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Congratulations! Mr. Thiel, You've outsmarted the Silicon Valley's Elites

"Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.   ...

Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world's ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation." 

- Robert F. Kennedy   

Congratulations to Mr. Thiel, who was the only one in Silicon Valley who got it right on the Trump’s presidency.   Instead of appreciating his insights, Silicon Valley treated him like an outcast with disapproval and censure from Silicon Valley elites.    Personally I am impressed and I have a lot of respect and admiration for Mr. Thiel.

I have never met Mr. Thiel in person even though I went to his seminars on entrepreneurship many times while I was a student at Stanford.   I always sat at the back rows, listening to him, one of Silicon Valley’s greatest investors.      I may not agree with everything he said.    But I have a lot of respect for him because of his insights into the art of startup, investing, and philosophy.    

For example, his idea of funding smart students from the elite universities to drop out of school to start their own companies.    Personally I don’t think his idea will work because he underestimates the role of luck in one’s success.    One could be extremely talented but not successful due to bad luck whereas another could be much less talented but became much more successful due to good luck.    And because of someone’s good fortune, it might be misattributed to his talent than his luck and it would create a false sense of accomplishment.     In one of the greatest Chinese classic “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” there was a sage who says “Humans can plan but success depends on the will of Heaven.”     And I observed that it’s also true in real life.     Another of his idea about having a ship off the coast of California to avoid American legal obligations is also impractical.     I don’t think the American government would have liked this idea and not kill it one way or another.

Other than that, I think most of Mr. Thiel’s predictions are true.    He is like a master chest player who can predict the moves of an opponent or how it actually works.   I know that he played chest at a national level while in high school.     It might contribute to his success as an investor.

He is spotted on regarding Trump.    He said in his National Press Club speech:

Mr. Thiel at the National Press Club

"Now I don’t agree with everything Donald Trump has said and done and I don’t think the millions of other people voting for him do either. Nobody thinks his comments about women were acceptable. I agree they were clearly offensive and inappropriate. But I don’t think the voters pull the lever in order to endorse a candidate’s flaws. It’s not a lack of judgment that leads Americans to vote for Trump. We’re voting for Trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed.”

Even though I agreed with his statement and deep down, I knew Trump is going to win the Presidency (see my other writings a couple of months ago before the election), I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Trump because I knew of his moral shortcomings.    I understand why Trump was going to win the Presidency.   I could certainly identify with the anger that swept across America at a visceral level.     Like many American professionals in IT, I could relate to the frustration, the humiliation, the loss of dignity, and the feeling of being used and discarded like a used toilette paper when I was replaced by an H-1B after training my own replacement.    It’s one of the reasons why I decided to leave engineering for good and go back to school to become a medical doctor.     I could identify with the working Americans whose jobs were outsourced to Mexico and China and understand how they feel.    When my family first came to Silicon Valley in 1983.   Manufacturing jobs were plentiful at the time.    My father, despite his late age at that time, was able to get a job in manufacturing to support our family.     He was laid off just 6 months before he was qualified for retirement at his company because his job was moving to China.     There was a saying in the Vietnamese immigrant community about obtaining the middle class lifestyle in Silicon Valley at the time – “Wife as Assembler, Husband as Technician.”   These job opportunities in manufacturing no longer exist in America.     I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump nor Mrs. Clinton, I chose to be an observer rather than a participant. 

I find Mr. Thiel similar to the character Lady Cora Crowley in Downton Abbey – a nouveau-riche American who has a heart for his new country (I hope or I wish).     In Downton Abbey, Lady Cora is a nouveau riche American who  is an immigrant in England after marrying an English aristocrat.    She supports her daughter's idea of converting her beautiful mansion into a hospital for returning veterans.    Mr. Thiel is an immigrant in the U.S. from Germany.    Both of them care about the wells beings of the people.   He is surely much more observant and perceptive than the rest of Silicon Valley when he talked about how Americans are paying 10 times as much as the rest of the world for medications, students who graduate deep in student debt, people who are on the verge of retirement without any financial cushion.   His parents were from Germany and I am sure he must have travel there often.   I also lived in France so what he said resonate with me.

