Silicon Valley has “jumped the shark,” according to one highly controversial industry veteran.
At the New York Times' DealBook conference in New York on Thursday, political activist, venture capitalist, and serial entrepreneur Peter Thiel took the stage to argue that the Bay Area, once the hub of disruption and innovation in the tech space, has deteriorated into an environment where "groupthink" is stifling creativity, as outlined by CNBC.
Groupthink, Politics Fuel Silicon Valley's Downslide
The Founders Fund partner, who co-founded fintech industry pioneer PayPal Inc. (PYPL) with a handful of other legendary tech names in 1999, and was later an early investor in Facebook Inc. (FB), says the power in Silicon Valley has become too concentrated, thwarting the creation of fresh ideas.
“If you have breakthrough innovation, if you’re able to do something that’s incredibly new, that’s often something a small, or startup company, is better at," said Thiel, as cited by Axios. “With respect to consumer internet, which has been the big area in tech for 25 years, it's been the single area that's dominated all others, perhaps there aren't as many big breakthroughs left in consumer internet... The big ideas have been tried."
He blames part of his perceived "madness of crowds" to Silicon Valley's politically charged climate, in which he believes it too far skewed to the right.
Thiel, an outspoken supporter of President Trump, moved his primary home to Los Angeles and one of his venture firms Mithril Capital to Austin, TX, after criticizing the "one-party state" feel in Silicon Valley, where both were located. The billionaire angel investor is somewhat of a lone wolf among high profile tech business moguls, with many criticizing his bold opinions, such as Netflix Inc. (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings, who referred to Thiel's "catastrophically bad judgment."
He expects Trump to win re-election in 2020, as long as the economy is "in a boom." If not, he will have challenges, said Thiel, who funneled another $250,000 into Trump's fundraising committee this summer. The investor defended "the inaccuracies President Trump tells" as "exaggerations of the truth."