Peter Thiel is an American entrepreneur, hedge fund manager and venture capitalist. He is Clarium’s President and the Chairman of the firm’s investment committee, which oversees the firm’s research, investment, and trading strategies. Before starting Clarium, Peter served as Chairman and CEO of PayPal, an Internet company he co-founded in December 1998 and was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002.
Prior to founding PayPal, Peter ran Thiel Capital Management , the predecessor to Clarium, which started with $1 million under management in 1996. Peter began his financial career as a derivatives trader at CS Financial Products, after practicing securities law at Sullivan & Cromwell.
In addition to managing Clarium, Peter is active in a variety of philanthropic and educational pursuits; he sits on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Research Institute, the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School, and is an adviser to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Peter received a BA in Philosophy from Stanford University and a JD from Stanford Law School. He is self-described libertarian and a minority investor in Big Think.
Question: What is a question everyone should be asking themselves?
Peter Thiel: I would focus on a set of individual questions.
“What can I do that makes sense in this broad context of this extraordinary world in the next 20, 30, 40 years?”
“What will I do that will be successful and contribute in a meaningful way towards good globalization?”--which I think is the key challenge of the 21st century.
It could be in the technology domain. It could be in the public policy domain. It could be personal, professionally. But I think that’s the frame.
And I think it would be good for people to think about the long term horizon so to speak; frame it, “Where do I see myself in 30 years, 40 years, 50 years?” I think people don’t ask that enough.
Recorded on: September 5, 2007