paypal mafia

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pages: 334 words: 104,382

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

23andMe, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, Airbnb, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, California gold rush, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, gender pay gap, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, high net worth, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microservices, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, post-work, pull request, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, subscription business, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, women in the workforce

Not one of them was a woman. A photograph of the PayPal Mafia on the cover of Fortune magazine in 2007 pictures the men posing as gamblers with cigars, drinks, and a deck of cards. “It just makes me cringe that there’s not one female in that photo,” says Amy Klement. “It drives me crazy because there were some really successful women at PayPal.” While they might not have been founders, these women, she says, were written out of history. Did the mythical status the PayPal Mafia acquired perpetuate the idea that successful start-ups were founded by groups of male friends? Was PayPal somehow responsible for this notion that women couldn’t or just didn’t found companies? “They absolutely created a template because having watched what the PayPal Mafia did and how incredibly successful they were. . . .

Sacks promptly brought in Peter Thiel as a board member. Even though the valuation of Zenefits was slashed amid the cheating scandal, it still reached $2 billion. (Sacks has since left Zenefits.) And this is just a partial list. The PayPal Mafia became so dominant that in 2017 Adam Pisoni—an entrepreneur who never worked at PayPal but was recruited by Sacks to be his Yammer co-founder—cited what he called the Mafia’s “dynastic privilege” as “one of the major contributors to the lack of diversity” in Silicon Valley. “I am a product of the ‘PayPal Mafia dynasty,’” Pisoni wrote in a Medium post. “I co-founded Yammer with one of the original PayPal mafia members. Yammer had an easier time raising capital because of our PayPal connection.” Yammer, like PayPal, had an all-white, all-male founding team, which hired mostly white men from their networks early, who all in turn benefited greatly from Sacks’s Mafia ties.

“At PayPal, I would argue all of us were so young and running quickly,” Levchin says, while at Slide he made far too many “poor cultural choices.” “With benefit of hindsight, Affirm is very different,” he says. Thiel has made no such mea culpas. Indeed, in Zero to One, he embraces the term “PayPal Mafia,” a moniker that is deeply fraught with connotations of misogyny, male dominance, and the brutal exclusion of anyone outside the group. Zero to One has now been read by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, including many would-be entrepreneurs, all hoping to create their own billionaire mafia. A CRITIQUE OF MERITOCRACY Believing that they hired on merit from the start, the PayPal Mafia has evangelized that Silicon Valley epitomizes meritocracy. “If meritocracy exists anywhere on earth, it is in Silicon Valley,” David Sacks told the New York Times in 2014. This echoes Rabois’s belief that PayPal’s hiring practices were a “perfect validation of merit.”


pages: 185 words: 43,609

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Andy Kessler, Berlin Wall, cleantech, cloud computing, crony capitalism, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, life extension, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Ted Kaczynski, Tesla Model S, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor

You can’t accomplish anything meaningful by hiring an interior decorator to beautify your office, a “human resources” consultant to fix your policies, or a branding specialist to hone your buzzwords. “Company culture” doesn’t exist apart from the company itself: no company has a culture; every company is a culture. A startup is a team of people on a mission, and a good culture is just what that looks like on the inside. BEYOND PROFESSIONALISM The first team that I built has become known in Silicon Valley as the “PayPal Mafia” because so many of my former colleagues have gone on to help each other start and invest in successful tech companies. We sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. Since then, Elon Musk has founded SpaceX and co-founded Tesla Motors; Reid Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn; Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim together founded YouTube; Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons founded Yelp; David Sacks co-founded Yammer; and I co-founded Palantir.

From the start, I wanted PayPal to be tightly knit instead of transactional. I thought stronger relationships would make us not just happier and better at work but also more successful in our careers even beyond PayPal. So we set out to hire people who would actually enjoy working together. They had to be talented, but even more than that they had to be excited about working specifically with us. That was the start of the PayPal Mafia. RECRUITING CONSPIRATORS Recruiting is a core competency for any company. It should never be outsourced. You need people who are not just skilled on paper but who will work together cohesively after they’re hired. The first four or five might be attracted by large equity stakes or high-profile responsibilities. More important than those obvious offerings is your answer to this question: Why should the 20th employee join your company?

Kaczynski, Ted Karim, Jawed Karp, Alex, 11.1, 12.1 Kasparov, Garry Katrina, Hurricane Kennedy, Anthony Kesey, Ken Kessler, Andy Kurzweil, Ray last mover, 11.1, 13.1 last mover advantage lean startup, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2 Levchin, Max, 4.1, 10.1, 12.1, 14.1 Levie, Aaron lifespan life tables LinkedIn, 5.1, 10.1, 12.1 Loiseau, Bernard Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) Lord of the Rings (Tolkien) luck, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 Lucretius Lyft MacBook machine learning Madison, James Madrigal, Alexis Manhattan Project Manson, Charles manufacturing marginal cost marketing Marx, Karl, 4.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Masters, Blake, prf.1, 11.1 Mayer, Marissa Medicare Mercedes-Benz MiaSolé, 13.1, 13.2 Michelin Microsoft, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 5.1, 14.1 mobile computing mobile credit card readers Mogadishu monopoly, monopolies, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1, 7.1, 8.1 building of characteristics of in cleantech creative dynamism of new lies of profits of progress and sales and of Tesla Morrison, Jim Mosaic browser music recording industry Musk, Elon, 4.1, 6.1, 11.1, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3 Napster, 5.1, 14.1 NASA, 6.1, 11.1 NASDAQ, 2.1, 13.1 National Security Agency (NSA) natural gas natural secrets Navigator browser Netflix Netscape NetSecure network effects, 5.1, 5.2 New Economy, 2.1, 2.2 New York Times, 13.1, 14.1 New York Times Nietzsche, Friedrich Nokia nonprofits, 13.1, 13.2 Nosek, Luke, 9.1, 14.1 Nozick, Robert nutrition Oedipus, 14.1, 14.2 OfficeJet OmniBook online pet store market Oracle Outliers (Gladwell) ownership Packard, Dave Page, Larry Palantir, prf.1, 7.1, 10.1, 11.1, 12.1 PalmPilots, 2.1, 5.1, 11.1 Pan, Yu Panama Canal Pareto, Vilfredo Pareto principle Parker, Sean, 5.1, 14.1 Part-time employees patents path dependence PayPal, prf.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 8.1, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 11.1, 11.2, 12.1, 12.2, 14.1 founders of, 14.1 future cash flows of investors in “PayPal Mafia” PCs Pearce, Dave penicillin perfect competition, 3.1, 3.2 equilibrium of Perkins, Tom perk war Perot, Ross, 2.1, 12.1, 12.2 pessimism Petopia.com Pets.com, 4.1, 4.2 PetStore.com pharmaceutical companies philanthropy philosophy, indefinite physics planning, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2 progress without Plato politics, 6.1, 11.1 indefinite polling pollsters pollution portfolio, diversified possession power law, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 of distribution of venture capital Power Sellers (eBay) Presley, Elvis Priceline.com Prince Procter & Gamble profits, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 progress, 6.1, 6.2 future of without planning proprietary technology, 5.1, 5.2, 13.1 public opinion public relations Pythagoras Q-Cells Rand, Ayn Rawls, John, 6.1, 6.2 Reber, John recession, of mid-1990 recruiting, 10.1, 12.1 recurrent collapse, bm1.1, bm1.2 renewable energy industrial index research and development resources, 12.1, bm1.1 restaurants, 3.1, 3.2, 5.1 risk risk aversion Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) Romulus and Remus Roosevelt, Theodore Royal Society Russia Sacks, David sales, 2.1, 11.1, 13.1 complex as hidden to non-customers personal Sandberg, Sheryl San Francisco Bay Area savings scale, economies of Scalia, Antonin scaling up scapegoats Schmidt, Eric search engines, prf.1, 3.1, 5.1 secrets, 8.1, 13.1 about people case for finding of looking for using self-driving cars service businesses service economy Shakespeare, William, 4.1, 7.1 Shark Tank Sharma, Suvi Shatner, William Siebel, Tom Siebel Systems Silicon Valley, 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 7.1, 10.1, 11.1 Silver, Nate Simmons, Russel, 10.1, 14.1 singularity smartphones, 1.1, 12.1 social entrepreneurship Social Network, The social networks, prf.1, 5.1 Social Security software engineers software startups, 5.1, 6.1 solar energy, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4 Solaria Solyndra, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 13.5 South Korea space shuttle SpaceX, prf.1, 10.1, 11.1 Spears, Britney SpectraWatt, 13.1, 13.2 Spencer, Herbert, 6.1, 6.2 Square, 4.1, 6.1 Stanford Sleep Clinic startups, prf.1, 1.1, 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1 assigning responsibilities in cash flow at as cults disruption by during dot-com mania economies of scale and foundations of founder’s paradox in lessons of dot-com mania for power law in public relations in sales and staff of target market for uniform of venture capital and steam engine Stoppelman, Jeremy string theory strong AI substitution, complementarity vs.


