Paying Attention: The final night of the Republican National Convention is this evening and, like all the nights that have preceded it, this one promises plenty of drama. But one speech and the person delivering it tonight have captured the attention–along with worried anticipation– of Silicon Valley. The speaker of nervous focus tonight is Peter Thiel.
Thiel is the venture capitalist who put money into Facebook (early stage) and a co-founder of PayPal; he has most recently been in the news because he backed the legal expense of the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against the website Gawker (which Hogan won, in the amount of $150 million in damages). Thiel’s political views do not, of course, represent the views of all of Silicon Valley–he is a a very talented entrepreneur and it would be a mistake to believe that he does not think “out of the box” on everything, not just technology– but the point not to be missed, however, is that Mr. Thiel is going to bring attention to something that most in Silicon Valley would prefer remain undefined and not emphasized: the political views of the tech industry or the executives in it. Generally, the tech industry prefers to get to work and stay out of the messy world that is now American politics. Like it or not, they’re going to be in the spotlight tonight. The Thiel speech could be very well received or it could bomb–no one will know until tomorrow morning but one thing is certain–it is a “high beta” event. High Beta is a Silicon Valley term for an investment that offers massive positive potential but also carries a very high risk of failure. To use the current phrase of the day, Thiel’s speech could be binary: either a hit or a miss. Peter Thiel speaks tonight at the RNC. That such a prominent venture capitalist speaks at a political convention is itself a historic event and not to be missed. It is highly suggested to tune in.
The Fine Print: Photo of Peter Thiel courtesy of Getty Images (all rights reserved; used by permission). If you have a non-commercial blog, you need to have a Getty Images account. It’s that simple. Thanks, guys, for sharing.