Venture capital is a business about risk — but only the right kinds of risk. Unproven technology? Fine. Gay employees? Cool. A founder who quotes Ayn Rand? Oh, hey, wait a second. Not that there's anything wrong with The Fountainhead.
Here in northern California, where John Galt's 60-page speech in the middle of Atlas Shrugged is the only thing we can't tolerate, even alluding to someone's Objectivism is suspect. (Even if, like me, you kinda bought into it as an MIT freshman because it made more sense than either Catholicism or Sartre.) But on Sand Hill Road, Republicans fund Republicans. The clubby ranks of VCs are mostly straight, white, male and support the nation-state as sole arbiter on the use of force.
The effects are hard to document. But Objectivist entrepreneurs I've spoken to agree it's real. How many VCs do you know who can grasp Rand's basic math that A=A? It explains the valuations for Web 2.0.
I think it explains a lot about Thiel: "The only man capable of experiencing a profound romantic love is the man driven by passion for his work." Like the Jews who founded Hollywood a century ago, an Objectivist investor has no hope of getting elected to anything. That frees him or her to build a rational system for identifying and rewarding talented individuals. Starting with himself.
That's why I think it's important to say this: Peter Thiel, the smartest VC in the world, is an Objectivist. Dude, come listen to Rush with us anytime.