Internet, Industry, and Investing

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Date: Monday, April 13

   * Special Guest: Peter Thiel 

Peter Thiel (born 1967) is an American entrepreneur, hedge fund manager, and venture capitalist. With Max Levchin, Thiel co-founded PayPal and was its CEO. He currently serves as president of Clarium Capital Management LLC, a global macro hedge fund with more than $6 billion under management, and a managing partner in The Founders Fund, a $275 million under management venture capital fund he launched with Ken Howery and Luke Nosek in 2005. He was an early investor in Facebook, the popular social-networking site, and sits on the company’s Board of Directors. Thiel was ranked #377 on the Forbes 400, with a net worth of $1.3 billion. To read more on Peter see:

   * Topics to be covered 

1) Is MONOPOLY a good thing in most things digital?

2) How will the Internet-driven centralization and decentralization of information continue to impact the balance of power between state and non-state actors, especially multinational corporations, and how does this phenomenon affect your macro-hedge fund's investment philosophy and process?

3) Given the recent destruction of many industries, what role with the Internet play in helping to fulfill the promise of creative destruction discussed by economists like Schumpeter?

   * Readings 

Required The Optimistic Thought Experiment - By Peter Thiel The Quiet Coup - By Simon Johnson

News items/blog posts on Facebook and monopoly power/anti-trust issues:


Review Professor Zittrain's, The Future of The Internet: And How to Stop It

* Technology Tweak: Active and Engaged Class Discussion

1) Cold-calling will take place throughout the class. Each student will be asked to prepare 2 questions for Peter Thiel. 1 question on the vice or virtue of Monopolies online and 1 on any topic.

2) Nametags. Every student will be required to have a clearly visible nametag throughout the session.

3) Strict laptops down policy. Any violation provokes a cold-call. *Except* for 4 assigned "twitterers".

4) 4 people are assigned to "tweet" and follow the to see if outside people have questions. They will be encouraged to ask outsiders if they have questions/comments for Peter.

5) Video-streaming to encourage outside viewing and questions.

 * Session owners: Andrew Klaber and David Levine