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Silicon Valley’s Heyday Is Over, Billionaire Investor Peter Thiel Says

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel thinks Silicon Valley’s leadership in innovation in tech could be nearing an end.

Speaking at the New York Times DealBook conference on Thursday, Thiel suggested that Silicon Valley has become too insular and subject to groupthink to be capable of “breakthrough innovation.”

“There’s a sense that the network effects that made Silicon Valley good have gone haywire,” he said. “It’s not the wisdom of crowds, it’s the madness of crowds.”

Thiel added that he believes that Silicon Valley is “like a one-party state,” noting that it “feels like it has somehow jumped the shark.”

But it’s not just Silicon Valley itself that’s the problem. Thiel says that consumer internet innovation itself might be slowing down. After serving as the “big area in tech for 25 years” and dominating all the others, Thiel suggested that “perhaps there aren’t as many big breakthroughs left in consumer internet” as “the big ideas have been tried.”

For his part, Thiel appears to be putting his money on biotech, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cannabis, and data analytics.

The billionaire investor has already closed up shop in Silicon Valley as well, moving his home and offices to Los Angeles earlier this year. In September, he moved his venture firm Mithril Capital to Austin, Texas.

Ultimately, Thiel doesn’t see as much promise in Silicon Valley anymore. “On a relative basis,” he explained, “I believe we should be investing more outside Silicon Valley than inside Silicon Valley.”