A Tech Idol's ComedownS

Remember how brightly Peter Thiel's star was shining just last year? The PayPal co-founder's early Facebook investment started looking brilliant, his hedge fund returns were stellar and he debuted on the Forbes 400 list. My, how things change.

Ranked the 377th richest American last year, with a net worth of $1.3 billion, Thiel has dropped off this year's Forbes 400 list entirely. In the middle of last year, he could brag that his Clarium Capital had averaged an annual return of 30 percent, net of fees, over six years; these days Thiel is quoted in the Wall Street Journal blaming the irrational economy (when is not?) for his fund's outflows and double-digit declines. These things tend to come in threes, so we're waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Then Thiel can speedily move on to the inevitable next phase: Redemption and comeback. At 41, he's got many more acts still to come.

(Pic: Andrew Mager)