(p. B4) America’s big tech companies are facing some of their toughest political challenges as they flirt with or surpass trillion-dollar valuations. Before lawmakers try to rein them in, Reid Hoffman argues government officials better be careful what they wish for.
Mr. Hoffman was chief operating officer of PayPal while it was still a small payments startup before he co-founded the professional social-network LinkedIn.
. . .
WSJ: You’re vociferously opposed to President Trump and even commissioned an anti-Trump card game. Does Silicon Valley have a problem with liberal bias?
Mr. Hoffman: I do think that there is a reflexive bias to liberalism that causes discomfort. I think you have that kind of left bias within the Silicon Valley culture, too, which is, “I’m so convinced that’s idiotic, I’m not listening to anything about it.” And that’s the problem. The problem is not actively listening. But that’s human. It’s not only here. Part of the reason [for strong negative reactions] to Trump is the flat-out lies.
WSJ: When you talk politics with Peter Thiel, PayPal’s co-founder and a well-known Trump supporter, what are those conversations like?
Mr. Hoffman: He’s a friend of mine, but we’ve disagreed about politics since we were college undergraduates. One thing we argue about is how much does Trump lie? I’ve been trying to advance him the case that there’s always been some lying around politicians, but Trump is one or two orders of magnitude worse than ever before. He says Obama is a bigger liar than Trump–based on, for example, the claim that under Obamacare you’d be able to spend as much time with your primary doctor as you did before Obamacare.
Peter thinks that the bureaucracy is killing the country and that you need a wrecking ball to shake it up, and maybe Trump is the only wrecking ball you get. His pro-Trump arguments are that someone needed to stand up to China. Trump at least is, [while] everyone else gave it lip service.
For the full interview, see:
Rolfe Winkler, interviewer. “A Silicon Valley Warning.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018): B4.
(Note: ellipsis added; bolded and bracketed words in original.)
(Note: the online version of the interview has the date Sept. 26, 2018, and the title “LinkedIn’s Co-Founder Warns of Perils in Regulating Big Tech.” The last question and answer quoted above, is included in the online, but not the print, version of the interview.)