Above all else, President Donald Trump is an entrepreneur. Another entrepreneur, Scott Adams, who accurately predicted Trump’s win in August 2015, sheds some light on the management style of entrepreneurs like Trump. He says that this management style will include:
1. Rapid and decisive hiring and firing.
2. Bias toward action.
3. Rapid A/B testing. Release the early beta version and judge reactions. Adjust accordingly.
4. Emphasis on the psychology of success.”
Trump ran his campaign as a change candidate who promised to take a wrecking ball to the status quo in Washington, D.C. As a businessman, he promised to bring further innovation to the political sphere.
President Trump has surrounded himself with all-stars in various fields, including tech
entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, who became a staple figure in his campaign and subsequent presidency. The billionaire Thiel is also renowned for his work in technology investing and philanthropy.
In 2016 he bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media, who were eventually forced to pay over $115 million in damages to the former pro wrestler after releasing a sex tape involving him and another woman. Thiel had himself been a victim of Gawker’s bullying, when they outed him in 2007 as a homosexual.
Thiel has been a supporter of libertarian and Republican candidates and causes. His support for Trump in the 2016 election agitated many in Silicon Valley. Breitbart reported a week before the election:
Silicon Valley before 2008 was politically bipartisan and tried to work its agenda quietly with both parties. But Barack Obama’s heavy reliance on social media was fostered by Facebook founder Chris Hughes, who quit his startup to be an early member of the obscure first term Illinois U.S. Senator’s strategy team to win the Democrat primary nomination.
Hughes rallied Silicon Valley venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to back Obama and fund a big piece of his presidential campaign. After Obama was elected president, he relied on Silicon Valley insiders to craft a new White House business model that created ‘a trifecta of executive positions in his Administration modeled on corporate best practices: chief technology officer, chief data scientist, and chief performance officer.’
In appreciation for Silicon Valley’s overwhelming support, President Obama and the Democrats adopted Silicon Valley’s policy agenda.”
The political climate of Silicon Valley has become monolithically leftist. The article goes on to state:
Of the $8.1 million given by Silicon Valley tech executives and employees in the presidential campaigns through September 2016, Democrat Clinton received 95 percent, or $7.7 million, and Republican Donald Trump only took in $299,000, or 4 percent.”
Outliers like Thiel have faced an onslaught of criticism from the mainstream media and from Silicon Valley itself. Despite being vocal opponents of Trump during the campaign, several giants in the tech community made clear their intentions to support the President.
In the days following the election, Thiel was selected to join President Trump’s transition team before becoming Trump’s tech advisor. Despite his differences with the Silicon Valley community, his stalwart reputation as a peer and an investor has helped to maintain his influence in the technological hub.
Thiel drew from his peers in Silicon Valley to help Trump assemble his Strategic Policy Forum. Among them were Uber’s Travis Kalanick and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Kalanick quickly left the Forum after a siege of criticism. Musk faced similar attacks, but determined to remain on the Forum in order to have an influence on the President’s policies.
In addition to his technology advice, STAT reports that Thiel has “become deeply involved in vetting candidates for other health and science posts in [President Trump’s] administration.” Furthermore, the report states:
Thiel was very focused in particular on the FDA, NIH, Health and Human Services, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He has tapped Jim O’Neill, a libertarian member of his investment staff, as a possible candidate to be the FDA commissioner.”
The report goes on to quote Newt Gingrich who spoke of Peter Thiel as “one of the most brilliant, pro-innovation personalities” he has ever met.
Despite Thiel’s alleged support of O’Neill for FDA, Reuters reported that Trump “plans to nominate Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a physician and conservative health policy expert, to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
Although some state that Gottlieb is an FDA insider, he does have a track record of scaling back the regulatory requirements of the FDA. Many drug companies fear what this could spell out for their bottom line, as deregulation of the drug industry could hinder the patronage of their number one customer, insurance companies.
Both President Trump and Peter Thiel have made clear their desire to roll back government regulation and to bring back innovation to every industry in the United States. It seems that Thiel is doing all he can to bring his Silicon Valley influence to Washington, D. C., and Trump is on board.
If he remains true to his word, Trump and his administration will embark on a warpath to remove the bureaucratic coagulation that has slowed down the American economy and the federal government for decades. The question remains — can Peter Thiel be the person to bring ideological diversity to Silicon Valley?