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Most Cities Would Welcome a Tech Billionaire, But Peter Thiel? (bloomberg.com) 283

Sarah McBride, writing for Bloomberg: Tech billionaire Peter Thiel is moving to Los Angeles from San Francisco, adding another dose of legitimacy to a burgeoning startup scene in Southern California -- along with some controversy. The co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, Thiel runs Founders Fund, one of the more-respected venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. He comes with a little baggage, though, including his staunch support for President Donald Trump, his secretive funding of the legal battle between Hulk Hogan and Gawker.com, and comments some people say have been derogatory toward women. "I'm not sure why Peter Thiel believes he'll receive a warmer reception on the L.A. tech scene than he's had in Silicon Valley," said Tracy DiNunzio, chief executive officer of Tradesy, a fashion-reselling company based in Santa Monica, California. "Our venture and startup ecosystem is fairly left-leaning."
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Most Cities Would Welcome a Tech Billionaire, But Peter Thiel?

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  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @06:08PM (#56144436)

    If you're a startup and you need funding and you've got a demonstrably astute tech investor with a deep rolodex and sacks of money to invest, why do you care who he votes for?

    I certainly wouldn't.

    This politicization of every aspect of life is way out of hand.

    • Oh wait, I know this one! Because when you lay down with dogs you wake up with fleas.
      • Ok, the Trump association, I can sort of understand.

        But putting out of business a tabloid (with other questionable practices) that published a full sex tape of a celebrity without his consent (a sex tape which had no redeeming news value of any kind, other than the fact that some guy gave consent for his wife to have sex with a celebrity while he was videotaping it).

        How is that bad? Is the porn industry in LA really upset over this? Or is it the tabloids or the papparrazis?

        • I am referring to his Trump support. The fact that he is a gay man I could not care less about, and I really couldn't care less about Hogan / Gawker either.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 )

          That was nothing more than a pretext and you know it. Peter Thiel never gave a flying shit about Hulk Hogan. He was nursing a (Totally nonsensical, considering he lived in California, and for now in the Bay Area no less.) years-long grudge against Gawker for mentioning that he's gay in an article last decade. Pretending that the lawsuit was really just about the sex tape is purposefully obtuse at best, really more like intellectual dishonesty, and at worst nothing more than trolling.

    • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @06:25PM (#56144520)

      You don't care who he votes for. You do care what his involvement in your startup will mean for PR, partnering, hiring, acquisition and other aspects of business. He was an early and public supporter of Trump and bankrolled the anti-Gawker lawsuit. Because of this, him being involved in your company may make it harder to get other people's attention that you need.

      Or not. Maybe he'll help direct attention to your start up in a way that adds something.

      But you have to accept it will have both positives and negatives.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 17, 2018 @07:29PM (#56144840)

        The anti-Gawker lawsuit? You mean the one concerning whether or not it is okay to publish someone's private sex tape after a judge had ordered it to be taken down? That anti-Gawker lawsuit?

        I don't know anything about the guy's politics, but that one sounds about right to me.

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @08:02PM (#56144978)
        So 25 years ago when GLBT people were still seen as "queer" by the majority, you would've been OK with businesses shunning people who were overtly pro-GLBT?

        70 years ago when interracial marriages were frowned upon by the majority, you would've been OK with businesses shunning interracial couples?

        100 years ago when women didn't have the right to vote, you would've been OK with businesses shunning people who thought women should be able to vote?

        160 years ago when slavery was the norm in half the country, you would've been OK with businesses shunning anyone advocating freeing the slaves?

        See, the problem with basing acceptance on what's deemed "normal" by the masses is that "normal" changes over time. People are fickle, and tend to follow what's popular, not necessarily what's right. What's normal today won't be what's normal 25, 50, 100 years from now.

