Tag Archives: Peter Thiel

Big Picture Shit pt2

Not directly related to sustianability, but here’s a radio interview with Peter Thiel.  He founded PayPal and then was the first investor in Facebook.

The thing that’s interesting is that he, like Hardin Tibbs, takes the long view.  However, Hardin Tibbs’s job is a futurist (or similar) so it’s his job is to take the long view.  Peter Thiel is just another buisnessman.  The fact that he takes the long view, it can be argued, is a factor in his success.  Here’s an example from this Wired interview. :

“People take it for granted that their retirement funds can earn 8.5 percent a year. That’s what their financial planners tell them. And sure, you look back over the past 100 years, the stock market has generally gone up 6 to 8 percent a year. But in a larger historical perspective, that kind of growth is exceptional. If you had done the equivalent of investing in the stock market from, say, 1000 to 1100 AD, you would not have made 8 percent a year. During the fall of the Roman Empire, you’d have been lucky to get zero. We’ve been living in a unique period of accelerating technological progress. We’ve gone from horses to cars to planes to rockets to computers to the Internet in a very short time. It’s not automatic that that continues.”

Also, he thinks ‘big’, not just ‘long’, although those two concepts are strongly related I reckon – i.e. something has to be ‘big’ in order to survive the ‘long’.  In the radio interview, he talks about two approaches to philanthropy.  Basically, there are two ways to make the world a better place – take what you’ve got and go either Extensive OR Intensive.  Extensive is where you take the best and extend them to other places (e.g. drugs to Africa).  Intensive is where you take the best and make it better.  In his view nearly all philanthropy is extensive and you can’t have progress without the Intensive.

He also has a really difficult, but very good interview question ” Give me one idea or thought that you have about the world that you think is true that no one else agrees with?”  What’s your answer to that?

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