pages: 176 words: 55,819

The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha

Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, late fees, lateral thinking, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

I asked two former colleagues from Socialnet, a former college classmate, and a former colleague from Fujitsu to cofound the company with me. Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois from the PayPal mafia and a few others invested in the business. A former colleague from PayPal even provided LinkedIn’s first office space. An appropriate founding for a business with the tagline RELATIONSHIPS MATTER. To recap some of the qualities of the PayPal mafia: high-quality people, a common bond, an ethos of sharing and cooperation, concentrated in a region and industry. These make it rich in opportunity flow, and the same factors make any network and association worth your while. Finally, the only thing better than joining groups is starting your own. Start your own mafia—your own group, meetup, or association with PayPal mafia characteristics. Once a year I co-organize something I call the Weekend to Be Named Later, a Franklin-inspired gathering of ambitious friends, to brainstorm ways to change the world.

After eBay acquired PayPal, the members of the PayPal executive team each moved on to new projects but stayed connected, investing in one another’s companies, hiring one another, sharing office space, and the like. There are no membership dues, no secret handshakes, no monthly meetings; just informal collaboration. Yet these connections have spawned some of the most successful projects in Silicon Valley. As a result, the group got the name “the PayPal mafia.” What is it about this network that makes it such a uniquely rich source of opportunities? First, each individual is high-quality. This is fundamental: A group is only as good as its members. The network is only as good as its nodes. Evaluate a group by evaluating the individual people. Second, the gang has something in common—the shared experience of PayPal, and the interests and values that led everyone there.


pages: 382 words: 105,819

Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee

4chan, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, income inequality, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Lean Startup, light touch regulation, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Max Levchin, Jeremy Stoppleman, and their colleagues were collectively known as the PayPal Mafia, and their impact transformed Silicon Valley. Not only did they launch Tesla, Space-X, LinkedIn, and Yelp, they provided early funding to Facebook and many other successful players. More important than the money, though, were the vision, value system, and connections of the PayPal Mafia, which came to dominate the social media generation. Validation by the PayPal Mafia was decisive for many startups during the early days of social media. Their management techniques enabled startups to grow at rates never before experienced in Silicon Valley. The value system of the PayPal Mafia helped their investments create massive wealth, but may have contributed to the blindness of internet platforms to harms that resulted from their success.

The value system of the PayPal Mafia helped their investments create massive wealth, but may have contributed to the blindness of internet platforms to harms that resulted from their success. In short, we can trace both the good and the bad of social media to the influence of the PayPal Mafia. * * * — THANKS TO LUCKY TIMING, Facebook benefitted not only from lower barriers for startups and changes in philosophy and economics but also from a new social environment. Silicon Valley had prospered in the suburbs south of San Francisco, mostly between Palo Alto and San Jose. Engineering nerds did not have a problem with life in the sleepy suburbs because many had families with children, and the ones who did not have kids did not expect to have the option of living in the city. Beginning with the dot-com bubble of the late nineties, however, the startup culture began to attract kids fresh out of school, who were not so happy with suburban life as their predecessors.

