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September 18, 2014

PETER THIEL IS TRYING THE RIGHT THINGS: Technology Stalled in 1970: Peter Thiel says he’s trying to get entrepreneurs to go after bigger problems than the ones Silicon Valley is chasing. “[Twitter’s] specific success may be symptomatic of a general failure. Even though it improves our lives in certain ways, it is not enough to take our civilization to the next level. . . . You have to think of companies like Microsoft or Oracle or Hewlett-Packard as fundamentally bets against technology. They keep throwing off profits as long as nothing changes. Microsoft was a technology company in the ’80s and ’90s; in this decade you invest because you’re betting on the world not changing. Pharma companies are bets against innovation because they’re mostly just figuring out ways to extend the lifetime of patents and block small companies. All these companies that start as technological companies become antitechnological in character. Whether the world changes or not might vary from company to company, but if it turns out that these antitechnology companies are going to be good investments, that’s quite bad for our society.”

I had some kind-of-related thoughts here.