Peter Thiel, Facebook's first outside investor, has had a bad year. His once lucrative hedge fund, Clarium Capital Management, lost money for a third straight year, bringing its assets down 90 percent since its peak. Now he's become a doomsayer.
Clarium's assets sunk 23 percent in 2010. That's down to $850 million from a peak of $7.8 billion in 2008. Guess that big-deal return to California and a portrayal in The Social Network as a tech demigod didn't help.
Perhaps this bad news has been fueling his pessimistic investing strategy, centered as it is on the (highly-contested) idea that oil production has already peaked and we'll start running out soon. What he doesn't say in his letters to Clarium investors is that many predict peak oil will touch off global conflicts of unimaginable scale and possibly send us hurtling into a scary Mad Max apocalypse. Only hedge fund leaders and cockroaches will remain.
Ah, well, 2007-2008 was a good year.