Meet Donald Trump’s ‘lone celebrity fan’ in Silicon Valley
German-American Peter Thiel was US president-elect Donald Trump’s lone supporter among Silicon Valley‘s celebrated entrepreneurs. And even as “Not my President” and “Caleavefornia” trended across the country’s most populous and prosperous state, the billionaire was named an executive committee member of Trump’s presidential transition team.
He’ll probably now be Trump’s eyes and ears on all things tech and entrepreneurship. Thiel was born in Frankfurt and moved to California when he was a year old. As a youngster, he wanted to be a judge of the Supreme Court. He briefly worked in a court after his graduation from Stanford Law School. But soon after, he was trading derivatives for Credit Suisse Group.
Thiel’s biggest successes came with PayPal, which he co-founded with Max Levchin and Elon Musk (founder of electric car company Tesla), and his early investment in Facebook. He was the first outside investor in Facebook, with a 10.2% stake acquired in 2004 for $500,000.When Thiel first announced his support for Trump, he was denounced by much of liberal Silicon Valley.
There were calls for him to step down from the board of Facebook and as adviser of Y Combinator, one of the storied Valley incubators. When much of American media declared Trump unfit to become president, the 49-year-old Thiel cautioned: “The media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally.”
He said that voters, however, think the opposite way.”They take Trump seriously but not literally. They realize, that Trump doesn’t really plan to build a wall.What they hear is, `We’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy’.” Thiel appears to have felt the American pulse better than most Valley celebrities.