Pando

At Pandoland, Max Levchin responds to Peter Thiel's support of Donald Trump

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on June 20, 2016

From The Pandoland 2016 Desk

Back in 2014, the night before our first ever annual conference kicked off in Nashville Tennessee, Sarah and I were kicking around last minute ideas for on-stage interview questions.

One of the questions we debated: Should Sarah ask Al Gore outright whether he thought Edward Snowden was a hero or a traitor?

The pros of the question were obvious -- two years ago, Snowden was big news, and lawmakers were wrestling hard with the hero vs traitor debate. The biggest con: There was likely no way Gore would give a straight answer.

In the end Sarah decided to ask the question. And something remarkable happened: Not only did Gore give a direct answer, but that answer made international headlines. Al Gore said he thought Edward Snowden was more of a hero than a traitor.

I thought back to that Al Gore interview just before this year’s Pandoland when Sarah and I were once again discussing interview questions. This time the question in question was no less topical, if slightly less contentious: Should Sarah ask Max Levchin about his pal Peter Thiel’s endorsement of Trump. [Disclosure: Thiel is a Pando investor through Founders Fund]

Again the downside was obvious: There was almost no way Levchin would give a direct answer over whether, as an immigrant, he was alarmed that his friend and sometime business partner was backing an American fascist.

And yet once again Sarah asked the question. And yet once again we were shocked to get a straight answer.

In the video below you’ll hear that answer: When Levchin heard Thiel was endorsing Trump he “had to check the calendar because I was not completely sure it wasn’t April first.”

Levchin also discusses his own political views, explaining that he was once a proud libertarian/objectivist but now that he has a family and is a little older his views have evolved to be less (not his word) selfish.

We’ll have the whole amazing interview available to watch in HD soon for Pando members. In the meantime, here’s the Thiel clip: