Career Spotlight: 13 Interesting Facts about Peter Thiel, Founder of PayPal

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I first listened to Peter Thiel on a Q&A episode of a podcast and thought the disruptive ideas he had on every day institutions made so much sense.
He has a net worth of approx $2.5b, founded PayPal and is one of the most well known entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley
Hopefully the below peaks your interest into the careers of one of the smartest most influential people there is in the world today….
Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #1:

He excelled in mathematics when he was at school, and first in a California-wide mathematics competition.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #2:

Thiel went on to study philosophy at Stanford University. During his time at Stanford, debates on identity politics and political correctness were ongoing at the university.

At the time LGBT views were popular on campus. He was the founder and first Editor in Chief of The Stanford Review, a paper for conservative viewpoints.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #3:

After graduating from Stanford Law School, Thiel worked as a law clerk and then a securities lawyer in New York. However he felt these two roles lacked any meaningful value and returned to California.

Not sure how to find out what you want to do career-wise? Read my blog post on How to Find the Right Career

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #4:

Upon returning to the Bay Area, Thiel noticed that the development of the internet and personal computer was in full flow and the dot-com boom was well underway.

With financial support from friends and family, he was able to raise $1 million toward the establishment of Thiel Capital Management and embark on his venture capital career.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #5:

Thiel wanted to create a type of digital wallet in the hopes of ensuring more consumer convenience and security by encrypting data on digital devices, and in 1999 launched PayPal. Elon Musk was also a part of PayPal but was ousted in a mangement coup.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #6:

May 2003, Thiel incorporated Palantir Technologies, a big data analysis company named after the Tolkien artifact.

At first, Palantir’s only backers were the Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, but the company steadily grew and in 2015 was valued at $20 billion, with Thiel being the company’s largest shareholder.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #7:

In August 2004, Thiel made a $500,000 angel investment in Facebook for a 10.2% stake in the company and joined Facebook’s board. This was the first outside investment in Facebook, and put the valuation of the company at $4.9 million

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #8:

He believes that competition stifles progress once it becomes an end in itself: “rivals are more apt to forget about whatever objects are the cause of the rivalry and instead become more fascinated with one another.”

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #9:

According to Thiel, for many young people, university is the path to take when they have no idea what to do with their lives: ‘you don’t know what to do with your life, so you get go to university’.

He has once said what is the point of going to university? Is it to party for three years? Or is it to learn a skill or a profession? Maybe it is because you dont know what you want to do for a living? Is it to become a member of an exclusive club?

He has openly questioned the value of a graduate degree. His Thiel Foundation gives a small number of young entrepreneurs $100,000 over two years to skip college and pursue their business dreams.

How do you find out if university is not for you? Read my post on the 15 Valuable Benefits of Work Experience

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #10:

Spring 2012, Thiel taught CS 183: Startup at Stanford University. Notes for the course, taken by student Blake Masters, led to a book titled Zero to One by Thiel and Masters, which was released in September 2014.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #11:

March 2015, it was announced that Thiel joined Y Combinator as one of 10 part-time partners. In November 2017, it was reported that Y Combinator had severed its ties with Thiel. The split may have been because Thiel is Silicon Valley’s most outspoken Trump supporter.

Thiel is a lifelong member of the Republican Party. He contributes to Libertarian and Republican candidates and causes.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #12:

He was rated a master by the United States Chess Federation. One of the highest rated under-21 players, he is said to have applied chess concepts to become a billionaire.

Interesting facts about Peter Thiel #13:

One of his favourite questions is, “What do you believe that almost no one agrees with you on?”

If you found the above interesting I’d encourage you to search for Peter Thiel episodes of well known podcast, he has some very interesting ideas on education, business and success.

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