Tech Billionaires Wanna Be the Only Billionaires Playing Politics

Kevin Montgomery · 10/30/14 06:20PM

Silicon Valley's leaders usually do a good job finding things to agree on (regulations: bad; disruption: good; workplace diversity: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). But when it comes to campaign finance reform, the tech industry can't make up its damn mind. While Bay Area billionaires are financing super PACs focused on getting money out of politics, they're simultaneously spending millions on their favorite candidates and parties.

Rand Paul Will Embrace Any Idiotic Idea Techies Come Up With

Kevin Montgomery · 10/09/14 12:35PM

Silicon Valley's tech tycoons have been lurching towards the right wing for years now. But with the Valley's valuations climbing to record heights, those billionaires are backing Republicans like never before—and the party of obstruction is willing to say whatever it takes to get their dollars.

Q&A with Larry Lessig on Why You Should Have Faith in Silicon Valley

Nitasha Tiku · 06/18/14 05:30PM

The story of how a young programmer named Aaron Swartz convinced celebrated academic Lawrence Lessig that no political progress could be made without first reforming campaign finance is now part of Silicon Valley lore. In May, Lessig launched a radical initiative to address the issue: MAYDAY, a SuperPAC that secured funding from two Silicon Valley billionaires in order to curtail the influence of big money.

Silicon Valley's Ultimate Exit Is a Fantasy of Seceding from the U.S.

Nitasha Tiku · 10/21/13 01:29PM

What if the perfect liquidity event for Silicon Valley was not a blockbuster IPO, or an acquisition that paid out at some insane multiple, but a literal exit from the United States of America? No more lumbering bureaucracies, no lobbying incumbents, no "petty" laws, no obstructionist unions. That's what a Stanford lecturer and genetics startup cofounder Balaji Srinivasan proposed at Y Combinator's annual startup school this weekend.

Leaked Emails Show How Palantir Founder Recruits for Global Domination

Nitasha Tiku · 10/17/13 11:15AM

The world-changing aspirations of Twitter and Facebook are a drop in the bucket, a single bloom in an Arab Spring, compared to what former Palantir cofounder Joe Lonsdale wants to do with Formation 8, a venture capital firm that raised $448 million to modernize and disrupt all of Asia's power centers, basically. The leaked emails (below) show how Lonsdale intends to recruit engineers to his cause: by making them “feel special because they think they've been identified by technology [i.e. Palantir] that helped locate bin Laden.”

This Kid Left Harvard To Sell Spray-On Caffeine

Sam Biddle · 08/21/13 05:05PM

Mega-VC Peter Thiel's eponymous, anti-college "fellowship" is part of his techno-libertarian fantasy: in the future, no one will need to attend bloated institutions like college. You'll just start a business instead—how about trading an education for topical energy spray?

Former PayPal CEO Signs Off on Bitcoin

Sam Biddle · 05/16/13 09:52AM

Before he was one of the most powerful VCs in the world, Peter Thiel created PayPal, which deals in real dollars and boomed accordingly. If you think this might make him wary of unregulated internet funny money, you're wrong: $2,000,000 wrong.