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Trump, Thiel and tech

Wednesday, 18 January, 2017

One of the most puzzling things for the sycophantic media of the Obama era is the role technology played in the stunning electoral success of Donald Trump. The obsequious White House press bet the farm on Hillary Clinton winning the ultimate prize with the aid of her Silicon Valley pals, but despite all their money and all their coding, the nerds couldn’t get the “popular” candidate over the line. Instead, on Friday, it’s the Republican who will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.

Much has been made of the part played by Cambridge Analytica in Trump’s victory, but it’s Peter Thiel who excites the wounded media most. How could a gay board member of Facebook so betray his sexual orientation and venture capitalist class? That question has been posed ad nauseum since 10 November and in an attempt to get the definitive answer, one of the heaviest media artillery pieces, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, was moved into position a week ago. “Peter Thiel, Trump’s Tech Pal, Explains Himself” was how her effort was headlined and it’s a lengthy read with lots of detail: “… Mr. Thiel, wearing a gray Zegna suit and sipping white wine in a red leather booth at the Monkey Bar in Manhattan.”

However, the inability of Dowd and her pals to grasp what’s happened can be found at the very end of the article in this exchange:

“I ask him how Mr. Trump, who is still putting out a lot of wacky, childish tweets, has struck him during the transition. Isn’t he running around with his hair on fire?”

“The hair seems fine,” Mr. Thiel says. “Mr. Trump seems fine.”

Reading Maureen Dowd’s article is not a complete waste of time. Consider this: “One could have predicted Mr. Thiel’s affinity for Mr. Trump by reading his 2014 book, Zero to One, in which he offers three prongs of his philosophy:

1) It is better to risk boldness than triviality.
2) A bad plan is better than no plan.
3) Sales matter just as much as product.”

What Dowd terms “his philosophy” seems to work. Mr. Thiel is a billionaire.


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