Rowe Price, 24–27 Washington Monthly essay of, 155, 159–62 Washington trips of, 111–20, 121 McSweeney, Terrell, 113–14 Médecins Sans Frontières, 178 media, 6, 17, 68, 69, 81, 105, 106, 153, 162 Medium, 47, 84 menu choices, 96 Mercer, Robert, 180–82, 197, 199 meritocracy, 44–45 Messenger, 67, 70, 85, 139, 140, 207, 232 Kids, 254 Messing with the Enemy (Watts), 94 Metcalfe’s Law, 32, 33, 36, 38 metrics, 73, 76–78, 126, 145, 206, 216 Microsoft, 25, 35, 42, 152, 154, 172–73, 261 antitrust case against, 46–47, 154–55, 286 Facebook and, 14, 15, 59–60, 65 words associated with, 231 Milk, Harvey, 22 MIT, 177 MIT Technology Review, 102 Mohan, Neal, 93 monopolies, see antitrust and monopoly issues Moonalice, 8 Facebook and, 73–75 Moore’s Law, 32, 33, 36 Morgan, Jonathon, 90 Morgan Stanley, 27, 28 Mosaic, 36, 38 Mosseri, Adam, 179 Motherboard, 229–30 Motorola, 34 MoveOn, 60, 66 Mozilla, 40 MSNBC, 133, 161 Mueller, Robert, 119, 169, 171–75 Musk, Elon, 48 Muslims, 90, 91, 126, 131, 178, 215, 254 Myanmar, 178–80, 204, 213, 215, 232, 239, 245, 254, 265, 277, 278 MySpace, 42, 55, 152 Nadella, Satya, 173 Napster, 38, 54 Narendra, Divya, 53–54 NASA, 32 Nasdaq, 71 National Venture Capital Association, 46 neoliberalism, 45, 137 Netflix, 41, 97, 105 net neutrality, 37, 120 Netscape, 27, 38, 58, 152 network effects, 47, 162, 246, 253, 284 New Knowledge, 121 news feeds, 97 Facebook, 59, 60, 68, 70, 74, 75, 88, 89, 90–91, 97, 165–66, 208–9, 243, 244, 247 News on the Web (NOW), 231 newspapers, 93, 102 Newton, Casey, 167 New York Sun, 106 New York Times, 146, 166, 180, 193, 226, 229, 282 Nielsen, 65–66 Nix, Alexander, 182, 197 notifications, 97–99, 107, 271 Nunes, Devin, 132 Obama, Barack, 90, 112, 117, 130, 166, 196, 197 Observer, 180, 181 Oculus, 139, 144, 223, 261 Onavo, 139–40 ONE campaign, 159 One Laptop per Child, 188 OpenID Connect, 158 Open Markets Institute, 136, 155, 285 open source community, 37–38, 40 Oracle, 46, 152 Orwell, George, 267 Oxford Dictionary of American English, 230–31 Page, Larry, 27 Palihapitiya, Chamath, 146–49, 152, 160 Pallone, Frank, 210 Parakilas, Sandy, 146, 161, 187–89, 191, 192, 242 Pariser, Eli, 66–67, 109 Parkland school shooting, 174 passwords and log-ins, 249–50, 271 PayPal, 48, 249 PayPal Mafia, 48 Parker, Sean, 38, 54, 55, 64, 147–49 Pearlman, Bret, 14 Pelosi, Nancy, 167, 227 personalization, 105 persuasive techniques, 17, 83–84, 96–99, 101, 106, 207, 233, 251, 257, 274 Persuasive Technology (Fogg), 83–84; see also Fogg, B. J. Pet Society, 195 Philippines, 215, 246 Pincus, Mark, 38 Pizzagate, 124–26, 130 Plaxo, 38 polarization, 89–90, 274 Politico, 211 populism, 117 pornography, 55, 228 Postman, Neil, 267 Powell, John, 25, 27, 61 power, 3 preference bubbles, 93–96, 127, 246, 255, 269, 278, 281 presidential election of 2016, 6, 11, 12, 17, 96, 125, 156, 159, 162, 165, 185, 254, 256 Facebook and, 183, 190, 232, 278; see also Cambridge Analytica; Russia and McNamee’s email to Zuckerberg and Sandberg, 4–6, 149, 152, 160–61 Russian interference with, 1, 5, 12, 62, 94, 111, 114–19, 121–33, 135, 145–46, 149, 152–54, 166, 168–72, 187, 193–94, 203, 207–8, 213, 217, 228, 244, 245, 251 price, 285 Prince, 165 privacy, see data and data privacy Procter & Gamble, 173 ProPublica, 11, 245 psychographics, 181–82, 185 public health, 82, 83, 86, 155, 156, 203, 217, 220, 227, 234, 235, 238, 253, 256, 257, 263–65, 277, 279, 281–83 behavioral addiction, 100–101, 106–7, 162, 206, 240, 246, 250, 253, 254, 257, 268, 269, 281 Facebook’s threat to, 246 Radius, 26 Reagan, Ronald, 45, 46, 137, 277 Rear Window, 1–2, 11 reciprocity, desire for, 98–99 Recode, 193 McNamee’s op-ed for, 5–7 Reddit, 102, 123 Refghi, Matt, 99 regulation, 45, 47–48, 199–203, 247, 264 antitrust, see antitrust and monopoly issues environmental, 201 of internet platforms, 201, 279–80, 282–84, 287 privacy and, 201 of technology, 47–48, 112–14, 130, 173, 201, 206, 208, 220–21, 238, 282–83 Republican Party, Republicans, 116, 117, 132, 197 Reuters, 215 Riccitiello, John, 14 Road Ahead, The (Gates), 154 Road to Unfreedom, The (Gates), 154 Robinson, Jackie, 18 Rohingya minority, 178–80, 215, 245, 254, 278 Roosevelt, Franklin, 18 Rose, Dan, 1, 6–7, 11, 152 Rubin, Andy, 282 Russia, 78, 252, 258 Facebook and, 90, 115–17, 119, 124, 126, 130–32, 145–46, 149, 152–54, 166, 168–72, 187, 193–94, 203, 207–8, 217, 228, 244, 245, 251 and hacks of Democrats’ servers, 11 and presidential election of 2016, 1, 5, 12, 62, 94, 111, 114–19, 121–33, 135, 145–46, 149, 152–54, 166, 168–72, 187, 193–94, 203, 207–8, 213, 217, 228, 244, 245, 251 secession movements and, 114–15 Trump and, 12, 111, 117 Twitter and, 122–24, 131, 169, 174 Sandberg, Sheryl, 3, 17, 28, 60–61, 67, 72, 73, 78, 144, 145, 191, 193–94, 239 Cambridge Analytica scandal and, 193–94 and criticisms of Facebook, 3, 89, 141, 146, 149, 160–61, 169, 230 and Facebook decision making and organization, 144–45, 154, 160 Facebook joined by, 5, 16, 60, 61, 64 and Facebook study on emotional contagion, 89 at Google, 61, 144 management philosophy of, 145 McGinn as personal pollster for, 167–69, 172 McNamee’s email to Zuckerberg and, 4–6, 149, 152, 160–61, 280, 297–300 Sanders, Bernie, 125, 196 Facebook Groups and, 7–8, 116 San Francisco, Calif., 20–22, 49–50 Schiff, Adam, 123, 132 Schmidt, Eric, 112 Schneiderman, Eric, 119–20 Schrage, Elliot, 144, 191 Science, 177 SCL Group, 180–82, 187 Senate, U.S.: Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 209 Google and, 282 Judiciary Committee, 128, 131, 132, 136, 209 Select Committee on Intelligence, 12, 111–12, 127, 132 Sherman Antitrust Act, 136 Signal, 271 Silicon Valley, 3, 5, 10, 15, 16, 26, 31–51, 83, 84, 104, 110, 112, 118, 130, 147, 151–52, 157, 173, 194, 197, 206, 225, 248, 253, 254, 263, 269, 274 diversity and, 45 libertarianism and, 44–45, 49 women in, 49–50 see also technology Silver Lake Partners, 28–30 Sinclair, Upton, 110 Siri, 43 SixDegrees.com, 54–55 60 Minutes, 81, 109, 161 Skype, 70 Slack, 41 Slate, 179, 186, 231 smartphones, 17, 59, 81, 84, 101, 105–8, 158, 225, 233, 250, 253, 255, 261, 265, 267, 269, 272–74 Android, 138, 204, 271, 282 checking of, 86–87, 99, 100, 257, 271 iPhone, 38, 84, 100, 105–6, 271 social apps on, 106 Snapchat, 99, 110, 140, 156, 214, 246, 253 Snyder, Timothy, 278 social graphs, 55, 70, 224, 264 social media, 38, 41, 48, 54–56, 63, 69, 102–5, 147, 153, 155, 177, 213 extreme views and, 91 human-driven, 108 mobile platforms and, 106 Social Network, The, 65 social reciprocity, 98–99 Soros, George, 159–63 World Economic Forum speech of, 159–63, 301–12 Space-X, 48 Speak & Spell, 22 Squawk Alley, 118 Sri Lanka, 178, 180, 204, 232, 239, 245, 247, 254, 277 Stamos, Alex, 119, 174, 183–84, 191–92 Standard Oil, 47, 136, 137 Stanford University, 54, 83, 107, 146–48, 160 startups, 40–41, 43, 45, 48–50, 104, 223–25, 259, 261–63, 284 lean, 41–42, 46, 48 state attorneys general, 120, 172, 227 Stein, Gertrude, 213 Stewart, Martha, 27 Steyer, Jim, 119, 156 Stoppleman, Jeremy, 48 Stretch, Colin, 131–33 suicide, 213 Summers, Larry, 60 Sun Microsystems, 26, 152 Sunstein, Cass, 90 Sybase, 26 Taylor, Bob, 34 technology, ix, 1, 9–10, 13, 31–51, 104, 106, 121, 135, 165, 177, 206, 214, 235–36, 238, 250–51, 254–55, 257, 258, 267–75, 282 addiction to, 100–101, 106–7, 162, 206, 240, 246, 250, 253, 254, 257, 268, 269, 281 business shift in, 33 changing personal usage of, 274 children and, 106, 156, 166, 237, 255, 268, 269, 272–73, 279–80 government era of, 32–33 human-driven, see human-driven technology and humane design McNamee’s investments in, 1, 7, 21, 24–30, 56–57 regulation of, 47–48, 112–14, 130, 173, 201, 206, 208, 220–21, 238, 282–83 society changed by, 10, 87 as value neutral, 129 see also Silicon Valley TED Conference, 66–67, 109–10, 111 television, 10, 17, 68, 87, 105, 106, 125–26, 158, 267, 284 terms of service, 100, 102, 114, 159, 253–54 Facebook, 97, 178, 182, 211, 253–54 terrorism, 230 Tesla, 48 Texas secession movement, 114–15 texting, 254, 255, 269, 271 Thiel, Peter, 45, 48, 54, 58, 113 3Com, 32 time sharing, 33 Time Well Spent, 108, 157 Tinder, 207, 218 transistor, 225, 226 trolls, 90, 116, 124, 126, 253 T.


