Peter Thiel is one of the richest and most successful among Silicon Valley's power elites. His brilliance definitely contributed to his success, but his unconventional insights, even visionary takes on issues, and a compelling ability to draw impact-filled conclusions using one-liners made people stop and listen to him.
The Paypal founder and Facebook's first professional investor was one of the first to have thrown his support behind the candidacy then of Donald Trump while much of Silicon Valley's influential decision-makers and movers maligned the Republican leader and gave their trust and money to Hillary Clinton's presidential bid instead. What most of his power colleagues failed to see or anticipate, Thiel already foresaw early on Trump's amazing upset victory. After the astounding result of the presidential election in November last year that left the Democrats and liberals reeling from their crushing loss, Thiel offered the most quoted one-liner that best captures why Trump won. Thiel said he thinks one thing that should be distinguished is media is always taking Trump literally. He elaborated that the media don't take Trump seriously, but that they take him literally. He said that the voters on the other hand take Trump seriously ,but not literally.
Thiel is also remembered well for saying in an interview with Financial Times three years ago that technological innovation halted at the end of the 1960’s. Thiel said that we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.
And just this week in Houston, Thiel -who enjoys the President's trust and has his ear- made another provocative statement for Silicon Valley, but perhaps for the whole world as well. And China better be listening. Thiel warned that "the good times are over". Thiel said that globalization is over and that Silicon Valley can no longer hold the Whiggish view of progress as inexorable and inevitable.
Thiel further said that there's a technological determinism story to be told where this is the future and China will eventually buckle under and cave and eventually adopt all of these things. He added that one may wonder as well that maybe such does not happen at all, and maybe it is possible for the internet to eventually fragment and not to have this historical necessity to it.
If Thiel's new declaration amounts to pessimism, Silicon Valley should brace itself, because the problem with visionary pessimists is that often their predictions come true.