Friends Like Us
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As with PayPal, national boundaries are a thing of the past. Although the project was initially conceived by media cover star Mark Zuckerberg, the real face behind Facebook is the year-old Silicon Valley venture capitalist and futurist philosopher Peter Thiel. There are only three board members on Facebook, and they are Thiel, Zuckerberg and a third investor called Jim Breyer from a venture capital firm called Accel Partners more on him later.
Friends Like Us lyrics - Beth Nielsen Chapman, Randy Travis
There is much debate on who exactly were the original co-founders of Facebook, but whoever they were, Zuckerberg is the only one left on the board, although Hughes and Moskowitz still work for the company. Thiel is widely regarded in Silicon Valley and in the US venture capital scene as a libertarian genius.
Bloomberg Markets magazine recently called him "one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the country". He has made money by betting on rising oil prices and by correctly predicting that the dollar would weaken. Thiel is also a chess master and intensely competitive. He has been known to sweep the chessmen off the table in a fury when losing. And he does not apologise for this hyper-competitveness, saying: "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser. But Thiel is more than just a clever and avaricious capitalist.
He is a futurist philosopher and neocon activist. A philosophy graduate from Stanford, in he co-wrote a book called The Diversity Myth, which is a detailed attack on liberalism and the multiculturalist ideology that dominated Stanford. He claimed that the "multiculture" led to a lessening of individual freedoms. While a student at Stanford, Thiel founded a rightwing journal, still up and running, called The Stanford Review - motto: Fiat Lux "Let there be light". Thiel is a member of TheVanguard. Org, an internet-based neoconservative pressure group that was set up to attack MoveOn.
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Thiel calls himself "way libertarian". On the site, Thiel says: "Rod is one of our nation's leading minds in the creation of new and needed ideas for public policy. He possesses a more complete understanding of America than most executives have of their own businesses.
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This little taster from their website will give you an idea of their vision for the world: "TheVanguard. Org is an online community of Americans who believe in conservative values, the free market and limited government as the best means to bring hope and ever-increasing opportunity to everyone, especially the poorest among us. The chairman's message says: "Today we'll teach MoveOn [the liberal website], Hillary and the leftwing media some lessons they never imagined.
So, Thiel's politics are not in doubt.
What about his philosophy? I listened to a podcast of an address Thiel gave about his ideas for the future. His philosophy, briefly, is this: since the 17th century, certain enlightened thinkers have been taking the world away from the old-fashioned nature-bound life, and here he quotes Thomas Hobbes' famous characterisation of life as "nasty, brutish and short", and towards a new virtual world where we have conquered nature.
Value now exists in imaginary things. Thiel says that PayPal was motivated by this belief: that you can find value not in real manufactured objects, but in the relations between human beings. PayPal was a way of moving money around the world with no restriction. Bloomberg Markets puts it like this: "For Thiel, PayPal was all about freedom: it would enable people to skirt currency controls and move money around the globe.
Clearly, Facebook is another uber-capitalist experiment: can you make money out of friendship? Can you create communities free of national boundaries - and then sell Coca-Cola to them? Facebook is profoundly uncreative.
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It makes nothing at all. It simply mediates in relationships that were happening anyway.
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Girard reckons that people are essentially sheep-like and will copy one another without much reflection. The theory would also seem to be proved correct in the case of Thiel's virtual worlds: the desired object is irrelevant; all you need to know is that human beings will tend to move in flocks.
Hence financial bubbles. Hence the enormous popularity of Facebook. Girard is a regular at Thiel's intellectual soirees. What you don't hear about in Thiel's philosophy, by the way, are old-fashioned real-world concepts such as art, beauty, love, pleasure and truth. The internet is immensely appealing to neocons such as Thiel because it promises a certain sort of freedom in human relations and in business, freedom from pesky national laws, national boundaries and suchlike.
The internet opens up a world of free trade and laissez-faire expansion.
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I think it's fair to say that Thiel, like Rupert Murdoch, is against tax. He also likes the globalisation of digital culture because it makes the banking overlords hard to attack: "You can't have a workers' revolution to take over a bank if the bank is in Vanuatu," he says. If life in the past was nasty, brutish and short, then in the future Thiel wants to make it much longer, and to this end he has also invested in a firm that is exploring life-extension technologies.
Thiel is also on the board of advisers of something called the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. From its fantastical website, the following: "The Singularity is the technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence.
There are several technologies Artificial Intelligence I almost had a nervous breakdown. LeBlanc wasn't the only cast member to struggle with the newfound fame that Friends brought to the cast. By the time the show ended, Aniston was arguably the most famous cast member thanks to films like The Good Girl and Bruce Almighty. With that fame came the rumors that she was almost responsible for the show ending prematurely.
In a interview, Aniston admitted that she had hesitations. In , another Central Perk popped up in Liverpool. Apparently Perry was quite the gambler. Perry believed that the film would be number one in the box office on its opening weekend, but Willis disagreed. In February , the film was number one. As a result of the bet, he had to donate his earnings for the guest stint to charity. In addition to making household names of its main cast members, Friends gave an early start to several soon-to-be stars as well.
Did the entirety of Friends take place in Rachel's dream? Or in Phoebe's hallucinatory mind? Over the years, fans of the show have come up with a host of theories to explain particular aspects of the show—and some of them are pretty bizarre.
In , James Michael Tyler—the actor who played Central Perk's Gunther— told BuzzFeed that he was working as a barista in real life when he was cast on the show. I was one of their first baristas—I think I started there in or so. It was just easier instead of coming in early to do it.
I would just do it the night before. Decades after its premiere, Friends still maintains a massive fan base. In the UK, it's the most streamed series on Netflix, and it holds the number 2 spot in America only The Office gets more viewers. In late , when Netflix announced that the series would be leaving the service on January 1, , fans revolted ; a Change.
Amazingly, it worked!