pages: 304 words: 91,566

Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich

"side hustle", airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buttonwood tree, cryptocurrency, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, game design, Isaac Newton, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, offshore financial centre, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, zero-sum game

Could it be Levchin, standing at the pool table nearby? The PayPal Mafia’s goal from the beginning was to create a universal currency for the internet, but they’d fallen short, eventually selling to eBay. PayPal was by all accounts a huge financial win for Levchin and his colleagues, and a huge win for the user-friendly nature of payments on the internet, but even so, it was a payment network that ran on the existing banking rails. It hadn’t made money into a protocol—the way Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) had done with voice. PayPal still ran over the copper wires of the legacy banking system. They had changed the way people made payments. But they had not changed the world. Bitcoin had essentially picked up where the PayPal Mafia had left off. Whereas PayPal was a new saddle on the same horse, Bitcoin was an automobile.

Having interned at PayPal while still a student at Stanford, he’d gone on to work at Peter Thiel’s hedge fund, Clarium Capital, and later had cofounded Palantir Technologies with Thiel and Alex Karp. Both Lonsdale and Thiel were chess geniuses known to battle it out with each other for hours on end. Thiel himself was, of course, a Valley legend, having founded PayPal, and was considered the “don” of the “PayPal Mafia”—a group of PayPal alums who’d gone on to start a slew of world-changing companies. The group included Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), David Sacks (Yammer), Ken Howery (Founders Fund), Max Levchin (Yelp), and others. Thiel also happened to have been the first investor in Facebook; he turned a $500,000 check into a billion-dollar investment, a mind-blowing 13,000x return. At the dinner, Naval had told the twins about the company he had cofounded in 2010, called AngelList, a meeting place for investors and entrepreneurs—something Business Insider had once called “Match.com for investors.”

They were intensely interested in cryptography, protocols, and peer-to-peer networking, and coding in lower-level languages like C and C++. They were close to the bare metal, the 1s and 0s, bits and bytes, not the more user-friendly, abstracted layers. Tyler certainly recognized brilliant billionaires among them, such as Max Levchin, who had cofounded PayPal with Thiel. Levchin was credited with decimating fraud on the network in the early days, and was a leading member of the PayPal Mafia. Tyler also saw true protocol royalty in the form of Bram Cohen, who had built BitTorrent and essentially invented decentralized, peer-to-peer file sharing. Cohen was perhaps the greatest living protocol developer alive after Satoshi. Maybe, Tyler mused, he was Satoshi? And then there were fellow early Bitcoiners like Paul Bohm, an information security expert who had written one of the earliest blogs explaining Bitcoin mining; Mike Belshe, one of the first engineers to work the SPDY protocol used by Google in its Chrome browser; Matt Pauker and Balaji Srinivasan, who had cofounded a Bitcoin mining company called 21e6 (the scientific notation for the number twenty-one million, the total number of bitcoin that would ever be created); Srinivasan was also on the way to becoming the CTO of a company called Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange on a rapid rise in the industry.


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How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Nelson Mandela, Oculus Rift, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, QR code, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, social graph, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Y Combinator, young professional

They intended to build a proper financial system for the twenty-first century, eventually maybe even expanding into areas like microlending. It would certainly be a more meaningful project than the silly photo-sharing apps their classmates were building. They felt like the next generation of the PayPal Mafia, a group of roughly two dozen entrepreneurs who left PayPal after selling the company to eBay in 2002. Members of the group went on to found Tesla, SpaceX, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, and Palantir, among many other successful companies and venture capital firms. Not coincidentally, many of the members of the PayPal Mafia had studied at Stanford, often as classmates. Duplan received some money from his parents and a $15,000 grant from a summer program at the venture capital firm Highland Capital. It had become quite easy for students to raise initial funding for their startup ideas.

So he planned to start at college campuses, insular communities in which the Clinkle team could get every business signed up before launch. So, like Facebook before it, Clinkle would launch college by college and dominate these campus networks before opening up to the broader world. In the spring of 2012, Clinkle design chief Rob Ryan was a teaching assistant for a class on campus called CS 183: Startup. Peter Thiel, perhaps the crucial member of the PayPal Mafia as the company’s cofounder, taught students “how to build the future.” The course was so popular that Thiel and one of his students, Blake Masters, eventually published a book, Zero to One, based on the class and Masters’ notes.1 Thiel told the teaching assistants that they each had one golden ticket: an opportunity to pitch him their startup idea for venture capital funding. Rob signed Lucas and himself up for a half-hour slot to pitch Clinkle to Thiel at the office of Founders Fund, Thiel’s venture capital firm.

See Shonduras (Shaun McBride) McCarthy, Barry McGregor, Jena Meerkat Micallef, Amanda Miller, Erick Mills, Wyatt Minelli, Liza Mossberg, Walt MPlatco (Michael Platco) MTV Murphy, Bobby Brown lawsuit and childhood and parents on Colbert Report Future Freshman and Kappa Sigma New Year’s Eve party (2012–2013) personality and temperament at $SNAP IPO as Snapchat Chief Technical Officer Snapchat’s origins and at Stanford Venice residence See also Snapchat Musk, Elon Myspace Nasr, Raymond NBA NBC NCAA Netflix NFL Super Bowl Nike Nikolaevna, Anastasia Nissenbaum, Helen Noto, Anthony Obama, Barack Okuyiga, Julian Onavo Onavo Protect (VPN app) Oracle Oscars. See Academy Awards Ouimet, Kirk Page, Larry Palantir Pandora Panzarino, Matthew patents PayPal PayPal Mafia Peanuts Movie, The (film) People (magazine) Pereira, Michaela Periscope (app) Perry, Katy Philips, Dennis photography front-facing cameras Platco, Michael. See MPlatco (Michael Platco) Poke (Facebook app) Polaroid camera pornography Powell, Amy Primack, Dan Qualcomm Quinn, David Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan QR codes Snapcode Randall, Mike Recode Red Bull Reid, L. A.


pages: 222 words: 70,132

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

The original mission of the Internet was hijacked by a small group of right-wing radicals to whom the ideas of democracy and decentralization were anathema. By the late 1980s, starting with eventual PayPal founder Peter Thiel’s class at Stanford University, the dominant philosophy of Silicon Valley would be based far more heavily on the radical libertarian ideology of Ayn Rand than the commune-based principles of Ken Kesey and Stewart Brand. Thiel, who was also an early investor in Facebook and is the godfather of what he proudly calls the PayPal Mafia, which currently rules Silicon Valley, has been clear about his credo, stating, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” More important, Thiel says that if you want to create and capture lasting value, you should look to build a monopoly. Three of the companies that have played the largest role in imperiling artists are clear monopolies. Google has an 88 percent market share in online searches and search advertising.

