Peter Thiel, the lone rider of Silicon Valley

Peter Thiel often says it: competition is for losers. And Thiel obviously doesn’t fall into the losers category. Long live monopolies and hegemonies. Co-founder of PayPal, investor in Facebook at the beginning of the social network, the black prince of Silicon Valley, 54, has accumulated in twenty years some 4 billion dollars (3.5 billion euros). A fortune sufficient to place him in the pantheon of the lords of Silicon Valley, although, today, the divorce from his peers is rather consummated.

After denouncing the ” unique thought “ de la Vallée and having sided with Donald Trump in 2016, the troublemaker preferred to go into exile in Los Angeles in 2018. Two years later, he settled in Miami (Florida), the new tech hub, at the antipodes of democratic California, after a stopover in his bunker in New Zealand, an anti-apocalypse refuge, which has also become anti-pandemic for the occasion.

Away from collectivist herds

Peter Thiel is a contrarian, explains his biographer, Max Chafkin, author of the book The Contrarian : Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power, published on September 21 in the United States by Penguin Press. Or a man whose identity was built in opposition, in the opposite foot, around a desire for singularity, away from the collectivist herds of society.

Peter Thiel doesn’t follow anyone, not even on Twitter. Contemptuous of his contemporaries (well, most), he would not appear in a novel by Ayn Rand (1905-1982), the muse of the libertarian individualists of anti-state America. On November 4, he was also the guest of honor at the Atlas Society gala, the circle founded in honor of the author, in 1957, ofAtlas Shrugged (Strike, Les Belles Lettres, 2011), the reference manual for libertarians. The dinner was in California (in Malibu), even the contrarians sometimes compromise.

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Unlike his peers, Thiel is an intellectual. On January 19, 2016, at Memorial Church, the Byzantine-style Stanford University chapel with its pediment of mosaics imported from Italy, was paid tribute to René Girard, the French academician who died on November 4, 2015 there. taught for over thirty years. The speaker after the organ piece is Peter Thiel. At Stanford he was a pupil of the anthropologist, whose theory he admired on the mimetic character of desire.

For years he has been financing Imitatio, a research institute on Girardian thought. His baritone voice, which one would swear adorned with a slight memory of Germany, carries beyond the candles. “René Girard taught me that real education begins when you start to criticize it”, he states.

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Peter Thiel, the lone rider of Silicon Valley