more companies like Facebook. It shouldn't be the only company that's doing this well.
I think it's always good for gay people to come out, but it's also understandable why people might choose not to do so.
I think people in Europe are generally pessimistic about the future. They have low expectations; they're not working hard to change things. When you're a slacker with a pessimistic view of the future, you're likely to meet those expectations. Future
I think society is both something that's very real and very powerful, but on the whole quite problematic. Society
I think what's always important is not to be contrarian for its own sake but to really get at the truth. Truth
I worked at a law firm in New York very briefly.
I would consider myself a rather staunch libertarian.
I would like to live longer, and I would like other people to live longer.
I would not describe myself as a super early adopter of consumer technology. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Ideally, I want us to be working on things where if we're not working on them, they won't happen; companies where if we don't fund them they will not receive funding.
If I had known how hard it would be to do something new, particularly in the payments industry, I would never have started PayPal. That's why nobody with long experience in banking had done it. You needed to be naive enough to think that new things could be done.
If the whole U.S. was like Silicon Valley, we'd be in good shape. But now, the entire U.S. is not driven by technology, is not driven by innovation. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
If you borrowed money and went to a college where the education didn't create any value, that is potentially a really big mistake. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Money, Coins & Minting
If you do something new, it will always look a little bit strange.
If you have a business idea that's extremely easy to copy, that can often become something of a challenge or problem. Business, Commerce & Finance
If you're trying to develop a new drug, that costs you a billion dollars to get through the FDA. If you want to start a software company, you can get started with maybe $100,000.
I'm very pro-science and pro-technology; I believe that these have been key drivers of progress in the world in the last centuries.
In a world where wealth is growing, you can get away with printing money. Doubling the debt over the next 20 years is not a problem. Money, Coins & Minting
In Silicon Valley, I point out that many of the more successful entrepreneurs seem to be suffering from a mild form of Asperger's where it's like you're missing the imitation, socialization gene.
In the '30s, the Keynesian stuff worked at least in the sense that you could print money without inflation because there was all this productivity growth happening. That's not going to work today. Money, Coins & Minting ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Investors are always biased to invest in things they themselves understand. So venture capitalists like Uber because they like driving in black town cars. They don't like Airbnb because they like staying in five-star hotels, not sleeping on people's couches.
Is there something about the gay experience, being gay and the gay experience, that pushes us even more than other people toward competition?
It is true that you can say that death is natural, but it is also natural to fight death. But if you stand up and say this is a big problem, we should do something about this, that makes people very uncomfortable, because they've made their peace with death. Death ;War & Peace
It's good to test yourself and develop your talents and ambitions as fully as you can and achieve greater success; but I think success is the feeling you get from a job well done, and the key thing is to do the work. Success ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Men and machines are good at different things. People form plans and make decisions in complicated situations. We are less good at making sense of enormous amounts of data. Computers are exactly the opposite: they excel at efficient data processing but struggle to make basic judgments that would be simple for any human. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Monopolies are bad and deserve their reputation when things are static and the monopolies function as toll collectors... But I think they're quite positive when they're dynamic and do something new.
Most of 'big data' is a fraud because it is really 'dumb data.'
My hope is that we're going to end up with a far more tolerant society, where the erosion of privacy, to the extent it erodes, will be offset by increased tolerance. Society ;Hope
My only claim is that not all talented people should go to college and not all talented people should do the exact same thing.
One of my first investments was $100,000 in a Web-based calendar startup - and I lost every dollar.
One of my friends started a company in 1997, seven years before Facebook, called SocialNet. And they had all these ideas, and you could be, like, a cat, and I'd be a dog on the Internet, and we'd have this virtual reality, and we would just not be ourselves. That didn't work because reality always works better than any fake version of it. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Our society, the dominant culture doesn't like science. It doesn't like technology. Society ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
People always say you should live your life as if it were your last day. I think you should live your life as though it will go on for ever; that every day is so good that you don't want it to end. Life
People are spending way too much time thinking about climate change, way too little thinking about AI. Time
People are worried about privacy, and its one of the reasons people are using a service like SnapChat.
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. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
'Perfect competition' is considered both the ideal and the default state in Economics 101. So-called perfectly competitive markets achieve equilibrium when producer supply meets consumer demand.
Properly defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future. Future
Seventy percent of the planet is covered with water, and there's so much we can be doing with oceans, and it was one of the frontiers that people have more or less abandoned.
Spiraling demand for resources of which our world contains a finite supply is the great long-term threat posed by globalisation. That is why we need new technology to relieve it. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Technologies like PayPal foster competition because they enable people to shift their funds from one jurisdiction to another, and I think that ultimately will lead to a world in which there's less government power and therefore more individual control. Power ;Government
Technology just means information technology. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The best start-ups might be considered slightly less extreme kinds of cults. The biggest difference is that cults tend to be fanatically wrong about something important. People at a successful start-up are fanatically right about something those outside it have missed.
The big challenge with Internet financial services has been that it's very difficult to get large numbers of customers to sign up for your service.
The core problem in our society is political correctness. Society
The first question we would ask if aliens landed on this planet is not, 'What does this mean for the economy or jobs?' It would be, 'Are they friendly or unfriendly?'
The future is limitless. Future
The millennial generation in the US is the first that has reduced expectations from those of their parents. And I think there is something decadent and declinist about that.
The model of the U.S. economy is that we are the country that does new things.
The most successful businesses have an idea for the future that's very different from the present - and that's not fully valued. Future
The next Bill Gates will not start an operating system. The next Larry Page won't start a search engine. The next Mark Zuckerberg won't start a social network company. If you are copying these people, you are not learning from them. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The optimism that many felt in the 1960s over labour-saving technology is giving way to a fearful question: 'Will your labour be good for anything in the future? Or will you be replaced by a machine?' Future ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There have been a lot of critiques of the finance industry's having possibly foisted subprime mortgages on unknowing buyers, and a lot of those kinds of arguments are even more powerful when used against college administrators who are probably in some ways engaged in equally misleading advertising. Business, Commerce & Finance
There is a sort of genre of optimistic science fiction that I like, and I don't think there is enough of. One of my favourites is a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, 'The City and the Stars.' It's set in this far future on Earth in this somewhat static society and trying to break out. Society ;Future ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There's absolutely no bubble in technology. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There's always a sense that people will do things quite differently if they think they have privacy.
There's no single right place to be an entrepreneur, but certainly there's something about Silicon Valley.
Unsolved problems are where you'll find opportunity. Energy is one sector with extremely urgent unsolved problems.
Wall Street is always too biased toward short-term profitability and biased against long-term growth.
We live in a world in which courage is in less supply than genius.
We protect monopolies with copyright.
What is it about our society where anyone who does not have Asperger's gets talked out of their heterodox ideas? Society
When I was starting out, I followed along the path that seemed to be marked out for me - from high school to college to law school to professional life. Life
When parents have invested enormous amounts of money in their kids' education, to find their kids coming back to live with them - well, that was not what they bargained for. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Money, Coins & Minting
When people use the word 'science,' it's often a tell, like in poker, that you're bluffing. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Whereas a competitive firm must sell at the market price, a monopoly owns its market, so it can set its own prices. Since it has no competition, it produces at the quantity and price combination that maximizes its profits.
You become a great writer by writing.
You can achieve difficult things, but you can't achieve the impossible.
You don't want to just do 'me too' companies that are copying what others are doing.
You will never build a company on the scale of a Facebook or a Google if you sell it along the way.