From the start, PayPal was pitched as a libertarian philosophy project, an effort to disrupt the credit card–banking system by offering an alternative way to make online payments. PayPal was also committed from the outset to avoiding government intrusion: Thiel does not believe in regulation, paying taxes, or guarding copyright. In addition, PayPal spawned a number of start-ups run by the young men of the PayPal Mafia, who founded YouTube, LinkedIn, Yelp, Palantir, and many other companies. It’s important to understand that while libertarian philosophy may have been regarded as a fringe movement in American politics, epitomized by Ron Paul followers, it has become the mainstream economic philosophy for both Silicon Valley and the Republican Party, thanks to the Koch brothers. The libertarian belief that the supremacy of the free market is the natural order of things is in reality nothing more than an “imagined order,” which the historian Yuval Noah Harari defines in his book Sapiens as the shared myths we use to induce cooperation.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

execbios. 178 “come to Google because they choose to”: Greg Jarboe, “A ‘Fireside Chat’ with Google’s Sergey Brin,” Search Engine Watch, Oct. 16, 2003, accessed Dec. 16,2010, http://searchenginewatch.com/3081081. 178 “the future will be personalized”: Gord Hotckiss, “Just Behave: Google’s Marissa Mayer on Personalized Search,” Searchengineland, Feb. 23, 2007, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://searchengineland.com/just-behave-googles-marissa-mayer-on-personalized-search-10592. 179 “It’s technology, not business or government”: David Kirpatrick, “With a Little Help from his Friends,” Vanity Fair (Oct. 2010), accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/10/sean-parker-201010. 179 “seventh kingdom of life”: Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants (New York: Viking, 2010). 180 “shirt or fleece that I own”: Mark Zuckerberg, remarks to Startup School Conference, XConomy, Oct. 18, 2010, accessed Feb. 8, 2010, www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2010/10/18/mark-zuckerberg-goes-to-startup-school-video//. 181 “ ‘the rest of the world is wrong’ ”: David A. Wise and Mark Malseed, The Google Story (New York: Random House, 2005), 42. 182 “tradeoffs with success in other domains”: Jeffrey M. O’Brien, “The PayPal Mafia,” Fortune, Nov. 14, 2007, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://money.cnn.com/2007/11/13/magazines/fortune/paypal_mafia.fortune/index2.htm. 183 sold to eBay for $1.5 billion: Troy Wolverton, “It’s official: eBay Weds PayPal,” CNET News, Oct. 3, 2002, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://news.cnet.com/Its-official-eBay-weds-PayPal/2100-1017_3-960658.html. 183 “impact and force change”: Peter Thie, “Education of a Libertarian,” Cato Unbound, Apr. 13, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/the-education-of-a-libertarian. 183 “end the inevitability of death and taxes”: Chris Baker, “Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap,” Wired, Jan. 19, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/magazine/17-02/mf_seasteading?


pages: 269 words: 77,876

Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit From Global Chaos by Sarah Lacy

Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, BRICs, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Firefox, income per capita, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, megacity, Network effects, paypal mafia, QWERTY keyboard, risk tolerance, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game

For seven years he’d been tel ing the world what a great opportunity genealogy was, al the while having to scrimp, save, and give up most of his equity to keep his company in business. Here came a guy who knew nothing about genealogy and had a brand-new site worth $100 mil ion? The company was two months old! How was that possible? It was possible, because it was Sacks, a wel -connected member of the so-cal ed PayPal mafia. The former founders and executives from PayPal had their fingerprints al over the burgeoning U.S. Web 2.0 movement. They had founded LinkedIn, Slide, Yelp, YouTube, and now Geni, and they had invested in Facebook, Digg, and others. Sacks had two big advantages—he knew how to turn the wonky academic science of genealogy into a sexy social Web application, and he knew how to play the venture game.

“Do you real y think we won’t even be worth $20 mil ion? Worst case they double their money.” It was an argument Japhet could barely make sense of, much less make to potential investors. While Geni’s whopper of a deal did a lot to validate this market, Japhet and his investors could only think of one thing: the MetaCafe curse. The Israeli Web scene had seen this movie before, and this time the wel -funded U.S. competitor was from the PayPal mafia again! In the Web 2.0 world, better usability beats better technology— every time. And it was looking like Israelis just couldn’t cut it in this new design-centric world. If MyHeritage was going to make it, Japhet was going to have to figure out how to make an attractive, intuitive Web site—and fast. He raised some $15 mil ion more in venture capital and acquired three smal er genealogy companies steeped in the Web arts of user experience, so-cal ed virality, and design.


pages: 370 words: 129,096

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

addicted to oil, Burning Man, cleantech, digital map, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, global supply chain, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, money market fund, multiplanetary species, optical character recognition, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

DEDICATION For Mum and Dad. Thanks for Everything. CONTENTS DEDICATION 1 ELON’S WORLD 2 AFRICA 3 CANADA 4 ELON’S FIRST START-UP 5 PAYPAL MAFIA BOSS 6 MICE IN SPACE PHOTOGRAPHIC INSERT 7 ALL ELECTRIC 8 PAIN, SUFFERING, AND SURVIVAL 9 LIFTOFF 10 THE REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR 11 THE UNIFIED FIELD THEORY OF ELON MUSK EPILOGUE APPENDIX 1 APPENDIX 2 APPENDIX 3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS NOTES ABOUT THE AUTHOR ALSO BY ASHLEE VANCE CREDITS COPYRIGHT ABOUT THE PUBLISHER 1 ELON’S WORLD DO YOU THINK I’M INSANE?” This question came from Elon Musk near the very end of a long dinner we shared at a high-end seafood restaurant in Silicon Valley. I’d gotten to the restaurant first and settled down with a gin and tonic, knowing Musk would—as ever—be late. After about fifteen minutes, Musk showed up wearing leather shoes, designer jeans, and a plaid dress shirt.

He had a decent idea, turned it into a real service, and came out of the dot-com tumult with cash in his pockets, which was better than what many of his compatriots could say. The process had been painful. Musk had yearned to be a leader, but the people around him struggled to see how Musk as the CEO could work. As far as Musk was concerned, they were all wrong, and he set out to prove his point with what would end up being even more dramatic results. 5 PAYPAL MAFIA BOSS THE SALE OF ZIP2 INFUSED ELON MUSK WITH A NEW BRAND OF CONFIDENCE. Much like the video-game characters he adored, Musk had leveled up. He had solved Silicon Valley and become what everyone at the time wanted to be—a dot-com millionaire. His next venture would need to live up to his rapidly inflating ambition. This left Musk searching for an industry that had tons of money and inefficiencies that he and the Internet could exploit.

