PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel on what gives startups an advantage

kirsner-thielInnovation Leader’s editor and co-founder, Scott Kirsner, had a chance to moderate an event earlier this month with Peter Thiel, and one of the topics they discussed was the challenge of innovating inside a big company.

Thiel is a co-founder of PayPal, the online payments service that is now part of eBay; he was the original investor in Facebook and still serves on the social network’s board; and he is an investor in private companies like SpaceX, Airbnb, and the streaming music service Spotify.

In the five-minute audio excerpt below, Thiel talks about the competition between Google and Facebook — some of which, he says, is driven by trying to be perceived as the coolest company in Silicon Valley, where there is “super-intense competition for talent.” He also discusses how internal politics can tilt decision-making in large companies towards “safe” ideas and away from what is truly disruptive.

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