Silicon Valley has been frustrated for a while with Peter Thiel’s libertarian views, especially his embrace of Donald Trump. And Thiel has returned the disdain.
“Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” Thiel said in an address at Stanford University just last month. “That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you’re all in one side.” Which of course would describe the nation right now, which is controlled by a serially lying, pro-Russian president, Republican Congress, and GOP control in a majority of states.
So it’s not entirely a surprise that Thiel is abandoning Silicon Valley and his mansion in San Francisco. For Los Angeles. That’s right, LA.
Of course, there are plenty of places to that are more conducive to a libertarian than Silicon Valley. But Los Angeles?
“LA is a better place to do [focus on new projects],” a source close to Thiel told CNNMoney.
Okay. But then the source added this line, presumably with a straight face.
Related: Is Peter Thiel gunning to become the even more right-wing version of Roger Ailes?
“LA is also less out of touch and it’s a better place to connect with the rest of the country.”
Yes, when we think of places in tune with middle America and its core values, the first place that comes to mind is Hollywood. Conveintly, Thiel already has a home there.
A far more likely explanation is that this was a business decision. Thiel is looking to start a new media company, and Los Angeles is a much better place than San Jose for that undertaking.
There is a thudding irony in Thiel’s interest in a media company, given that he spent a good chunk of change to destroy another media company, Gawker.
But never underestimate Thiel’s business, if not political, savvy. While betting more than a million dollars on the clearly incompetent Trump was perhaps a dubious investment (unless you consider those tax cuts the rich are getting) he’s done much better in the stock markets.
At the end of last year, he was holding options that would pay off big in the event of stock market volatility. We won’t know for a while until the SEC filings are made public, if Thiel still held onto those when the market took a roller coaster ride at the beginning of the month.
But if he did, he would have made a killing. And what a better cushion in which to move south.