I find the elites of Silicon Valley who scorn Mr. Thiel sound more like Queen Marie Antoinette of France.  They are seriously out of touch with the American populace.    Their stand on open-borders and free trade hurt American people.   And even though they contribute money to many charitable causes.   Their contributions are like the French Queen who was bored with palace life and she was dreaming of being a poor peasant girl tending sheep.    She built herself a beautiful hamlet at a corner of the garden of Versailles where she could play a peasant girl.    When American professionals complain about the H-1B, they say there is severe shortage of American engineers (Not true!  Only half of American students in IT get a job in high-tech) and American engineers are lazy and stupid.    Low-wage Americans complain about the problem of illegal immigration.   They brush it off saying the illegal immigrants only work in jobs that Americans don't want to do (Americans don't want to do at the low wages that are far below living wages).    It sounds like Queen Marie Antoinette's "Let them Eat Cake!"    Then the elites call working American and American IT professionals racists, xenophobes, uneducated, know-nothing.    During the campaign at one of Trump's rally in Florida, there was a long line of people queuing up to be photographed inside the "Basket of Deplorables."    They love to show off their pictures with their middle-finger up at the establishment while inside the "Bastket of Deplorables."    And worse of all, they contribute money to corrupt politicians like Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren to oppress the American professionals.      That’s how Silicon Valley is treating American middle and lower classes.    It's no wonder why Mr. Trump won the presidency.   



Seattle 19 hours ago

Yes, this is similar to the humiliation you feel when you spend a year training your high tech replacement from India and then sign your papers to leave your corporate job. No more health care payments, no more weekly pay checks, no more monthly parking, no more yearly bonuses, no more pension, no more 401K, no more continuing education payments, no more vacations and holidays, no more health club payments, no more Costco membership, no more... yes very humiliating. Think about it...Privilege and the cost to others. I have to add, I did have a wonderful time training (now my friends) 4 people from India. I learned a lot and they learned a lot. It was a rude awakening when I left my corporate job.

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MW MS 15 hours ago

Sounds like someone who's managed to avoid having been laid off from a job up to this point in his career, though as Representative Israel planned his retirement from Congress, he "took the package". Lucky for him that his job wasn't outsourced to a big multinational, or he'd be subject to a non-disparagement clause and have to train his replacement from another country under threat of losing that package. See, former Congressmen still have a lot of perks.


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Luomaike New Jersey 15 hours ago

Congressman Israel, join the club of those who have had to clear out of the way after being down-sized, out-sourced or otherwise laid off. Were you told that you would not be eligible for severance if you did not stay on to train your H-1B successor? If not, you are lucky. Learning to accept the transition from office to cube to laptop on the dining room table is the most important job skill of the 21st century. 

Congressman, thank you for your service and good luck with your next gig. But don't expect sympathy.


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volpoppy  11 hours ago

Please. Asking Steve Case (and other Sillycon Valley lefties) for advice about "connecting" with average Americans would be like Prohibition-era Chicago asking Al Capone for advice on law enforcement.

§  SVDOUG  11 hours ago

I live in Silicon Valley. Tech companies practice rampant age discrimination for people over 40.They would rather bring in H-1b visas than give an older worker a chance. They could be reconnecting with the Trump voters who are right in their backyard by ending age discrimination

maxmcbyte  SVDOUG  10 hours ago

100% correct on the age.

Also, you interview with people not of your culture who make the decisions. I live in the SF Bay area and I am an outsider (a minority) in my own country.

It is a no win situation where I do not even respond to requests from recruiters anymore because the outcome is always the same. Not only a waste of time but highly demoralizing as well.

The CEOs of these companies either do not give a sh*t and are blind to the cultural outing. Their globalization point of view just trashes us citizens to the point of starvation and has been going on for so long and has become the norm.

John Comer  11 hours ago

Lets face, it Liberal, especially Silicon Valley liberals, are greedy, rude, self-centered, angry, hateful, peddling fear and most importantly the are money grubbing, they worship money, they drive BMW and foreign cars, and spend millions of goods from foreign countries, demand their lunch be made by an illegal alien (and scream at the top of their lungs, if they have to pay 50 cent more for lunch), they demand green energy and complain constantly about "global warming" and then they sit all day in an air conditioned office, while outside it is 90 degrees, they live in huge homes, that require trillion of joules of energy to heat and cool, and they dance around the fire of their own self-righteousness, they build massive building, in the most expensive valley in the world, pay people low wages, demand foreign labor at low wages, instead of moving their operating to states, Midwest that have cheap lands, inexpensive housing and turn key infrastructure, and then pile into their private jets and fly to the tropical paradise, all the while pissing on the anyone that dares, interject any ideal of political ideology other than their own.