Feb 28, 2022 • 1HR 17M

Vision, Beauty, and Creative Destruction in Silicon Valley | Jimmy Soni & Richard Hanania

How tribes, memes, and concentrated genius kickstarted American tech

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Discussions with CSPI scholars and leading thinkers in science, technology, and politics.
Episode details

Jimmy Soni is a biographer and speechwriter. He joins the podcast to talk about his new book, The Founders: The Story of PayPal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley, which explores the early days, history, and legacy of PayPal. It also outlines the unique qualities, business savvy, and technological vision that led to the founders’ success at PayPal and elsewhere.

Jimmy and Richard discuss the value of “founders,” the cultural impact of Elon Musk, and why so much high-level talent was concentrated at the University of Illinois in the ‘90s. They consider the role of productive tribalism and Peter Thiel’s memetic philosophy in shaping tech culture, and reflect on how the tension between vision and practicality is central to American dynamism and innovation.

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