Another set of people—including Reid Hoffman, Thiel, and Botha—emerged as some of the technology industry’s top investors. PayPal staff pioneered techniques in fighting online fraud that have formed the basis of software used by the CIA and FBI to track terrorists and of software used by the world’s largest banks to combat crime. This collection of super-bright employees has become known as the PayPal Mafia—more or less the current ruling class of Silicon Valley—and Musk is its most famous and successful member. Hindsight also continues to favor Musk’s unbridled vision over the more cautious pragmatism of executives at Zip2 and PayPal. Had it chased consumers as Musk urged, Zip2 may have ended up as a blockbuster mapping and review service. As for PayPal, an argument can still be made that the investors sold out too early and should have listened more to Musk’s demands to remain independent.


pages: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

Homeless people would get twenty-four hours to either move to a shelter or get a bus ticket out of town. If they didn’t comply, the cops could seize their tents and belongings. The problem was that San Francisco had only nineteen hundred shelter beds, but four thousand people were living on the streets. Nevertheless, the proposition passed. In 2017, the cops started sweeping people off the streets. Ayn Rand and the PayPal Mafia One day in May 2018, the police in Laguna Beach, California, published a set of photographs from a car accident: a Tesla Model S sedan, operating in autopilot mode, had crossed the center line and smashed into a parked police SUV. The photos of the Laguna Beach crash seemed like a perfect metaphor for what the new Masters of the Universe are doing to society: turning loose a bunch of half-baked ideas to careen around and smash into things, all in the name of progress.

In 2018, Congressman Keith Ellison published an open letter warning Musk that retaliating against workers for trying to form a union “isn’t just morally wrong—it’s against the law.” Tesla has been hit with numerous worker complaints and lawsuits, including three in 2017 by black workers who said they had been subjected to racist behavior and racist slurs. One complaint described Tesla’s factory as “a hotbed of racist behavior.” Musk made his first fortune as a co-founder of PayPal, whose alumni, known as the “PayPal Mafia,” have since founded other successful tech companies and/or become venture capitalists. Many of them have known each other since their student days at Stanford in the 1990s. In their current roles they exert outsize influence on the workplace culture of Silicon Valley. The problem is some of them don’t seem like the nicest people. One billionaire oligarch, Keith Rabois, a PayPal alum who now works as a venture capitalist, commands start-up founders who take his money to embrace an extreme version of workaholism—they’re not supposed to take vacations.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The factory hands at Teradata and Accenture don’t just punch a clock; they too are known to have a great notion from time to time. Still, the archetypes are helpful as a way to appreciate the roles that different firms play. Today’s pioneers of big data often come from disparate backgrounds and cross-apply their data skills in a wide variety of areas. A new generation of angel investors and entrepreneurs is emerging, notably from among ex-Googlers and the so-called PayPal Mafia (the firm’s former leaders like Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Max Levchin). They, along with a handful of academic computer scientists, are some of the biggest backers of today’s data-infused startups. The creative vision of individuals and firms in the big data food-chain helps us reassess the worth of companies. For instance, Salesforce.com may not simply be a useful platform for firms to host their corporate applications: it is also well placed to unleash value from the data that flows atop its infrastructure.

See also big data; data; information in European Union, [>] government and, [>]–[>] in Great Britain, [>] Obama on, [>] public nature of, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] World Bank and, [>] Open Data Institute, [>] Open Knowledge Foundation, [>] O’Reilly, Tim, [>] Orwell, George: 1984, [>], [>] Pacioli, Luca: and double-entry bookkeeping, [>]–[>] Page, Larry, [>] Palfrey, John, [>] Parise, Brian, [>] parole boards: use predictive analytics, [>] Pasteur, Louis: and rabies vaccine, [>]–[>] “PayPal Mafia,” [>] Pearl, Judea, [>] Pentland, Sandy, [>], [>] Physical Geography of the Sea, The (Maury), [>]–[>] Picasso, Pablo, [>] Pinterest, [>] police: use predictive analytics, [>], [>]–[>], [>] police state: East Germany as, [>], [>], [>] Power of Habit, The (Duhigg), [>]–[>] precision. See exactitude predictive analytics, [>], [>]. See also correlation analysis; data analysis big data and, [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>] Department of Homeland Security uses, [>] vs. free will, [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>] in health care, [>]–[>], [>] in insurance industry, [>]–[>] in Iraq War, [>] in mechanical & structural failure, [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] parole boards use, [>] police use, [>], [>]–[>], [>] in profiling, [>] punishment based on, [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>] in sports, [>]–[>], [>] by Target, [>]–[>] and terrorism, [>], [>]–[>], [>] by UPS, [>] predictive policing, [>] and crime prevention, [>]–[>] price-prediction: for consumer products, [>]–[>], [>] PriceStats, [>] printing press: socioeconomic effects of, [>], [>], [>]–[>] Prismatic: analyzes online media, [>]–[>] privacy: and anonymization, [>]–[>] and big data, [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] and cell phone data, [>], [>] Google and, [>]–[>] and Internet, [>]–[>] laws protecting, [>], [>] and notice & consent, [>], [>], [>]–[>] Ohm on, [>] and opting out, [>], [>] and personal data, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] profiling: and guilt by association, [>]–[>] predictive analytics in, [>] progress: as concept, [>]–[>] Project Gutenberg, [>] proxies: in correlation analysis, [>]–[>], [>], [>] Ptolemy: Geographia, [>] public health: reporting system limitations, [>]–[>] punch cards: Hollerith and, [>], [>] punishment: based on predictive analytics, [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>] quality control: statistical sampling in, [>] Quantcast, [>] quantification.


Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity by Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore, Elizabeth Truss

Airbnb, banking crisis, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, clockwatching, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, demographic dividend, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, fear of failure, glass ceiling, informal economy, James Dyson, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, long peace, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Neil Kinnock, new economy, North Sea oil, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, pension reform, price stability, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

This intelligent approach to risk means that in a system essentially built around taking chances, the odds are going to be stacked in the investor’s favour. It is not just venture capital funds that take risks on investing outside of traditional banking structures. Successful founders often invest their newfound wealth into the next generation of start-ups, combining mentorship and money in a new role as an angel investor. Members of the so-called ‘PayPal Mafia’ have gone on to invest in YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, SpaceX, Zynga and Flickr, among many, many others. A similar model seems to be emerging in Wenzhou, China, home to 140,000 companies, and considered the home of Chinese enterprise culture. Small businesses frequently found themselves struggling to find loans from Chinese banks, who prefer to lend to the larger state-backed enterprises that typify the Chinese model of capitalism.39 So instead, entrepreneurs in Wenzhou turned to each other for loans to grow their businesses, building a thriving market for private credit, providing credit in places where state enterprise would otherwise suffocate small and medium enterprises.


pages: 169 words: 56,250

Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld

barriers to entry, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, G4S, Grace Hopper, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, minimum viable product, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, place-making, pre–internet, Richard Florida, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, text mining, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

When someone leaves town, they are missed, and celebrated every time they come through for a visit. Although some communities have factions, over time the short-term benefit of the factions are often outweighed by porous boundaries. If you study places like Silicon Valley, you see a continual shift of people from one subset of the community to another, and, for some reason, these subsets have come to be called “mafias.” At moments in time you might have a Yahoo! mafia, PayPal mafia, a Google mafia, or a Facebook mafia. Although the members of each mafia share a common set of experiences, they also co-mingle as new companies are created and subsequently acquired by other companies. Although the personal relationships may have short-term complexities, the participants who take a longer view, who embrace their specific mafia, but also encourage and participate in porous boundaries between these mafias, end up playing the best long-term game.