        Democracy's strength doesn't come from the majority imposing its will upon the minority. Its strength comes from allowing a wide variety of viewpoints to coexist. That allows it to find and take advantage of better ideas more quickly. Other systems of government may not even consider that idea because they've suppressed and subjugated the minority who would've brought it up for consideration. Minorities like people who were anti-slavery in the early 1800s, pro women's suffrage in the late 1800s, for racial integration in the first half of the 20th century, and opposed to discrimination against GLBT people in the second half of the 20th century.

        Democracy's strength comes from preserving that minority, even if you disagree with it. Especially if you disagree with it. If democracy hadn't protected people with those ideas when they were unpopular, those reforms never would've happened. That's why we don't discriminate against people based on how they voted (secret ballot), or their political opinions, or their religious views, or their race, or gender, or a myriad of other things which simply aren't relevant to running a business. Sure if you don't like that racist, you don't have to go camping with him. But discriminating against people in an activity which is completely orthogonal to the reason you dislike them - that is destroying the fundamental basis of democracy.

        The whole point of democracy is protecting and preserving people's right to disagree. Advocating discrimination against people who hold a different opinion than yours, for no other reason than because they hold a different opinion, makes you a bigot. What, you thought that term only applied to racists? Perhaps you should look up its definition in the dictionary [merriam-webster.com]. Take away the right to disagree (while still living a normal life) and you've gutted democracy.

        Tolerance doesn't mean accepting only people who hold the same beliefs you do. It means accepting and coexisting with and even defending people who hold different beliefs than you do.

        "'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall
        • by w3woody ( 44457 )

          The problem, both with your examples and with your argument, is that they mix morality and money.

          Now I'm all for morality. God knows I've been a strong supporter of LGBT causes and my (Scots-Irish) father in another era spent some of his misspent youth in Memphis protesting for black equality. I'm also all for money--and using money to build an organization, to hire people, to create wealth and to build something that adds to the economic gestalt. I'm even for consumers being picky with their money, decidi

        • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @02:06AM (#56145996) Homepage

          If I had to define "tolerance" it would be something like "respect and kindness toward members of an outgroup".

          The Emperor summons before him Bodhidharma and asks: "Master, I have been tolerant of innumerable gays, lesbians, bisexuals, asexuals, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, transgender people, and Jews. How many Virtue Points have I earned for my meritorious deeds?"

          Bodhidharma answers: "None at all".

          The Emperor, somewhat put out, demands to know why.

          Bodhidharma asks: "Well, what do you think of gay people?"

          The Emperor answers: "What do you think I am, some kind of homophobic bigot? Of course I have nothing against gay people!"

          And Bodhidharma answers: "Thus do you gain no merit by tolerating them!"

          -- I can tolerate anything except the outgroup [slatestarcodex.com]

      • >bankrolled the anti-Gawker lawsuit

        WHy suddenly people saying that like it was a bad thing to do?

        Gawker, that piece of shit tabloid sleezy crapball yellow crap deserved to die.

        • I'm not opposed to Gawker going out of business. I am opposed to billionaires secretly funding revenge lawsuits against people who have wronged them. See also: I'm not opposed to the KKK going out of business. I am opposed to the government arresting them all just for advocating their idiocy.

    • by Craig Cruden ( 3592465 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @07:34PM (#56144862)
      Extremely well said and concise. Bringing into how we relate to people because of their personal politics (conservative vs liberal vs progressive vs socialist) is extremely toxic. If we cannot talk or do business with people that hold differing political views - the civility of society will only continue to decline.
    • Of my investors. Ever read the history of the Commodore Amiga? Jack Tramiel basically backed the engineers into a corner that let him take everything until Commodore road in and saved the day. Tech investors have a long history of screwing over start up. So yeah, I'd care who the guy voted for. Maybe I'd still risk it. But I'd be aware of the risk...
    • If you have a choice, and it costs nothing to choose ethical business partners, why do otherwise? He is not the only investor in town, especially if you are a good investment.
    • This politicization of every aspect of life is way out of hand.

      Absolutely, doing something unethical is absolutely fine if you do it for money.

