The news that billionaire investor Peter Thiel is decamping to Los Angeles to escape the stifling political conformity of Silicon Valley won't shatter the republic, but pillars of the Valley would be wise to heed its warning.
Thiel, a hedge fund manager, reportedly has been critical of Silicon Valley-based leadership, who he says has constructed a bubble of prosperity and doesn't seek to understand how the average American family was affected by the disruption of traditional industries, free trade and over-regulation.
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He has since spent the bulk of his professional life in the Bay Area.The longstanding libertarian recently said at a debate at Stanford University that Silicon Valley is a "one-party state".
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Thiel Capital and Thiel Foundation plan to move their approximately 50 employees to Los Angeles, where they will continue to manage Thiel's personal holdings. According to the Journal, Thiel's political stance also led to a strained relationship with fellow Facebook board member Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix. Thiel discussed his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Thiel has left the boards of Zenefits and Asana, and sold most of his stake in Twilio.
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Thiel has also gained notoriety for quietly financing pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan's invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media. He became a Facebook investor in 2004 with an initial investment of $500,000 at a $5 million valuation. "That's when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you're all in one side". He has been harsher in private, criticizing Silicon Valley as "mono-cultural" and "toxic" with a high cost of living and tendency for group think, according to people familiar with his thinking.