June 22, 2016
‘Thiel just crucified the most notorious dissenter of Silicon Valley and called it ‘philanthropy”
Cody Brown writes:
With a single wire deposit, Thiel has made a tabloid that covers Silicon Valley untenable as a business. What media entrepreneur can afford to regularly take on Thiel’s lawsuits? But in that same stroke, he has validated the concerns of many dissenters and blessed new rules of engagement with the Silicon Valley establishment. Secrecy? Proxy lawsuits? Fraudulent client solicitation? All of those are on the table now.
I now feel hesitant to bring up a point like this in a public forum. So many of those I know in the heart of SV are thoughtful, deeply intelligent, interesting people but this is their blind spot. They have funded or built massive new institutions of social change without much scrutiny but the scrutiny is finally coming and they don’t know how to handle it. They will cut you out or block you for even engaging. Paul Graham and a partner at Andreessen Horowitz unfollowed after I made a few tweets in support of Gawker. A single email from any of these guys could torpedo my next round of funding. I have more to lose than to gain by putting my name next to this.
And that’s the point.
If the price of dissent in Silicon Valley is too high, dissent will find a darker avenue. The next ValleyWag is likely to be more like WikiLeaks. It could be anonymous. It could be outside the jurisdiction of The United States. And it could use all the shiny tools of the web, Tor, bitcoin financing, Zeronet, the blockchain, to exist above the law.