    • If you're trying to set up a Conservative friendly social media or video sharing service his politics are actually a plus.

      The interesting thing is that Sam Altman is probably a libertarian type too.

      http://blog.samaltman.com/e-pu... [samaltman.com]

      You can't tell which seemingly wacky ideas are going to turn out to be right, and nearly all ideas that turn out to be great breakthroughs start out sounding like terrible ideas. So if you want a culture that innovates, you can't have a culture where you allow the concept of heresy-if you allow the concept at all, it tends to spread. When we move from strenuous debate about ideas to casting the people behind the ideas as heretics, we gradually stop debate on all controversial ideas.

      This is uncomfortable, but it's possible we have to allow people to say disparaging things about gay people if we want them to be able to say novel things about physics. Of course we can and should say that ideas are mistaken, but we can't just call the person a heretic. We need to debate the actual idea.

      Political correctness often comes from a good place-I think we should all be willing to make accommodations to treat others well. But too often it ends up being used as a club for something orthogonal to protecting actual victims. The best ideas are barely possible to express at all, and if you're constantly thinking about how everything you say might be misinterpreted, you won't let the best ideas get past the fragment stage.

      I don't know who Satoshi is, but I'm skeptical that he, she, or they would have been able to come up with the idea for bitcoin immersed in the current culture of San Francisco-it would have seemed too crazy and too dangerous, with too many ways to go wrong. If SpaceX started in San Francisco in 2017, I assume they would have been attacked for focusing on problems of the 1%, or for doing something the government had already decided was too hard. I can picture Galileo looking up at the sky and whispering "E pur si muove" here today.

      I.e. what the SJWs who infest Google and FB (and Reddit, whose board Altman was on) are scared of is that the people who have haven't drunk the Koolaid and may - horror of horrors - fund people who want to start companies who challenge their control of The Narrative.

      Odd really,

  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @06:29PM (#56144534)

    The real reason why he wants to move out of Silicon Valley is that he can't afford housing in this area. All others are just excuses.

  • in LA money is king, no matter what your views.

    In SF money is also king, but you don't have to like it.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @06:55PM (#56144676) Homepage Journal

    "I'm not sure why Peter Thiel believes he'll receive a warmer reception on the L.A. tech scene than he's had in Silicon Valley," said Tracy DiNunzio

    Who?

    chief executive officer of Tradesy

    What?

    Yeah, I'm sure he like totally cares what she thinks.

  • Is always welcoming to entrepreneurs and has no state sales tax.

    To hell with California, come to a free country where you can do just about anything you want.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @07:50PM (#56144926)

    Thiel would not be a good fit for Los Angeles. He should come to Arizona, where we love his politics and where he would appreciate the lower rents and cost of housing for workers. The Phoenix area is a burgeoning tech scene that has grown up around Arizona State, Intel, Honeywell, and a host of newer and smaller tech enterprises. Hardly a Silicon Valley yet, but he can help make it one.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @07:52PM (#56144936)

    In the end I expect it will, because most people that have or want power or money use "decency" only for virtue signalling, but do not actually believe in it. Thiel may just be more honest in his evil than others. Which, paradoxically, makes him a little less evil.

  • ... that they are intolerant of any views other than their own.

  • Tolerance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @08:39PM (#56145108)

    Why would there be an article like this?

    "Our venture and startup ecosystem is fairly left-leaning."

    So intolerant then. If Peter Thiel wouldn't be welcomed because he's not like you, what does that make you? I guess it has finally become obvious to everyone how intolerant and exclusionary "left-leaning" cultures are.

  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @08:48PM (#56145130) Homepage Journal

    So he should stay in SF and not contribute to LA tax base?

  • is another woman's badge of honor
  • by ClarkMills ( 515300 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @11:01PM (#56145538)

    Peter Thiel is a New Zealand citizen [stuff.co.nz].

    I didn't vote for him... :)

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson

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