Thiel Foundation Summit

Recently I went to Las Vegas to take part in the Thiel Foundation Summit, an event for young people who are working to change the world.

I met a plethora of people, from people coding software in Health Tech, to app developers and others exploring cancer research and biotechnology. One person was building mobile nuclear reactors for disaster relief, and others exploring the world of consulting. I also met an executive at Suja Juice who had experience in the health-foods industry that I am currently looking to pursue.

Beyond networking, there were a variety of speakers and sponsors. From Tony Hseih (founder of Zappos.com and the Downtown Project) to Peter Thiel (founder of Paypal; first investor of Facebook) to Kay Koplovitz (founder of USA Network), there were a range of lessons and experiences shared. One of the sponsors, Hueristica @ UFM was a Guatemalan Business Incubator program. I have looked at starting in Guatemala as a goal for my company’s launch, and upon speaking to the representative discovered that there are investors looking for for-profit ventures that are addressing the problem of malnutrition.  Overall, many great connections have resulted from this weekend.

While that weekend can not be entirely summed up in one blog post, there was one other major piece of the trip that stood out to me. The final speaker was Eric Weinstein, the manager of Thiel Capital, the fund that runs all of the summit’s overarching foundation’s monetary operations. He told us that very few of us would be successful, maybe two or three of over 400. He said that his speech was only for those two or three that were truly brilliant in the situation/problem/area they are addressing. He talked about The Matrix and Kung Fu Panda, saying that those two people had an inherent ability to solve their challenges by being able to self-teach, and being shot down by their elders. It was a fairly long speech, but ended by Eric telling those two or three people (whom were not specified; he said he did not know which of us were those special few) that they would fail. The message was pretty blatant and seemed ineffective. The true message was for the 397+ other people. He started out by saying only two or three would be successful, and indirectly said the rest of us would not be successful. The challenge and speech was not truly for those two or three, but for everybody else. I have since re-watched Kung Fu Panda and The Matrix, and my weekly quote comes from Kung Fu Panda.

Courtesy of meetville.com, this quote reflects my thoughts after the Thiel Foundation Summit.

This comes from Po’s realization after reading the Dragon Scroll. To become a great warrior, you don’t need a special scroll, nor do you have to be a special person. You just have to believe in yourself and know that you can do it.

Until next week,

Zach

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