The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara

"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K

“Individuals must strike out and set their own destinies, free from both the historical cultures of the past and the newer multiculture.”20 Thiel, Rabois, and Sacks all did exactly that: striking out into tech, and ultimately striking it very, very rich. They did not do so as individuals, however, but as an immensely powerful network of men Thiel had brought together in his many years at the Review and who, armed with their Stanford degrees and their well-worn copies of Ayn Rand, set out together to remake the brave new world of the Valley’s Internet economy. Within a decade, the core group would be multimillionaires known as the PayPal Mafia, after the online-payment company they founded was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. Nearly all went on to found and invest in other major tech hits. Stanford’s campus wars burned hot for only a few years, but they had lasting resonance. For the young people zooming on their bicycles through the sun-dappled quads in the late 1980s and early 1990s were the same people who would found and build some of the richest and most influential companies of the Valley’s late 1990s and 2000s.

They picked winners, and because of the accumulated experience and connections in the Valley, those they picked often won.24 Keeping the networks tight and personal was a critical part of Silicon Valley’s ability to keep the flywheel turning, to move from chips to micros to dot-com to the next Web without dropping the pace. VC had always been a men’s world, but the post-2000 elite—with its overrepresentation from the overwhelmingly male worlds of Google, Facebook, and the enterprises founded by the PayPal Mafia—was even more so. The business of entrepreneurship and VC took place not only in boardrooms and cubicles but over beers and peanuts at Antonio’s Nut House, breakfast at Hobee’s or Buck’s, late-night coding sessions and poker games, on forty-mile bicycle rides along Skyline Drive. It was a wonderful world if you were in it, and a tough place to hack into if you didn’t have the time, the money, the poker skills, or the $10,000 bike.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Peter Thiel told his co-founders (Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Luke Nosek, Max Levchin and Chad Hurley) and employees that they all should work together as friends rather than more formally as employees. Looking back, perhaps friendship was PayPal’s MTP. Not only was PayPal very successful as a company—it was sold to eBay for $1.2 billion—but the friendships that grew out of it were equally successful. The original team is now known as the “PayPal Mafia,” and its members have helped one another on subsequent startups, including Tesla, YouTube, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yelp, Yammer and Palantir—companies that today have a total market cap of more than $60 billion. The pace of growth of an ExO requires an extra emphasis on a fully synergistic core team. As Arianna Huffington says, “I would rather have somebody much less brilliant and who’s a team player, who’s straightforward, than somebody who is very brilliant and toxic to the organization.”


pages: 245 words: 83,272

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Firefox, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, natural language processing, PageRank, payday loans, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Saturday Night Live, school choice, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, the High Line, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

Like Barlow, Thiel conceives of cyberspace as a stateless country: “Because there are no truly free places left in our world, I suspect that the mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country; and for this reason I have focused my efforts on new technologies that may create a new space for freedom.”22 Thiel was a supporter of and advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and funded a lawsuit that took down Gawker. In the book Move Fast and Break Things, Annenberg Innovation Lab director emeritus Jonathan Taplin explores the way that Thiel’s influence has spread throughout Silicon Valley via his “Paypal Mafia,” other venture capitalists and executives who have adopted his anarcho-capitalist philosophy.23 The question of why wealthy people like Thiel are taken seriously about seasteading or aliens has been addressed by cognitive scientists. Paul Slovic, an expert in risk assessment, writes that we have cognitive fallacies related to expertise. We tend to assume that when people are experts at one thing, their expertise extends to other areas as well.24 This is why people assume that because Turing was right about math, he was also right in his assessments of how society works.


pages: 307 words: 90,634

Insane Mode: How Elon Musk's Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, business climate, car-free, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, connected car, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, Nikolai Kondratiev, oil shale / tar sands, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, South China Sea, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Zipcar

Byton—backed by China’s Tencent, Foxconn, and the China Harmony New Energy auto retailer group—has an office in Mountain View, as does Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-sharing company in which Apple invested $1 billion. Many of these companies have taken not just inspiration but also talent from Tesla. Part of the value of an innovation cluster like Silicon Valley lies in the dispersal of intellectual labor from one node to the next. For instance, PayPal is well known in the Valley for producing a number of high performers who left the company to start, join, or invest in others. The so-called PayPal Mafia includes Reid Hoffman, who founded LinkedIn; Max Levchin, whose most recent of several start-ups is the financial services company Affirm; Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member and President Trump–supporting venture capitalist who cofounded “big data” company Palantir; Jeremy Stoppelman, who started reviews site Yelp; Keith Rabois, who was chief operating officer at Square and then joined Khosla Ventures; David Sacks, who sold Yammer to Microsoft for $1.2 billion and later became CEO at Zenefits; Jawed Karim, who cofounded YouTube; and one Elon Musk.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

Indeed, a significant part of the strategy of intangible-rich companies is combining and managing their intangibles in such a way as to minimize the spillovers and maximize the benefits they get from them. Someone who is unusually honest about the lengths businesses go to in order to stop others benefiting from their lovingly created intangibles is venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, the so-called don of Silicon Valley’s PayPal Mafia. Thiel’s refreshingly candid book on entrepreneurship Zero to One makes it clear that the way to create very valuable start-ups is to create businesses that, as far as possible, have monopoly positions in big markets. In Thiel’s management philosophy, you create these defensible opportunities by investing in the right sorts of software, marketing, and networks of customers and suppliers (three classic intangibles) and by bringing them together in ways that competitors find hard to copy.


pages: 328 words: 96,141

Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race by Tim Fernholz

Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, business climate, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, multiplanetary species, mutually assured destruction, new economy, nuclear paranoia, paypal mafia, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pets.com, planetary scale, private space industry, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, trade route, undersea cable, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize, Y2K

There could be a virtuous cycle: if the cost of space access fell enough to make new businesses possible in orbit, there would be more money to invest in lowering the cost to access space. It was an attitude he had developed as an entrepreneur in the early days of the internet boom. Not many had thought that a new way of paying for goods and services on the internet was necessary in 1999. But Musk and the other members of the so-called PayPal Mafia—many of whom, like the investors Peter Thiel and Luke Nosek, would also back SpaceX—were not deterred. Once they had built their simple tool for exchanging money safely over the emerging consumer web, other entrepreneurs found ways to use it. The ability to exchange money online became the basis for a whole new economy. When the auction site eBay paid $1.5 billion for PayPal in 2002, Musk’s share of the proceeds provided him with the fortune to find new markets—including in space.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

He says, “I don’t aspire to nor do I feel like our circle of friends will truly settle anywhere; we are constantly going between the San Francisco–Boston–New York–DC corridor domestically and then large emerging market cities. Home for me isn’t a place but rather a feeling—a feeling best felt when near family or with close friends.” Today Sheel is the youngest venture capitalist with a senior role at a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm. His brother, Sujay, matriculated at Harvard as a 15-year-old and stayed for five semesters before accepting a Thiel Fellowship. The fellowship, set up by PayPal Mafia alum Peter Thiel, gives young college students $100,000 to drop out of college and focus on entrepreneurship. Sujay moved out west and became the chief operating officer of Hired.com (an online marketplace where companies compete for engineering talent) and a vice president at a mobile entertainment network. He recently decided to go back to school to finish up an environmental science and public policy degree at Harvard.


