Tech bubble? No, no way, nope, says Silicon Valley investor

Thiel claims tech firms actually the bubble safety net

Web Summit Top tech investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel has said there’s no bubble in tech, despite the billion-dollar valuations floating around for firms that haven’t seen a penny in profits.

“I don’t really think that there’s a bubble ... Bubbles only happen when the public is involved, they’re a psychosocial event,” Thiel told the press at Web Summit 2014.

He claimed to be so invested in Silicon Valley firms because they were as far away from the "real bubble" as it's possible to get.

“We’ve had this history of bubbles, so it’s a logical question to ask — where the bubble is today?” he said. “My candidate for the bubble today would be the super low interest rates, even negative rates, [so] the bubble is, in effect, government bonds."

“If there was one thing you want to stay away from, it's bonds, and equities that behave like bonds," he said.

“The Silicon Valley companies don’t have dividends or cash-flows, but they have lots of growth so the metrics for analysing them are radically different," he added.

The press was naturally curious about where Thiel estimates the next big thing is (maybe some of them are harbouring some start-up ideas of their own they’d like to see the moneyed investor get excited about) but he said while it was tough to know where the gaps were for new companies, it was easy to see which areas were oversubscribed.

“I always think it’s hard to answer these questions in the abstract. Part of it is what fields are the entrepreneurs passionate about, what do they know about. [But] when you hear the words cloud computing and big data, you should think fraud — these are incredibly over-hyped buzzwords,” he said.

And if pushed to mention an area he’d be interested in, it would be biotech. Thiel is known to be keen on fighting death, having often said he wanted to find the cure to humanity’s inescapable fate.

He said old age and death were often overlooked areas of research because of our attitude towards our inevitable demise.

“I think this question of ageing and death is one where there are very deep psychological blind spots. We accept it and then we’re in denial,” he said. “What we need is more fighting, less denial, and less acceptance.” ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022