Donald Trump's sole Silicon Valley supporter, Peter Thiel, has been notoriously media shy (recall he personally funded the destruction of Gawker for "outing" him), so when the NYT's Maureen Dowd posted an extensive interview with the Paypal cofounder and first Facebook investor, many were curious for insight into his thinking. In the interview, Thiel spoke candidly about how he views the world, just a week before Trump's inauguration, and while he touched on many topics, some that stood out to us were the following.
On why rich people and hedge fund managers changed their opinion of Trump virtually overnight:
“Somehow, I think Silicon Valley got even more spun up than Manhattan. There were hedge fund people I spoke to about a week after the election. They hadn’t supported Trump. But all of a sudden, they sort of changed their minds. The stock market went up, and they were like, ‘Yes, actually, I don’t understand why I was against him all year long.’”
It remains to be seen what "they" think of Trump once the market suffers its next correction.
Theil also discussed Apple, and when asked if the age of Apple is over, he confirmed:
"We know what a smartphone looks like and does. It’s not the fault of Tim Cook, but it’s not an area where there will be any more innovation."
Speaking about the Billy Bush sex tape, Thiel said that Silicon Valley is "hyper-politically correct about sex" simply because "people there just don't have that much sex."
“On the one hand, the tape was clearly offensive and inappropriate. At the same time, I worry there’s a part of Silicon Valley that is hyper-politically correct about sex. One of my friends has a theory that the rest of the country tolerates Silicon Valley because people there just don’t have that much sex. They’re not having that much fun.”
Some other key highlights from the interview, courtesy of BI.
On reconciling being gay with the perception that Trump's administration will pursue an anti-LGBT agenda:
“You know, maybe I should be worried but I’m not that worried about it. I don’t know. People know too many gay people. There are just all these ways I think stuff has just shifted. For speaking at the Republican convention, I got attacked way more by liberal gay people than by conservative Christian people.
On the concerns that Trump might provoke a war with his Twitter account:
“A Twitter war is not a real war."
On whether Russia is behind the hacks on the Democratic National Committee:
“There’s a strong circumstantial case that Russia did this thing. On the other hand, I was totally convinced that there were W.M.D.s in Iraq in 2002, 2003.”
On Twitter's role in the election:
“I think the crazy thing is, at a place like Twitter, they were all working for Trump this whole year even though they thought they were working for Sanders.”
On Hillary Clinton's weakness:
"“If you’re too optimistic, it sounds like you’re out of touch. The Republicans needed a far more pessimistic candidate. Somehow, what was unusual about Trump is, he was very pessimistic but it still had an energizing aspect to it.”
On whether or not he'll regret his role in Trump's election:
“I always have very low expectations, so I’m rarely disappointed,” he says.
Finally, he confirmed there will be no slot for him in the Trump administration:
I want to stay involved in Silicon Valley and help Mr. Trump as I can without a full-time position.