pages: 380 words: 109,724

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

I’m not denying that venture capital is often a necessary ingredient for innovation, or that it hasn’t enabled or supported the existence of many worthy enterprises that contribute positively to society and enhance all of our lives. But any time you have a group that is held so high on a pedestal—and swimming in so much wealth—it’s inevitable that at least a portion of those individuals are going to end up developing a bit of a God complex. Consider someone like Peter Thiel, one of the infamous “PayPal Mafia,” and among the first seed investors in Facebook, who went on to launch Palantir and the prominent VC firm Founders Fund. Thiel is a Trump supporter and libertarian who is critical of government and even education: Each year, he famously offers hundreds of thousands of dollars to encourage students to drop out of college and start companies instead. One of his strange obsessions is the desire to cheat death.


pages: 441 words: 113,244

Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity From Politicians by Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, addicted to oil, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Celtic Tiger, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, Dean Kamen, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, financial intermediation, Gini coefficient, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, paypal mafia, peak oil, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, price stability, profit motive, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, stem cell, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, undersea cable, young professional

Peter was most famously the first outside investor in Facebook, but he was also an early investor in companies that have since become household names, such as LinkedIn, Friendster, Causes, Zynga, Yammer, and Yelp, as well as the health care start-ups Practice Fusion and Zocdoc, and hard-science start-ups including Space X. The “Midas touch investor” has also earned a reputation as kingmaker. Fortune magazine reported: “Among students of business, PayPal may be known less for its own success than for the subsequent achievements of the people Thiel helped attract to build it. Those [thirteen] individuals, now known as the PayPal mafia, went on to launch a raft of companies that have become household names, including at least seven now valued at more than $1 billion.” Those seven would be Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Palantir, LinkedIn, Yammer, YouTube, and Yelp. Peter is perpetually preoccupied with how humanity is going to solve global challenges. He started the Thiel Foundation, which supports the Human Rights Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), and the SENS Research Foundation charity for extending healthy life spans, as well as Breakout Labs, which funds ambitious science and technology research still in its nascent stages and unlikely to find traditional sources of funding.


pages: 499 words: 144,278

Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 4chan, 8-hour work day, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, call centre, cellular automata, Chelsea Manning, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, don't repeat yourself, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, illegal immigration, ImageNet competition, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Larry Wall, lone genius, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, microservices, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Nicholas Carr, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, planetary scale, profit motive, ransomware, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, sorting algorithm, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, the High Line, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

In a sign of the times, the meritocratic ideal in Silicon Valley has come under more scrutiny of late. Consider the case of PayPal: It was, quite genuinely, an example of smart and relentless work by people like Levchin and his gang of sharp and intense developers, designers, and marketers. After all, plenty of other payment systems failed. PayPal plugged on. The early hires wound up rich and influential; the company minted what’s known as the “PayPal Mafia,” a group of millionaires who became even wealthier and more influential as they invested in the next generation of tech firms, like Facebook and Uber. But as Emily Chang, the author of Brotopia, points out, PayPal—like many of those early start-ups—was hardly the pure meritocracy many of its founders claimed it to be. For one, the company didn’t actually hire people based purely on how talented they were.


We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, East Village, game design, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, uber lyft, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

“That was actually good, because I don’t think I’m qualified to run a large company,” Wong recalled. “So it was like, ‘All right, technically I could lead a company about this size.’” His attitude read as humility, due perhaps to Wong’s credentials: He was basically Silicon Valley royalty. Facebook engineers were becoming well respected, and on top of that, Wong was a member of the so-called PayPal Mafia, the exclusive club of PayPal employees who became legends not just for constructing that payments infrastructure, but also for what they’d gone on to accomplish; Wong’s former coworkers had founded Palantir, LinkedIn, Yelp, Yammer, YouTube, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX. Others had become venture capitalists who invested in their former colleagues’ companies, along with Facebook and Zynga. It was a web of friendship and money.


The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin

3D printing, 9 dash line, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, British Empire, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Masdar, mass incarceration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, new economy, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, peak oil, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

They sought a “green recovery”—governments’ taking advantage of the crisis to reorient their energy mix away from oil and gas and hasten what they saw as the coming energy transition. ROADMAP Chapter 37 THE ELECTRIC CHARGE The lunch in a Los Angeles seafood restaurant in 2003 was not going well. Two engineers, J. B. Straubel and Harold Rosen, were pitching Elon Musk. An entrepreneur of iron-man determination, Musk was already known as one of the original members of the “PayPal Mafia,” who had launched the online payment system, and then as the founder of SpaceX, which was aiming to undercut the government’s cost for space transportation and pave the interplanetary path for travel to Mars. The engineers were pitching Musk on something that would operate at a lower altitude—an electric airplane. “That’s not going to work,” interrupted Musk. “I have zero interest.” An awkward silence ensued.


pages: 559 words: 169,094

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, big-box store, citizen journalism, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Journalism, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shock, paypal mafia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, smart grid, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, urban planning, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, white picket fence, zero-sum game

At the IPO party, Thiel took on a dozen employees simultaneously in a round of speed chess. In 2002, PayPal became the method of payment for more than half of eBay’s auction customers, and after doing everything possible to create a more successful alternative, eBay purchased PayPal in October for $1.5 billion. Thiel quit the same day, walking away with $55 million on his $240,000 investment. What came to be called the PayPal mafia went on to found a lot of successful companies: YouTube, LinkedIn, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Yelp, Yammer, Slide … Thiel moved out of his one-bedroom apartment in Palo Alto to a condo in the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. Within a week of leaving PayPal, he started a new fund called Clarium Capital Management. The end of his career as the CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up marked the start of his life as a technology mogul. 1999 WILD RIDE TO THE TURN OF THE CENTURY … ELOQUENT CLINTON ALLY CHOSEN TO GIVE CLOSING ARGUMENT … when you hear somebody say, “This is not about sex,” it’s about … Bill and Hillary Clinton are experimenting with a trial separation, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.… Party like it’s 1999.


pages: 611 words: 188,732

Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Byte Shop, cognitive dissonance, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Elon Musk, frictionless, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, nuclear winter, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, popular electronics, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, The Hackers Conference, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, tulip mania, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

The Alto is, arguably, the first real personal computer and, inarguably, the inspiration for Apple’s Macintosh. In 2009 he was awarded computing’s highest honor: the A. M. Turing Award—and is one of the few without a PhD to have ever received it. Thacker died in 2017. Peter Thiel was an outspoken campus conservative at Stanford who went on to found PayPal at the height of the dot-com bubble. PayPal was quickly absorbed by eBay but the core team behind it, the so-called PayPal mafia, is still regarded with awe and even fear in the Valley. Thiel was a very early investor in Facebook, and just about the only Silicon Valley figure to voice support for Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Clive Thompson is a journalist specializing in science and technology. He is the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better. His next book will explore the distinctive thought processes of computer programmers.


pages: 706 words: 202,591

Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy

active measures, Airbnb, Airbus A320, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, Oculus Rift, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sexual politics, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social software, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Y2K

Hoffman figured that Thiel might be sufficiently impressed to lead the round. If not, Hoffman figured, he’d step up himself. Criticism or not, he wasn’t going to pass on this opportunity. Thiel was head of the Founders Fund, an investment firm he started after leaving the company that made his own fortune, PayPal. (Besides Hoffman, other veterans of that payment company included Tesla founder Elon Musk and entrepreneur Max Levchin. They would become known as the PayPal mafia because of their undue influence—in both investing and philosophy—on Silicon Valley thereafter.) Thiel didn’t name his fund by accident: he believes that the prime indicator of a successful company is a driven, iconoclastic founder, the kind of person who perseveres even when others think they are utterly insane. He also favors businesses that aim to utterly dominate the field they compete in; his dream investment is a firm shooting for monopoly power in its market.