Entrepreneur Peter Thiel joins Dave Rubin to discuss creating PayPal, why he moved his company out of SIlicon Valley, political correctness, the changing media landscape, his company ‘Palantir,’ libertarianism, his views on Trump, his take down of Gawker, and much more.
Entrepreneur Peter Thiel On Trump, Gawker, And Leaving Silicon Valley
Joining me today is an entrepreneur a venture capitalist and author of the co-founder of pay how the first outside investor in Facebook the founder of PAL entier and Silicon Valley's ultimate contrarian thinker Peter Thiel finally welcome to The Rubin Report. David thanks for having me on the show. It's good to be here with you. I normally don't have this many cards for a guest but I've got a lot of cards for you today. Are you ready to go. Ready to go. All right. So we have to start obviously. Rogan had allowed Muskan last week last week and they smoked a joint said you want me to put the joint on the table right now. How are we doing this.
You know my my number one rule is never to compete with you on the. You know I would never I would never bet against Nilan. It's it's been like this and I've been I was a. Close partner for that paper down in the in the late 90s early 2000s and and after pay pal you on set out to start these two you know both the rocket company and the the electric car company SpaceX and Tesla. Yeah. And I think the conventional wisdom MONEYLINE was that these were both completely harebrained projects and if one of them had succeeded. That you have to sort of question it when both of them succeeded. It's just that you know he knows something people other people don't like and that it has to be a matter of luck.
Keefe I'll keep the joint right here for an hour. It will compete with you on. All right but that's a good place to start because first you know it's interesting because we've gotten to know each other a little bit in the last couple of years and it seems to me that the person that I know privately is sort of different than the way the way the media portrays you. So I thought maybe at the beginning let's just do a little history about you and then we can get to some of the controversies and some of the ideas that you're really interested and things like that. So let's start with with paypal since you mentioned it already. Where did the idea of PayPal first come from.
Well you know it's when you start one of these companies it's typically not the case that you get the whole idea fully formed you know instantaneously. Certainly there was this incredible internet boom going on in Silicon Valley in the late 90s it felt that there was sort of this open frontier open gold rush. One of the natural things to look at was you know was finance I was very interested in the crypto currency. Could there be new forms of money. There's always something super mysterious powerful important about money and it was the way that this was going to change so we had. I think we had this general idea to do something with security with money with payments from very early on of the founding of the company. And then you iterate a lot on how to how to get the idea out and the critical question for any consumer Internet product is always not with the ideas but how do you get it out. How do you get the distribution out. And we spent a lot of payments companies Internet payments companies that are already started and failed by 1998. There was one called. One called Cyber cash. You know there's sort of a variety of these different ones that have tried to create these you know comprehensive currency schemes and they would work for everybody use them but you can never get even the first person to start. So the challenge was how to make it viral. How do you get something to work where it's good for the first person for the 10th person to a hundredth person. Once we have millions of people you have a network of network effects and that was sort of the chicken and egg problem.
Yeah. So how did you guys overcome that hurdle.
Well we eventually stumbled on this idea of linking money with email because there were ready 300 million people in 99 that had email accounts and. And so if you could send money to e-mail address you know it's send it to your e-mail and then you get an email saying you've received cash and then you'd obviously click on the link.